Ramping Up

I’m inaugurating a new category this month: Celebrations. Woo-hoo! The imminent major celebration is the wedding, of course, and plans and projects are ramping up to an increasingly stressful pace, but things are getting done.

Brittany, Andy and Bega at Sunapee 2020
Brittany and Andy – October 2020

Brittany has endured four of her six rounds of chemo and still has hair, although it is certainly thinner than usual, but at least she won’t have to wear a hot wig for her July wedding at Lake Sunapee. That is a big plus and we are all grateful. Even with her low-energy days and a long daily commute for Andy, they are still dreaming big. I try to help where I can.  I’m confident it will be a wonderful celebration, even in the midst of all the challenges and missing many we wish could be there with us. 

We also celebrated the enthusiasm of toddlers when we enjoyed the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery with Beckett over Memorial Day weekend.

At the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery – 29 May 2021

So much fun. As usual his attention span outlasted ours. 😉 

And I’m celebrating daily my diminishing responsibilities for helping the new owners of my business ramp up to complete independence from me. This has allowed me to ramp up my daily writing. I have a few projects in the works and have even submitted a few poems to various local contests, so we’ll see where that goes (if anywhere). A lot of writing is for the writer, but let’s be honest, writers also write to be read. 

In a few weeks, I’ll be headed to one of my favorite places on earth,

Sunrise over Lake Sunapee – 2015
Lake Sunapee Dawn
Chelsea, Brian, Courtney, Brittany on the Megalodon — Felicity seeing them off — July 2019

where final wedding preparations will be handled calmly and efficiently (hahaha, just kidding, but we can dream). Whatever gets done or gets left undone, they should be married by about 5:00 p.m. July 24th, so the end is in sight. As I know I’ve mentioned somewhere in these posts, David and I had the lamest wedding in the history of the world, but it got the job done and the marriage was increasingly amazing with the passing years. So however the day goes, that is what I hope for Brittany and Andy. And you, too, if you are married or about to be. Can’t wait to ramp up the celebrating!

Here’s wishing (and hoping and praying) for a bright future for us all! 

Deep Green

It absolutely poured rain all day yesterday and there’s been a damp chill in the air that has had me wearing a puffer jacket . . . even INSIDE. On the plus side things are still fabulously green . . .

Okay, this is New Hampshire, but still

. . . and I know here in Colorado they won’t stay that way for many more weeks.  Even with all the rain this weekend, so far scuba gear is not required, but here are a few “undersea” photos (taken at the Aquarium in La Rochelle) . . . . . . to get you in the right mindset for my newest poem, ostensibly about scuba diving, but really also about life. The best way to read it is to pause slightly at the end of each line, as if you were breathing through a regulator and descending slowly into the deep. 


The trick
is to maintain
neutral buoyancy,
to avoid panic –
breathing slowly,
moving hardly at all,
except the slow beat
of fins and occasional
tranquil glance at gauges -
intrepid explorer

of another world,
tasting the tang
of salt like tears,
while all manner of things
and slip by
or hide,
peering out
like old women
from behind lace curtains.
In the beginning

I needed a hand
to hold, a steadying hand
to tell me without words
I was not
lost in the deep –
I would not be lost,
as if anyone
can promise that.
Soon, though,
the color

grabs me
and movement
like a ballet
set to the whooshing
pulse of breathing
in and out,
bubbles like crystal
balls rising
to the brightness above.

There is danger
in ascending
and descending, both –
rising too quickly
as the pressure mounts,
falling unnoticed,
slipping into the abyss.

It is not optional
to know where you are.

The trick
is to stay calm
and keep breathing.

I hope that provided a calming break in your day. It’s been an emotional weekend here.  Courtney came out from Minnesota for the long weekend and Doug also took advantage of the holiday to come meet Beckett, so we decided to inter David’s ashes this past Friday afternoon while everyone was here. He’s been gone nearly three and a half years, but it was still a difficult step on the wretched grief road, as you may imagine.

September 2016 – Photo by Clayton Jenkins

Then we adjourned to my house for toasts, memories and togetherness (since we’re all vaccinated), sorely needed after all the COVID isolation.  Doug brought us a bottle from Colene Clemens Vineyards, one of our favorite Oregon wine-tasting destinations. 

