Category Archives: Home is Where the Heart Is

Happy Birthday, Beckett!

Hard to believe an entire year has passed since Beckett was born. In some ways it went by so fast, but also, so much has changed since this time last year, my head is spinning. Chelsea and Brian will certainly have more photos of this day, but here’s a preview . . .

Beckett ready to celebrate his first birthday

and a review . . .

Beckett at 10 months
Beckett at 11 months

He looks like he’s raring to go in both of those pictures, but mostly he was a dancer in place. Now he’s actually on the move . . .

So that’s a fun thing in the midst of all that is grim right now. You don’t need me to list all the hard stuff. Plus locally, we now have a wildfire raging at the top of the canyon, not as bad as those in California, but still potentially threatening many beloved landmarks and sending smoke down to the city, rendering outdoor gatherings challenging, while indoor gatherings remain extremely ill-advised.

I could focus on all that is wrong, and yes, sometimes I do. As I’m celebrating Beckett today, I’m also disappointed that I didn’t get to spend the usual lake time with my other grands, Bailey and Felicity,  but there are still some bright moments in this dark year. I’m not evenly remotely a wildfire expert, but the fire is certainly clearing out the beetle-kill, and it does provide some beautiful sunsets.

A bit of light in the darkness

Wishing you light in any darkness you face, and many good things to celebrate!

Happy Birthday, Beckett!

The Sweetness of Memory

David – August 2011

I’m writing this on the eve of David’s birthday — he would have been 68 tomorrow — and he is still so very much missed. But in the midst of the missing, I am so frequently flooded with fond memories of our nearly forty years together, I find myself more often smiling and feeling grateful than weeping and feeling sorry for myself. Admittedly, there are a few of those moments, too.

But I am so profoundly glad we had both the opportunity to have so many adventures together and the  . . . whatever it took to grab onto them with both hands. I think about so many great times in La Rochelle . . .

La Rochelle 2014
BBQ chez Pascale et Jacky 19 juin 2014

. . . and on the Outer Banks . . .

Sunset over the Sound — Outer Banks, North Carolina – 2014

. . . and Folly Beach . . .

Sunset on Folly Beach – January 2015

. . . and Key West . . .

Sunset from Sunset Pier, Key West – 2015

. . .  and of course, Sunapee . . .

Sunrise over Lake Sunapee – 2015

. . . and so many more. None of these are possible right now, so I’m enjoying the memories and making the most of being home. I’m still taking my weekly French lessons via Skype and doing a lot of writing as part of those. Apparently I’m writing my memoirs . . . in French. 😉

Although I haven’t needed to buy gas for my car since February, I have taken a few bike rides recently, loving the cool of a summer evening, and occasionally finding something so gorgeous, I have to stop and snap a photo . . .

Evening beauty from the bike trail

. . . but I’m still very much a home-body, while this pandemic tortures so many. There just haven’t been many good reasons to go out.  The bike trail at dusk is a pretty good one, though.

Poudre River from the bike trail

Sunset from the bike trail

I remember David and I had such big plans for our new bikes and all the rides we would take together. That didn’t happen, but it is certainly something I can enjoy on my own.

Our lives are not going quite the way we had imagined they would.  I don’t think anyone would say they are. So many are suffering so many losses right now. All the anguish in the news has been so troubling, I spent an evening in the ER a few weeks ago and had to follow up with a cardiologist.  But it’s heartache, not heart disease, fortunately.

So for now I start my day with as much of God’s peace as I can soak in. Then I read as much good news as possible, and there’s more than you might think.  Of course it’s important to stay informed, and I do, but I have to try to resist the pull of the black hole of endless heartbreaking and/or infuriating news stories and videos.

I hope you are finding ways to cope as well. One of the few things I can do is offer you a bit of beauty and a few words of encouragement. Please know I hold you in my heart. There’s room for you there as well as David.

 

Blooming at Home

I finally took a bit of a drive Saturday, after staying almost completely housebound since the 13th of March. It felt a little strange to be driving around, to be honest, and nice to be back home within the hour. Hope I’m not turning into a hermit! I’m pretty sure my girls and a few friends would never put up with that, so that’s unlikely. But while I’m home, I’m trying to appreciate every little bit of good and beauty I can find.

Vinca-Periwinkle in my front yard

Although, my view is expansive out over the golf course behind my house, my own yard is TINY. This has its pros and cons. David and I used to love checking  the progress of new trees and shrubs we’d planted in previous years, since we started from scratch at two different properties. At one of them we had ten acres and planted a LOT, including fruit trees, so checking them was more exciting than it sounds. Okay, maybe not, but we loved it. We called it our “bud walk.” Now my bud walk takes five minutes, max, if I walk very slowly.

