Father’s Day, a fireman and a cat

Our dark lord and master

Our dark lord and master

Sometimes, our cat, who had been a semi-feral stray before we adopted him, likes to sleep in the barn, rather than come in at night. He’s mostly an indoor cat, but because of his origins, he was wretched at being kept in a hundred percent of the time. So we let him out, and he follows McIrish in the garden, or sleeps on the porch, flicking his tail, watching the hummingbirds with one eye. The barn is full of strange napping places (and mice), and he loves it in there as well. We often find him sleeping in the middle of a patch of flowers, crushing them, the only creature McIrish tolerates messing with his garden.

Deciding what we watch and when…

Deciding what we watch and when…

Last night, McIrish checked to see if Huck was on the porch, gave him a call and thought he was spending the night in the barn. (I was unaware of this…I always get him in, no matter how long it takes).

Around 3:00 a.m., McIrish bolted out of bed saying, “Huck! Huck!” and dashed outside in his boxers. I caught the end sounds of a cat in distress.“No!” I wailed and followed, taking the time to put on my boots and a jacket. McIrish was already in the valley with a flashlight, calling our cat’s name. Our woods are thick and go on forever, and my heart was already sinking.

Who's your daddy?

Who’s your daddy?

We have coyotes in our woods, and fisher cats, and owls. In fact, an owl was hooting, and I thought maybe the owl had tried to swoop up Huck, then dropped him somewhere, so I was heading toward the sound, hoping to find my kitty. Hoping my flashlight would catch the patch of Huck’s white fur in the darkness, or the gleam of his eyes. I was already picturing his injuries, and imagining how long it would take us to get to the 24-hour vet in the next town…or if it would be too late.

After ten or fifteen minutes of tromping around, I decided to change directions.

“He’s gone, honey,” McIrish called from another part of the valley.

“Was it a coyote?” I asked.

“I think so.”

Here's a good place to nap...

Here’s a good place to nap…

I could hear the sadness in my husband’s voice. Huck likes him best, and not one evening passes without the cat sitting on his lap, purring. Only when McIrish isn’t home are the kids and I graced with Huck’s presence. If it was a coyote, Huck was dead already.

The kids would be so sad. We would all be so sad. I started to cry.

And then… “Huck!” McIrish called. “He’s here! I got him!”

By the time I had thrashed my way back to our yard, McIrish and Huck were inside. Our kitty wasn’t hurt at all. Apparently, he’d been sleeping on the porch, right outside our bedroom window, and a coyote ambled past. Huck had growled, then yowled, and when McIrish dashed out, the coyote ran one way, and Huck ran another. His fur was still all puffed up, and he tried to wriggle away as I checked him for injuries.

“No more sleeping outside!” I said to both husband and cat.

“No,” McIrish agreed sheepishly. “I did tryto get him in.”

Terribly spoiled.

Terribly spoiled.

Huck jumped up on his lap and started to purr. “He’s thanking his hero,” I said, watching the pair, feeling slightly snubbed. “There’s no A for effort where Huck is concerned.” But McIrish had been the one to hear our kitty, had been the first one out, scaring off the coyote, had been the one to find Huck crouched in the underbrush.

“You were great,” McIrish said generously, petting his little buddy. Outside, the birds started to sing. We put Huck in the cellar on his kitty bed and went back to sleep (eventually).

firefighter daddy

Firefighter Daddy

I’m so glad on this Father’s Day we didn’t have to deal with the loss of our friend. I’m glad we didn’t have to tell the kids our cat was gone. I’m glad to have the type of husband who will charge out into the dark woods in boxer shorts to save the cat. Imagine what he’d do to protect our kids.

Way back when, on our first date, I asked McIrish if he had any pets. He did, he said—a kitten named Joe, who had approached him in the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn during a thunderstorm, tiny and soaking wet, mewing. “If you come inside,” McIrish had told him, “you can be my cat.” Joe agreed.

I think that was when I knew we’d get married.

 

Happy Father’s Day, honey—from me, the kids, the dogs, and Huck especially this year.

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You’ve got a friend

 

 

I think a lot of us, especially us women, know how to be a great friend to each other. It’s something we pride ourselves on, and a subject Joss Dey and I discuss at length in our podcast, Crappy Friends(currently on hiatus, but tune in and listen to our first season!).