Doug, Brittany, Courtney and Chelsea at Colene Clemens Winery

And of course there was cognac.

Meanwhile, a few other dear ones (deliberately vague to respect privacy) are facing medical challenges, some quite daunting, and Brittany is heading into chemo round three in a few days, so a bit of color therapy and calm, slow breathing seemed in order. I find it works even better when prayer and meditation are added to the mix. 

But whatever you do, please keep breathing!

April Showers

Yesterday was a rare, welcome rainy day. Drought is a recurrent issue here in Colorado, so as much as I generally prefer sunny days, I loved it. Everything is now so green and beginning to bloom. It really feels like spring is here to stay. Yes, I know we can get freak storms this time of year, like the two feet of snow we had mid-March that did so much damage to the trees and very helpfully revealed a leak in my roof — yippee. My plan is to enjoy each glorious day and not worry about tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes!

One excellent day was Easter Sunday, when I went over to Chelsea and Brian’s backyard (after virtual church — still not going in person quite yet) to watch Beckett’s first Easter egg (etc.) hunt. The adults had shorter attention spans than he did. We kept wanting him to find the next thing, and he wanted to enjoy what he’d already found. Hmmm. There’s a lesson there somewhere. . . .

Beckett’s first Easter egg hunt 2021
How dare he sit and read his new book!
Not a baby anymore!

Another stellar day was Saturday the 10th of April, when Brittany drove up from Denver and we met on Chelsea’s driveway to sample some mocktails, to add options for the wedding weekend.

Brittany explaining the various flavor profiles to us, but mostly enjoying the perfect day
Chelsea enjoying the sun while Beckett enjoys – er, yum? – chewing on a lemon
Beckett getting into the spirit of driveway drinks and yes, that’s the dogs’ bowl

And today, now that I’m fully vaccinated (including the two weeks post-second shot), I actually got to hug my grandson without wearing a mask. Woo-hoo!

Beckett demonstrating that “The Wheels on the Bus” go round and round

So it hasn’t all been rain. It never is here, of course, but sometimes life feels a bit like unending metaphorical rain, with all the challenges so many have been facing for more than a year now. Brittany has just started chemo, so there’s that, but I’m now semi-retired and able to help her more than I could have a few months ago. And I’m going to try to learn from this little one.

He’s choosing happy

No, I probably won’t be sucking on a lemon anytime soon and definitely won’t be drinking out of a dog’s bowl, but I’m going to try to remember to enjoy what I have without always looking for the next thing. And I’m going to choose happy whenever I can. I hope the same for you. If that’s not possible right now, hang in there. I pray you feel the peace and comfort of God and that you find bright moments of joy to sustain you, even if the rain is pouring down. You’re in my heart.

I love hearing from you, so please do comment or reach out to me in some way if you can. I miss my people! Hope to see you soon.

Looking Back and Looking Forward

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been enjoying the notifications on my phone of photos from past years. Yesterday, the 27th of March, popped up with photos of our first day in France 2014, during our year as nomads, like this shot in Paris of an unexpectedly open door. Seems practically a metaphor for the whole amazing experience.

Private courtyard, Quai Voltaire, Paris

And this one of the Tuileries . . . 

Jardin des Tuileries et La Tour Eiffel

We loved seeing Paris at night on one of our first evenings . . .

Then, since our “year” lengthened to nearly thirteen months, there were also photos of March 2015 in Memphis, one of our last adventure weeks on the road home to Colorado.

Rum Boogie Blues Hall and Juke Joint

It was a bit like seeing the whole grand adventure bookended. Then with it being the 27th of the month, I suddenly realized David had been gone exactly three years and three months. It felt, I don’t know exactly, but sort of important, worthy of note somehow.  But not as painful as the early — even monthly — anniversaries were.

So I’m feeling nostalgic (again), but also optimistic. I’ve had my first dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine and will have the second on the 6th of April. We’re all deep in plans and prep for Brittany and Andy’s wedding late July at Lake Sunapee. So even though nothing is back to “normal” and Brittany is still facing months of medical challenges, there are finally not only memories to treasure . . . 

BBQ chez Pascale et Jacky 19 juin 2014

. . . but also plans to look forward to.  

Wishing the same for you!

Adventures in Wanderlust