Peace and I met on a sandbar today. Not just any sandbar mind you but a sandbar in the middle of no where on an island connected to no thing. I stayed with her for a while. Quite a while, even. I knew she would leave me again (or I would leave her) but we enjoyed our time together. We moved the boat away from Staniel Cay yesterday. Even though we love Staniel, it is still civilization. Internet is slow and challenging and a little too easy to find. And, there are more people around so we can’t just hang out naked which is the best way to be in this humidity. Arriving at Twin Cay yesterday was paradise in the midst of many paradises. As we approached, I saw what I thought was a diver popping in an out of the water. Not seeing a boat in the vicinity, I kept my eyes peeled and pointed to David. He quickly realized (as a former marine biologist) that our visitor was a solo porpoise making its way through the cove. A very nice welcome. We dropped anchor and swam with the gentle current. A little later we snorkeled to shore watching the sandy bottom slowly pass us by. The island can’t be bigger than an acre with a stretch of white sand beach and the rest rimmed with a coral shore. Iron shores is what they call them here. Run a boat aground on that and chances are it won’t ever float again. We strolled down the beach to the end where a tidal pool awaited us. The middle of the island is green with even a few shade trees - short shade trees that is. Without a hat, I didn’t want to stay too long and knew we could come back properly equipped. The sun is scorching hot down here. Cloudless blue skies, white sand and bright blue water send light in all directions. As a Melanoma survivor, I cover up as well as possible. It’s inevitable that I get a little bit of sun but always discourage people from telling me I am tan. “No, not tan, don’t say that...” Sometimes I spend time worrying about death by Melanoma. But it seems I spend time worrying about most things. If there’s a way, I will worry.
Our much awaited trip has begun. So many people asked if we were excited. Of course we are. And, it is much more complicated than that. We are excited. And, we are exhausted, burned out, done. After months of responding and reacting to our new life, we don’t quite know how to relax. We silly humans have the expectation that once on vacation relaxation will just happen. It depends on how wound up you are, really. We were (and still are) wound tight. Exhaustion hangs in the nooks and crannies of our being in ways we don’t even realize yet. David hasn’t really stopped this whole time. His travel schedule has been hellacious as he commuted to Seattle regularly and worked on the most demanding project of his career. Our brief stop over to be with my mom will carry some work hours for me. I am talking to a handful of clients to get them set up for our time apart. And, David and I need to work on our inventory with the now fading goal of turning it in before we go. And, I still had the goal of turning in my re-write before wheels up in Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday. Hmmmmm. I definitely don’t know about that one. My cohort Ellen is on a tight deadline, working on chapters, sending to me with the plan that we work in tandem towards this goal. She edits, I accept or rethink and rewrite. She adds prompts for me to write more. At this moment, I am not sure I can do it. Have I mentioned the exhaustion? Lying in bed this morning, I thought about grief. For us folks not grieving the loss of a human, we don’t really have a rule book. Yet, we exist. And, we grieve. And, we question whether we are doing it right. In ways, I feel more raw then ever. Thinner skinned, more sad, certainly more disjointed as we pack yet again and wonder where we will land when we return. Wandering around my mom’s house I see mementos of her life and of our life. Gifts I have given her, pictures of us, cards and letters - and objects that she has had as long as I can remember. This is what it looks like to be in a home filled with memories.
How can I mourn my loss when people across Colorado are mourning much bigger losses? This is the question that has been plaguing me for the past few days. How dare I feel sad? Why don’t I simply feel grateful for all I have? Doesn’t something like the Aurora shooting put everything else into perspective? Over the weekend, on lovely San Juan island, I had a moment where I thought I might get there. Maybe I could be done with mourning. I don’t spend every hour of every waking day mourning, certainly. But when it gets me, it gets me. My brief possibility of something else came to a halt yesterday. After traveling, a lovely weekend, the build up to my 2nd big performance on the stand-up comedy stage, and the actual performance (which was a blast and well attended by my lovelies), I woke up yesterday flat and flattened. I got to cry, then laugh with my women’s group yesterday, then continued to randomly shed tears off and on. Then today I awoke with the funk alive and well and camped out in my brain. Yes, I absolutely adore my new car and get quite happy every time I drive it. Yes, I love my dogs and take comfort when I smell their sweet heads. Yes, sleeping next to Tigger leaves me content even when he twitches for most the night. Yes, I love my husband and my friends. Yes, I am healthy. Yes, I need to mention that fabulous new car again! And, yes, we are a short time away from 2 plus weeks on our sailboat - thank God.
