Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cuchara, CO

I am long past due for a vacation, so when I received an invitation to join my longtime friend Rose at her friend Ginny's cabin in Cuchara, CO for a few days, I jumped at it.

We spent the first few days in a motion machine - we drove from Kansas City to Colorado Springs. Lunch with friends, staying with family. Garden of the Gods, shopping and catching up on each other's lives. Great experiences, wonderful people.

Back up to Denver, where we stayed with more family, picked Ginny up at the airport. Three stops on the way down to pick up provisions, we finally pulled up to the cabin around dinner time.

I opened the car door and stepped out to the scent of clean air and pine. 


All evening, I found myself taking deep breaths and sighing just a little. Time, finally, to stop for just a bit.

I got up the next morning, took the dog out for a walk across the meadow and up into the trees on the ridge. (I'm his new best friend in the mornings...) We found a trail, and walked about a mile in until the trail turned down the hill. I stopped there; I'm OK in the woods, but know enough to know that if I continued to follow the trail, I could easily miss my turn on the way back.  I have a feeling there's more than one spot on the ridge where there's a dead tree and a grassy swale to the left, a big pine to the right. We're pretty far up into the wilderness here - a wrong turn could lead to a night out in the woods, or worse. And, there's bears. There was fresh scat just a few feet from the cabin door this morning. I am really not interested in spending the night in the woods with the bears. So, I regretfully turned back around, leaving the trail for another day. (The dog wasn't quite as regretful as I - he was getting mighty thirsty by the time we got back to the cabin.)

Shortly after we returned, the rest of the crew decided to go check out a local lake, where one of our group hoped to fish. (He went back this morning, and caught a lovely trout.) I just couldn't convince myself to get back into the car, so let  them go on without me. I found a camp chair and a book and settled down for some quiet time.

For the next couple of hours, my only problem was that I had to keep getting up to move my chair so I'd stay in the shade. Let me tell you, when that's my biggest problem in life, I'm doing pretty darn good. I'd read a few pages, gaze out at the sun on the meadow for a minute or three, drink in the cool scented air, repeat.

In the quiet clean air, my heartbeat slowed, my breathing deepened.

Stop. Breathe. Relax.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

We Wuz Robbed!

I wasn't home, so it was Joe who got to experience that sick, stomach-dropping feeling of getting up to get to work early and walking outside to climb into the car, only to see an open door that should have been locked tight, and some tools abandoned in the driveway.

He called the cops, called me, called the insurance company.  At first, we figured we were victims of a temperamental door-latch, bad luck, and sticky-fingered non-neighbors, but...

My neighbor across the street has a camera that catches the street - and the front of my house - beautifully. Reviewing the footage, the thieves came in the back, and took their loot out via the neighbor's back yard. They didn't find this path of least visibility in ten minutes in the dark at 4AM - the garage is behind the house, and not easily visible from the street. They must have been by to case the place earlier. (No, we didn't find them casing the house when we went back to check the previous 24 hour's footage - that would have been too easy...) My new conclusion is that the door-latch not quite catching saved me a busted out window (the window was cracked, with a fan in it, for ventilation).

Joe and I are each out a bunch of tools. Fortunately for my heart, they took the replaceable ones, the ones in the handy-to-carry, easy-to-stack boxes, and left behind the well-used and well-loved tools I had gotten from dad. They were also in a hurry - when they couldn't quickly pull the latching drawers of Joe's toolbox open, they figured it was locked and left it alone.

They weren't the smartest thieves in the world. They took the box with all the router accessories, but left the router (sitting visibly on the workbench). They also wasted a hand on my water-damaged 1997 boom box (it took a bath during the kitchen remodeling project) - the one that only plays the first two songs on any CD; that you have to cycle through several options to get it to power off. They took tools they recognized; tools easily fenced.

I have a new dead-bolt on the garage door; a security system is in the offing and will be in place before we replace the stolen items. The garage is stuffy; the window securely closed and latched. (Yes, we filed a police report.)

And I take some small comfort in knowing the tools they took can only be used to build. They are no good for violence or destruction. (they left all the pry-bars behind...) The tools went from my garage to a second-hand sale somewhere not very nearby. At that sale, I can picture someone (in my picture, they have no idea the tools they're buying are stolen), thrilled to find such a reasonable price on a cordless drill. They take the drill home, and fix a broken cabinet door, a loose hinge.