But being good to ourselves is harder. I recently wrote an essay about how easy it is to find fault with our physical selves, but it’s not limited to that, is it? I should’ve been smarter. Worked harder. Done more. It can be rare that we sit back and say, “Nice work, you!”

So I’ve been thinking about ways to be better to ourselves, to turn away from the negative voices in our heads and sometimes, in society, and really take good care of us. Here are a few things I’ve found that work for me. I hope they work for you, too, and that you have a whole bunch of ways to make yourselves feel good and healthy and at peace.

bikeRide a bike. I’m of the meandering through the streets kind mindset when it comes to bike riding, rather than the Tour de France wannabes. I never regret riding a bike. There’s something special about being faster than a walk, slower than a car. You see things you might miss, and the ease of pedaling is peaceful. I love a bike trail. I often ride my bike while wearing a dress, since I love summer dresses. It’s very breezy and pleasant.

cat's eyeMake yourself over. Late at night, when McIrish is at work, I like to watch YouTube videos and try new stuff. Do I look silly in a cat’s eye? Sure do! But it’s fun just the same, and maybe I learn a new trick or two. If nothing else, I’m doing it just for me, just for fun.

Plan a night of sheer laziness. PJs on at 6:00, dinner of Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese and an oaky Chardonnay, Netflix or a movie or whatever. But plan that night. Don’t revert to it because you have nothing else to do. Say to yourself, “Tonight is mine.” It feels different.

Get off social media. Listen. I love social media. I’m glad you’re on social media, too! But when Twitter becomes an echo chamber of anger and despair, or you’re unfriending people on Facebook because of their politics, or you’re crying because their lives look so awesome…it’s time to read a book.

flowersBuy or pick yourself some flowers, just because they’re pretty. When you see them, so cheerful and bright, their only job to make you happy…that’s nice, isn’t it? Do that more.

Visit your elders or volunteer with the elderly. They’re usually so happy to see you, aren’t they? You’ve made their day. The Princess worked at a nursing home last summer, and she was told she had the prettiest teeth. Patients would pat her cheek, marveling at her firm skin. My skin isn’t so firm, but no one seems to mind. Dearest Son would wear a tie when he volunteered during a memoir-writing project, and boy, did that go over well. He always felt kind of heroic in those sessions.

Look in the mirror and say something nice to yourself. Consider those words. Don’t find reasons to deflect them. Own it. You have many wonderful qualities. It’s good to remind yourself of that.

It’s a tough world out there, folks. Take care of yourself, and take care of others. We all have the power of kindness. Sometimes, we have to use that on ourselves.

I’ll be off for two weeks while I’m on vacation with my family, gang. See you soon!

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Mama Bear

Not Kristan

Not Kristan

When I was in sixth grade, my best friend was this wonderful girl named Amy. She was everything I wasn’t: adorable, petite, a snappy dresser…and a gifted gymnast. We were definitely the odd couple, me with my thick glasses and bad hair, awkward at best. Nevertheless, we were besties.

Gymnastics were very in at that time, and with Amy, who could do back flips and full splits, I found myself doing cartwheels on the front lawn. I never mastered a back walkover, but with Amy’s help, I improved a little bit.

Our gym teacher came up with the idea of having a gymnastics demonstration for the entire school. You’d have to audition to be in the demonstration; Mrs. Goldfarb didn’t want an afternoon of somersaults and ineptitude.

A word about Mrs. Goldfarb.

You may have noticed a few gym teachers in my books, and how they don’t like children. Mrs. Goldfarb, I’m looking at you.

Nope.

Nope.

She wore her whistle like a weapon. She was rail-thin and intolerant of awkward, overweight, bookish children (me, for example). We played dodgeball far too often, and we geeks often left gym class with red marks from balls whipped at our exposed legs and arms. She had no patience for the kids who weren’t athletically inclined, and indeed, often made fun of us.

In sixth grade, I was already five-foot-seven and wore a C cup bra. I towered over Mrs. Goldfarb, outweighed her, and already I knew that I would never be lean and athletic and coordinated. I felt incredibly wrong around her, with her cool stare and impatient voice. Auditioning to perform in front of the entire middle school? In a leotard? I’m getting hives just typing this.

Still nope.

Still nope.