As I prepare for my talk tomorrow at Inside Edge in Orange County, I wonder what will come out of my mouth, much as I wonder what will come out of my hands as I sit in front of the computer on a regular basis. If this weak hotel coffee doesn’t kick in soon, I may never know. Instead of the impulse to write, I have an impulse to flee to the nearest Starbucks for a Venti Quad latte. The hotel is quiet. The room is comfortable. The setting is perfect for the day I have planned of a few client calls and the rest for writing. Suddenly, the perfect plan seems thwarted. I am fuzzy headed and wondering if I have anything to say at all. Deep down, I feel the reservoir. Sometimes it laps the surface, other times it is so far away I forget it’s there. Should I label it a reservoir of life or wisdom or truth or strength? Without enough caffeine in my system, I want it to remain label-less - for the moment. Or maybe forever.
Friendship. Kindness. Love. Connection. These are the things that get us through. Moments of contact with another human being; the willingness to stop for a moment and be with each other without agenda; snuggling on a couch; walking holding hands; a random phone from a busy concert just to check in. These make my world go round in the best way. The chaotic spin shifts to normal rotation. My head stays glued to my neck versus flying off into space. My soul is fed versus slinking away to die. Monday I went to Boulder to see Linda my dear friend from Florida whom I have known since 1990. Linda has been there thick and thin through many stages of life. And, even more importantly she loves my dogs as her own and made frequent trips to Colorado to house and dog sit when we traveled, sometimes not even seeing me. This is the first trip she had to stay elsewhere. We met in Boulder to do our usual routine of consignment store shopping, strolling and talking. I was particularly grumpy, sure at this point that a wicked case of PMS, that robs me of the ability to see or experience anything good, has become my new monthly visitor. Angsty, coming out of my skin and seriously not wanting to be around people and after a hellacious headache socked in at 10am, I began finding excuses not to make the trip to Boulder. Not only was it Linda’s last day, but I had suggested the dinner with my other Abundance circle sisters. Denise was driving from Denver and Shaya was making the vittles. Committed not to back out on my friends, I drove on. My funk took a while to lift but somewhere in the Whole Foods gourmet aisle after tasting a wafer cracker with mint jalapeño pesto, the clouds lifted. Yes, my blood sugar has been whacked - but this small sampling couldn’t have completely fixed this issue. Was it magic? Was it Boulder which is as they say “between reality and the mountains”? Suddenly, I could be with my friends. Still considered a “flight risk”, I buddied up until we arrived safely at Shaya’s where we spread out the food, sampled delicacies and I sprawled on the couch in my favorite position.
We were warned we would remember things that had fallen into the shadows of memory and that these things were emerge at the strangest of times. Seemingly shrouded in fog forever, abruptly they would materialize while we sat on the toilet far from any pen and paper or in the middle of the night where waking up doesn’t sound like a good idea. Early this morning, I remembered Mrs Vogler’s velvet stool that she made me in 1973. Blue velvet with a gold tassel and initial “K” for me - and one for my brother with an “R”. Somehow I ended up with both. Sorry Rob. Mrs Vogler fashioned this sturdy contraption using large steel dog food cans like they made in the olden days which were fastened together into a solid circle. The stool was strong enough to stand on even as an adult and I still used it regularly. It was good for reaching tall cabinets or taking a brief respite during a busy day. When I remembered the stool, the damn almost broke. David was getting ready to head out the door to Seattle and I chose not to add one more concern to his already furrowed brow. I felt the sob emerge and I swallowed it whole. Too early, not enough coffee, don’t want to feel it right now. Will that averted sob cause me problems later in my day? Should I stop and invite it back now? Mrs Vogler’s stool may not make the “Inventory list”. Couldn’t quite put a value on that other than “priceless”. It is irreplaceable, a memory lost in a fiery flame. Built to last, that stool would have been with me forever. I anticipate that items in this category will pop up for a long time. These are the things that really matter. The accumulated treasures of a lifetime.