As a result I’ve gotten a bit obsessed with the few flowering trees and shrubs I have. You should have seen me trying to protect my small lilac from the arctic freeze we had a few weeks ago.

16 April 2020

First I hauled a couple of heavy wrought iron patio chairs around to the side of the house to place on either side, then found a tall stake for a center support and draped the whole thing with a couple of rubberized picnic blankets. Then, like an idiot, trusted that the threatened storm would not include any wind. Oops.

The next morning I bundled up and took bungees out to secure it a bit better. Then the deep snow came and the next morning I was out early knocking snow off straining branches as well as my makeshift lilac shelter, but mostly ended up with a lot of snow over the tops of my boots and down my neck. After all the work and drama, the blooms are slightly anticlimactic. Oh well.  There are a few more each year. Someday it will be stunning!

As much joy as I get from seeing spring bringing things back to vibrant life, I enjoy this guy even more . . .

Beckett – 8 months

Chelsea keeps me stocked with photos, and we were even able to have this little lawn party recently, with the adults masked and/or appropriately socially-distanced, and after a LOT of sheltering at home!

Beckett – about 8 1/2 months old

Wishing you health and peace and a few blooming flowers (or babies) to enjoy!

Staying Connected in Solitude

Yes, home is where the heart is . . . and where the rest of me is for the foreseeable future. These days many of us are practicing social distancing or actually marooned in our homes as I am, since I’m not 100% healthy.  It really does NOT seem to be COVID-19, but the doctor made me get tested on Friday to prove it was safe for me to come in to have my sore throat checked. Of course, results are currently taking four to six days, so I’ll either be really sick or nearly well by then, but I understand the need for caution. I seem to be on the mend today, so I’m hoping I won’t even need to go in after all. While I’m on (self-imposed) house arrest, I decided to stay connected to all of you in other ways. Here’s what I’ve been up to since my last post just after Christmas.

I took a short trip with Chelsea and Beckett to Washington D.C. the 11th to the 15th of February. I was busy working remotely and being the traveling nanny while Chelsea had work responsibilities, so I didn’t take a lot of photos. Definitely had a great time with this cutie.

Beckett – February 2020

I finally made it to The Phillips Collection to see one of Renoir’s most famous paintings, Le déjeuner des canotiers, or as you may know it, Luncheon of the Boating Party. It was Beckett’s first visit to an art museum. He slept through the whole thing. Probably for the best. I walked the few blocks from the hotel with Beckett in the stroller, but then had some trouble finding it:

The Phillips Collection

Yes, as you can see, there’s a giant sign with “Phillips” on it in all caps and the obvious front entrance, but in the midst of pushing the stroller with one hand, holding an umbrella with my neck and checking the map on my phone, I read only the little white sign you see that mentions some additional part of the museum, so turned left down this alley. I walked literally BETWEEN the two buildings of the museum, but managed to end up on the next block asking directions. Unbelievable.  (Thought everyone could use a good laugh about now. You’re welcome.)

Chelsea kindly took me along with her in the evenings to catch up with as many of her DC friends as possible in four short days. Here she is with friends Travis and Rob.

Beckett is DONE with Happy Hour
Beckett enjoying the middle seat

Traveling with a baby is an almost comical amount of work (and gear–I’d forgotten), so I’m glad I was able to go along and help. We managed to score an empty middle seat on the flight back (yes, row 43 or 4003 or whatever–the last one– but still). Fortunately, he’s a pretty happy little guy most of the time and limited his pterodactyl imitation during the flight to just a few funny squawks.

With Beckett on the flight home

Before and after the DC trip, I was super busy with homework for two poetry classes and weekly French lessons, all of which involved a great deal of searching for inspiration, then writing and rewriting. Those pretty much drained my weekly creativity supply, but now my first two poetry classes are over and the third has been canceled, along with the rest of the semester’s OSHER classes (for the safety of everyone), so I’ve got a bit more time. My French lessons are via Skype every Thursday with my teacher and friend, Natacha, so those continue.  Writing a page in French every week takes me almost as long as writing a poem, sometimes longer, but I love it and I continue to learn.

So here I am in my solitude, but this weekend I’ve talked on the phone with numerous family and friends–now that my throat hurts less and my voice is coming back–so my cup runneth over. I sincerely hope you are all staying healthy. In this worrisome, almost surreal time, I pray for all of us peace, comfort, compassion and grace, regardless of our physical health.

I hope you are keeping your distance but staying connected to your dear ones. Let me know how you’re coping. I’d love to hear from you!