But Amy was my friend, and very optimistic and upbeat about me participating (love you, Amy!). She helped me design a gymastics routine, and we practiced and practiced in my front yard after school for weeks. In the end, I still couldn’t do a back walkover, but I could do a diving somersault, and I thought that was pretty good.

The day of the auditions came. Amy was a shoe-in, obviously. Same with my friend Laurie, who could do a back and front walk-over. Mrs. Goldfarb called us girls to try out, watching with her shark-like eyes, and made notes on her clipboard. I waited and waited for my turn to audition. But the hour grew late, and finally, she blew her whistle and said, “That’s it. We’re out of time. We have too many people as it is.” Ten or twelve of us hadn’t auditioned yet.

In a rare show of spine, I left Mrs. Goldfarb a note, which I remember almost word-for-word still. “I practiced for weeks and you didn’t even give me a chance. THANKS A LOT!!! Kristan Higgins.” She came into the locker room while I was still there, read the note and looked at me. “Too bad,” she said. With that, she left.

Never.

Never.

When I got home, my mom asked how things went. “I didn’t get to try out,” I said, and burst into tears. “There were too many girls.”

My mom was then and is still a pretty mellow person. Her advice to her kids was generally, “Work it out.” She was as opposite a helicopter parent as could be. If she couldn’t see or hear us and we weren’t lying in a puddle of arterial blood, she’d assume we were fine. We played in the woods, talked to strangers, inflicted physical harm upon each other and rode bikes and horses without helmets. Mom didn’t care if we had a mean teacher, because our mean teachers weren’t as mean as the mean nuns shehad as a kid. If there was a bully on the school bus, we were told to avoid him. Fail a test? Study harder next time. I didn’t expect a lot of sympathy about the gymnastics things.

If I hadn’t made the cut, I think Mom would’ve patted my hand and told me “Good try.” But she’d seen me out there with my much more talented friend, working on those cartwheels and pikes. She knew exactly how untalented I was.

Without another word, Mom picked up the phone, called the school and proceeded to tear Mrs. Goldfarb another orifice. How dare she deprive a dozen girls the chance even to try? How was that fair? Her poor time management skills were her own problem. What kind of a message was she sending?

The next day, Mrs. Goldfarb did something completely unexpected. She apologized. Of course, every girl would get a chance to audition for the demonstration. There would be another afternoon of try-outs. It was her own mistake; she had underestimated the amount of interest, and she was very sorry if anyone felt bad. She met my eyes, and I knew: my gentle, funny, hippie-style mother had kicked some serious ass.

That's more like it.

That’s more like it.

The rest of us got to audition. I made the cut. The day of the demonstration, my mom came to school and watched from the back. I was terrified (why had I wanted to do this? why?). When my turn came, I was pretty bad. Amy was magnificent.

As she drove me home, my mom said, “I thought you were the best one there.”

Thanks, Mom. Thanks for lying, but even more, thanks for sticking up for me.

 

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Lovely Canada

 

elk!I’m leaving Alberta today after five lovely days here…three on my own in Banff National Park, and two with the Calgary Romance Writers.

I love Canada. I’d move here, I think, though I’m attached to the US in all its messy glory. But Canada feels easier, and more relaxed. People are happier, it seems. There’s less overt racism. National health care, which saves households a lot of money. It’s a cleaner nation, and Canadians take a civic pride in making sure it’s that way. Today, for example, schoolchildren were picking up trash along the highways in Alberta. People don’t speed, because fines are whopping huge. We should do that in the U.S., I think. Really enforce those speed limits. It’s much nicer driving in Canada without maniacs and trash on the road.

hotelCanadians are really proud of being Canadian, whether they immigrated or were born here. All are delighted that I was visiting. I imagine tourism is a huge economic contributor, but even more than that, it felt like every Canadian was saying, “It’s great here, eh?”

I did love the accent, and found myself sounding more and more Canadian as the days passed. My vowel sounds rounded, and yes, I said aboot a couple of times.

The natural beauty is utterly glorious, and something that Canadians might take for granted. When I told one woman about my love of elk, she said, “They’re like mice to us…everywhere and kind of a nuisance.” When I admired the Rockies, another said, “Oh, yeah, if you like white, they’re beautiful.” But she smiled and winked, almost as if she knew how lucky she was to live in such an area, but it would unCanadian to brag about it.

sheep!