A-funk-a-fied. That is a word. Don’t test me by telling me it isn’t. Two days of serious funk and no writing. Hmmmm. Help me do the math here. The plan was to work on my book when I am not blogging and that plan has been thwarted. Drats foiled yet again. This is a scientific experiment: how will I feel this afternoon after writing compared to my mood over the past 2 days with no writing... we shall see. I will not factor in the fact that we are seeing Face tonight in Boulder. No, I will determine my post-writing mood independent of that extraneous event. Should be a simple equation. As previously stated, this moodiness t feels like a bad case of PMS. And, it could be “that time” coupled with the fact that on the 50 side of my mid-40’s I may be entering peri-menopause which I have heard carries many many joys. Especially the “Urine leakage while coughing or sneezing.” Not. I have been agro to the max; short on patience, long on reactivity, thin-skinned and excessively tired. Overcast with only small glimpses of occasional sun to remind me it still exists. Although, these days in Colorado we no longer celebrate the sun. We now do rain dances across the state and pray for Seattle slop. And, the rain gods have been kind to us recently. The metro area is cooler than it’s been and our foothills have been getting somewhat regular baths. Of course, these baths bring lightening strikes which have started a few brush fires and caused panic among my neighbors but so far so good. No new fires in our backyard.
My ambition in life is to someday be the person my dog thinks I am. Emily Maughan
The last few nights have been rough.  Or more correctly, it’s the mornings that stink.  I seem to be harkening back to the early days and my pattern of waking up at 4am to get an early start on worrying.  My mind races with all that has to be done, isn’t being done, should be done.  All the things I keep forgetting.  The clock is ticking on the insurance paperwork and we are barely making any headway.  We do it in fits and starts and between David’s crazy travel schedule, relocating yet again, and general life busyness, it continues to fall to the wayside.  And, we have initiated the exciting (yes) and daunting (certainly) process of rebuilding.   
We need a home.  It is time to turn burgeoning thoughts into reality and break ground.  We need to have a future to live in to.  We have hired an architect and a builder and are beginning to get bids on our plans.  We hope this can be moving forward while we take our break from Colorado for the month of August.  Planning on being vagabonds through July, away for August, counting on cooler living in September and October when we return to Flame.  Then we will pack up again and go who knows where when the snow starts falling for real until our home is complete. 
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. Lou Holtz I woke up worrying. Or did I start worrying once I woke up. In those early moments before getting out of bed and way before coffee, it’s hard to tell. What I can tell is how my 60 minutes of worrying between eye flutter and first sip of caffeine made me feel. Like poop. To escape the blistering heat at our lovely trailer, we stayed the last two nights at the Highland Haven in downtown Evergreen. A lovely respite from reality, the Highland Haven is a high-end B&B built around an 1884 homestead. A small river runs along the property, towering spruce provide ample shade, the gardens are tended but not over manicured. Our room is lovely and dark and one might have thought I could have slept in - but oh no, I need to get up early enough to begin my worrying. Well-worn grooves of worry were my focus. Challenging relationships, the heat, fires burning across Colorado our future, where to do the laundry... It wasn’t until I walked back to my room with coffee in hand that it occurred to me that I might choose something else and start the day over. Some of us are slow learners.
The longest day of the year. I think I have had others that have felt longer. But the sun promises to shine longer today than any other day. Maybe I will rise to the challenge and join it. Maybe not. Two sips of coffee in without enough cream to make it just right, I say, it's too soon to tell. I will certainly enjoy the last few flushes of a modern toilet as I return to Flame whose toilet is, once again, on the fritz. Thank God for Shirley Septic and my now semi-permanent portapotty. I don't mind it so much during the day (when no workmen are milling around) but those middle of the night pee times that have become status quo of my mid 40's, well, that's another story. Pledging to keep the leaking tank empty for our next professional opinion, I will stumble through the dark to my plastic throne - or I may just squat along the way. It's hard to imagine all of that as I sit on my plush hotel bed a mere eight feet from a fabulous flush. And, yes, one more standup shower for this girl before I return to the seated bird bath. How different tomorrow will be from today. Did you just say 'at least you are writing regularly again'? I think I heard you say that...