One of my friends laughed when I told her my image, but I don't care. I'm into silver linings; getting up after a fall, dusting yourself off, trying again; believing good can come from bad. Otherwise I just get depressed.

From here, I will go on, grateful that I am the one stolen from in this story, not the one stealing. I can't imagine the thieves live happy and fulfilled lives. I am angry at the them for destroying my illusion of security, grateful that the cost of the shattered illusion is measured in dollars, not injuries.

Good Is.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lake Time

When stopping isn't really an option, slowing down is the next best thing.

I have friends who have a lake cabin about three hours south of Kansas City, and they invited me down for the weekend. I've been there often over the years - I always have fun - so was happy to accept their invitation.

I rode down Friday after work with another set of friends invited for the weekend - the drive went quickly as we talked and caught up on each other's lives. We got to the cabin around nine and quickly unloaded the car since darkness was fast approaching.

As the others were talking inside, I stepped back out into the gathered darkness, closed the door behind me, took a deep breath. Behind me, in the house, I could hear voices raised in happy conversation. Around me, in the darkness, I could hear the chirping of the bugs, a far-off boat heading for home.

I breathed in humidity and the smell of pine and lake.
I breathed out stress and worry.
I breathed in starlight and darkness and night sounds.
I breathed out deadlines and schedules.

My shoulders abandoned their post near my ears, my heartbeat slowed, my breath calmed.

Be, the night seemed to say. Just Be.

For the next day and a bit, I stayed in that space. I went for walks, did a lot of dock sittin', jumped into the lake when I got too hot on the dock. I fixed dinner for the crew, talked some, laughed a lot, cried just a little.

Since I started commuting to Seattle, time has been streaming past at a breakneck pace. For a day and a bit, I got the flow to slow.

Thank Goodness for lakes and friends and the awesome mystery that we call time.

Slow.  Breathe....  Relax.
**happy sigh**

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Where Am I Again???

Home, Seattle, home, Seattle, home (for this week).

At least I'm only switching between two locations - I don't know how people who travel from city to country to town ever figure out where they are or what time it is. (My poor stomach - it's never sure what time to be hungry. I'm either ready for lunch at 10AM, or eating at 2 in the afternoon...)

I've been staying in the same Seattle hotel (Silver Cloud Eastgate) ever since the second trip, and through whatever luck of the draw ended up with identical rooms each time. - Bed is here, bathroom door, here - until this last trip, when I ended up with a room the mirror image of the ones I'd been in the previous four trips. - Bed is to my left? right? what happened to the bathroom door? oh, yeah. it's behind me. I guess shouldn't have been surprised that it took me a couple of days to reorient myself to the room - I am a creature of habit.

If the objective of all this travel is to have time pass quickly, it's working. It seems I barely turn around, and another month is gone. When I'm on the road, the job I'm (still) transitioning into is interesting enough to hold my attention, which helps me to forget I'm doing little besides eating sleeping and working. I'm training up to be a Project Manager. Near as I can tell, it means I'm a professional busybody.

Hey. How ya doin'? Do you have a minute? Wondering how X is coming along. Any roadblocks? Do you know when you'll be finished? So-and-so is supposed to give you Y and hasn't? hmmm... I'd be happy to contact them for you.

and so on and so forth throughout the day. I'm surprised just how much time all this chatting takes - I keep looking up to find the afternoon half gone and I still haven't put together the notes from this morning's meeting!

and while I'm busy poking people, the summer is speeding past.

My butterfly garden is beautiful - and has even attracted a Monarch or two! I take baby steps when home - this past weekend, I installed the remaining kitchen cabinet doors. (A bit irritated with myself - when I glued them together, I forgot to do the diagonal measurement to make sure they were square, and sure enough about a third of them now aren't; they're about a quarter inch out of true. We were able to adjust out most of the angle with the hinges, but I'm still not happy with me. I could have fixed this with a couple of hammer whacks when I was gluing, but now, now I'm stuck! Not sure I'm unhappy enough to make me do them over. I'm going to leave them up for a while and see if the mistakes disappear - I've found sometimes they do. Here's hoping.)

I still find myself wanting to grab the moments and stop time. Still failing completely. Still wishing it could be otherwise. I'm on a headlong dash to ?????, and not caring for it a whole lot.

I have some vacation time coming up - time to stop, to breathe. It's worked before to help me center myself - here's hoping it'll work again.