Canadians these days view us Americans as unfortunate, with our political division, gun violence and racism issues. A lot of people asked me how I voted in the last election. Not all of them are thrilled with their Mr. Trudeau, but there’s not the polarity and anger we see in America. (Everyone agrees that Justin is super handsome.)

There are so many Aussies in Canada! Being part of the British Commonwealth, they have an easy time getting a two-year work visa. You’re just as likely to hear an Oz accent as you are a Canadian. Irish, too. No complaints here! At my hotel, the staff wore kilts. I liked that a lot.

mooseThe air was so clean and pure in the mountains, and I filled my lungs as much as possible, feeling like it would make me healthier.  When I finally saw my first elk, I got a little teary-eyed, and sat there, watching them for a good hour or so. They’re really big. Mellow at this time of year, but don’t get near them in October, I was told. More elk kill people than grizzly bears. If a black bear attacks you, it’s decided to kill you, whereas if a grizzly attacks you, it “might only want to maul you.” Moose are the most dangerous. Go figure. If you see a big footprint without claws, it’s a cat. Look up. Mountain lions like to pounce from above.

Everyone wanted to know how I liked their country. They were all pretty confident of the answer.

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Unsung talents

 

Even the cat was impressed.

Even the cat was impressed.

This morning, as I was heading out for the porch with my laptop, phone and coffee whilst also negotiating the in-and-out of three animals, I closed the door with my foot, timing it perfectly so no human or animal or electronic device was harmed. Not one drop of coffee was spilled.

This, my friends, takes talent. And since I’ve been sitting in a chair or sleeping the past three days, sidelined with a disgusting stomach virus McIrish lovingly passed onto me, I figured I’d write about underappreciated talents. In other words, my life has been really quiet and I have nothing to tell you. : )

And so, my unsung talents.

My patronus (right)

My patronus (right)

Carrying in all the grocery bags at once and also unlocking the door without putting anything down. I am the human pack mule (see above). Bonus points: I can do this with a baby on my hip as well.

Psychically knowing who’s calling. Sure, it’s not as fun as in the days of yore, when there was no caller ID, but when the phone rings and I tell McIrish, “It’s your mother!” there is still a deep satisfaction in hearing him say, “Hi, Mom” seconds later.

Finding lost items. The kids and I used to have an agreement. If they lost something and couldn’t find it, they’d have to pay me a dollar if I could find it in under a minute.

"Mommy? Where's my--" "Found it!"

“Mommy? Where’s my–“
“Found it!”

Boom! Mommy’s rich! I can still find the cell phone charger when all hope is gone.

Waking up without an alarm. If I have to get up at a designated time, I will, without fail, wake up two minutes before that time, lie smugly in bed and wait for the alarm to go off 120 seconds later. I also don’t require a timer when baking. And speaking of…

Baking without measuring stuff. “Baking is precise,” people say. “You have to be so exacting.” I do not understand these words. To me, baking is all about the hallowed advice of my grandmother—until it’s right. No recipe is ever made exactly the same way twice, and yet I never fail (unless I’m using gluten-free flour, which doesn’t count).

Time for more saltines and ginger ale! Thanks for tuning in, gang.

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Eating Out Alone

steve martinBecause I travel a lot, I often eat out alone. This habit began a long time ago, back in the days when I was single. I’d bring a book and ask for a table for one and sit back and read, eat and eavesdrop. Hey. It’s kind of how I make a living.

I remember a Steve Martin movie called The Lonely Guy…he goes out to eat by himself and feels so self-conscious, like all the other people are looking at him. An imaginary spotlight shines on him, and he doesn’t enjoy the meal.

new friendI’ve never felt like that. Instead, I feel happy, kind of cool and slightly invisible, but in the best way. I love watching the interaction of the servers, since I used to be a waitress, and I make up stories for them—she’s in love with the bartender, but he’s got a honey, and she sits at the bar, glaring. The maître d’ hates the rude customer who just demanded a different table and whispers to a server. Foolish customer! These people are in charge of your food. Be nice! Some of the customers give me the best ideas for books. The older couple still so in love. The younger couple not speaking, both staring at their phones. Mental notes are taken by this author.

happy and aloneSometimes, I have to open my laptop while I’m eating alone, to check a flight or, say, write a blog. I’d rather read, but it’s fine. Kind of lovely, to have that convenience. While I might take a picture of my meal (see last night’s dessert), I don’t text or check social media while I’m eating. I’d rather try to enjoy the moment.

On this book club tour I’ve been on for GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, a lot of us have talked about things we’ve felt too self conscious to do, and how it’s time to get over that. Several readers have said eating out alone was one of them, and after reading the book, and talking with other readers, they’re going out alone, damn it. And eating dessert. And loving it.

That’s what I’m talking about. Girl power. Not letting social conventions tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Ladies, I hope you pick a fabulous restaurant, and have the best time!

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Ten Ways to be a Good Wife

I’ve waxed poetic about McIrish’s excellence as a husband many times, and there will undoubtedly be more of the same, because he is the love of my life. But today, I thought I’d share some of the ways I try to give that love back. And so…

loveKristan’s List of Wifely Devotions

(Note to my children: feel free to stop reading here.)

Be happy to see your spouse when you or he or she walks through the door. Get off the phone, put the kids down, stop staring at your laptop and give your honey a hug and a kiss. Even if your day has been hellish, remember that you have someone to come home to, which isn’t a blessing everyone has.

Compliments. “You look very handsome today.” “This is the best broccoli I’ve ever had.” “Your butt looks great in those jeans.” It’s always a wonderful feeling to know you’ve been seen—make sure your partner gets that.

cookiesSpontaneity. The other day I left the house and was just thinking about my sweetie and how much I loved him, and even though I had seen him seven minutes before, I called him and told him I loved him. No other reason for the call. He was quite delighted. Maybe you bake a cake or cookies for no reason. Maybe you fold the laundry whilst unclothed. Just throwing out ideas.

Nooky. (Sorry, Princess and Dearest Son, but I told you to stop reading!) This is a major reason you got married, right? As the years pass, don’t forget to connect this way. It’s the thing that sets marriage apart from all your other relationships.

flowersMake sure your home is a pleasant place to spend time. I’m not talking about neatness or home décor, though yes, yes, I’m a clean freak and we all know it. What I mean is, this is the place where you two have built your life. Have that place reflect your happiness. I’m a big fan of flowers, photos of the family and good smells (and Clorox Cleanup, but I’ll stop now).

Respect the aging process. When McIrish and I met, he had a full head of the most beautiful black hair you’ve ever seen. Now, it’s silver, and he has what I call the lucky bald spot. I love that bald spot. I love his silver hair, because it means we’ve spent 26+ years together. Is he the young hottie I married? Nope. He’s the middle aged hottie I married.

toesBe confident. This is something that just popped out of my fingertips as I was writing. I guess what I mean is, don’t be an insecure wreck in constant need of validation. Own your intelligence, humor, good heart, adorable toes. Be your best self with your best person more than half of the time. You’re fabulous. Own it.

Make time for each other. If you don’t, you’ll end up divorced. Date night, whether it’s home or in a restaurant or taking a walk, is you showing your honey that you love spending time, just the two of you.

hugCompromise. Here’s a secret: I hate all the Jason Bourne movies. Guess how many times I’ve watched them? 10,853, that’s how many. I don’t even complain. I let my honey watch his man-crush because it makes him happy.

Believe in your honey. When they’re feeling insecure, blue, frustrated, be the person who reminds them just how wonderful they are. Look them in the eye and say, “I love you.”

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Being social

 

From my Pinterest board...

From my Pinterest board…

As you know, I’m pretty active on social media. I like it, because I love you guys, and it’s so easy to connect these days. Granted, I sometimes forget to check visitor posts on my Facebook page, and there’s this mysterious black hole where some of my messages go, and I only find them months later…

But I’m pretty good at checking in. So I figured I’d let you know exactly where you can find me and hear from me.

A tweet just last night…

A tweet just last night…

For example, did you know you can subscribe to this blog? You can! If you got it via email, you’re already subscribed; if you see it on my website, just look to the right, and you’ll see “Subscribe to My Posts via Email” and voila! You’ll never miss a post.

If you haven’t liked my author page on Facebook, please do. It’s where I post 90% of my stuff. I’m at  www.Facebook.com/KristanHigginsBooks You can hover over the “following” tab and click “see first” to make sure my posts will pop up in your feed.

On Twitter… https://twitter.com/Kristan_Higgins

On Pinterest, I do boards of each book, so you can get a visual of what I was thinking when I wrote them. www.Pinterest.com/KristanHiggins

On Instagram, where I’m relatively new, www.instagram.com/kristan.higgins

From the podcast…

From the podcast…

I also do a podcast with my great friend, author Joss Dey, called Crappy Friends, in which we discuss female friendships (the good, the bad, the ugly) as well as embarrassing personal problems. Visit us at www.crappyfriends.net. We have a blast! We also have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts there, too, so give us a look-see.

It's never wrong to try to be positive.

It’s never wrong to try to be positive.

Social media definitely has its drawbacks—it’s so easy for people to be nasty or angry, and there’s a lot of yelling. I try to steer clear of that and am successful 99% of the time. So pop over and hang out. It’s always so nice to visit with you.

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Closet shopping

 

But it's so pretty!

But it’s so pretty!

I accidentally made a New Year’s resolution…not sure exactly how, but I decided not to buy any new shoes or clothes in 2018.  You heard me.

I’m kind of a clothes whore, to be honest. I have plenty of sweaters, pants and dresses. I’m susceptible to every fad that passes…wardrobe by color, Tim Gunn’s wardrobe essentials, clothes that don’t need ironing.

Oooh! I love this!

Oooh! I could work this! Right?

Something happens to me when I’m shopping for clothes. I see a garment (usually a dress, because I love dresses) and I decide that having this dress is going to make me feel fabulous, more so than any of the other dresses I have. Doesn’t matter if I’m at Target or Marshall’s or Nordstrom’s or an indie boutique…this piece is a game-changer. I try to remember if I have an item in this color, and decide that no, I don’t.

Inevitably, I do. I just forgot about it. I get home and try to make room in my closet for this new dress (or shirt, or pants). Sometimes, I forget to wear the thing, ever. Or I try it on and find it looked better in the store than in my bedroom. The shoes that would look so cute with the dress are uncomfortable. I end up not wearing it and go with the old faded t-shirt dress I’ve had for eleven years and my battered Converse sneakers.

So what if I'm not pregnant? I love this dress!

So what if I’m not pregnant? I love this dress!

So I decided to enact a new-clothes ban (McIrish is wildly enthusiastic about this idea). Instead, I’ll shop from my closet. Try on that black skirt I haven’t worn in twelve years. Pair a different shirt with those pants. Play with scarves and jewelry and the like to jazz things up. Wear what I have, like a French woman who buys one great piece every few years and knows what will last.

This is my dream, anyway. Will let you know how it goes.

(Obviously, pajamas and socks don’t count. And bunny slippers.)

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Dating McIrish

 

IMG_6576As you may know, I’ve been here in Southern California, working furiously on a book, failing at the occasional yoga class (there is no fail, Kristan, there is simply limber and not-limber) and yes, even cooking myself meals.

Today, McIrish arrives.

Absence is good for the soul, right? And, er, other parts, too.

I feel like we’re dating. Right now, for the first time in days, for example, I got dressed in something other than pajamas. I vacuumed my tiny little rented house. I went to the farmer’s market and bought spicy hummus, avocados (when in California…) and flowers. In fact, I now have four flower arrangements in the place and should probably stop buying flowers. I washed the sheets and towels. I agonized over how to place the throw pillows on the bed. I swept the walk and emptied the trash.

IMG_6574Not that he will notice, mind you, though I will probably say, “Did you see how nice and empty the bathroom trash is?” and “Smell these flowers! Smell them!” and “Please note how precisely I folded these towels.” He knows me well, of course. Better than anyone.

It’s been a little lonely here in the best possible way…I’ve gotten so much done, and I’ve taken bike rides and walks. I got to see my friend Heidi, who lives near Los Angeles. But mostly, it’s been quiet, and the only people I’ve talked to are dog owners who tolerate me for a minute or two (shout-out to Reynaldo, who put up with me for 10). To demonstrate my mood, today I held up flowers to woo a hummingbird. I keep going to the window, like my dogs do, to see if he’s here, even though I know he’s somewhere over Colorado right about now.

IMG_6575I’ve made a reservation at a nice restaurant for dinner one day this week. We’re going to go kayaking and snorkeling. Our friends have invited us to their house. It will be a lovely time, I’m sure, but mostly, I’m just so happy to have my person back. When you’re the daughter of a widow, and your husband is a fire fighter, it’s not something you take for granted.

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