Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Big Fat Big Sur Roadtrip: H2O part 1



I love water. Hiking, traveling, I have to stop and take pictures of water. I may have mentioned this sickness before.  It could be called an obsession, but seriously there is no cure. So you can only imagine the photographic results of driving for hours along one of the most beautiful coastal highways in the world.


I know it has taken forever three months to start posting these pictures, but count yourself very lucky that I am not forcing asking you to peruse the hundreds of pictures I have from the trip, unlike my patient family.


It was really hard to whittle them down. As it is, there will have to be more than one BFBSRT post just to accommodate my indecisiveness without completely taxing your stamina.


Since September in Cali is gorgeous so I asked the Bull Gator if I could borrow his pride and joy.


Isn’t she cute? (Clearly any car this sassy is a she.) It was a pretty big stretch for him to let me drive his baby and I am thankful.


It was totally fun and the six disc CD player with no iPod jack necessitated all new music. (Glee, all the Twilight Saga Soundtracks and the new Lincoln Park) Nothing like rockin’ out in a red convertible to fill the long drive.





I stopped at this cute café for lunch.



Overpriced pesto but the service was attentive and the views were to die for.



*   *   *



I rolled into Carmel a little before the gloaming. As you can see the light had already begun to change revealing the deep azure of the water.


The drive didn’t feel that tiring until I parked the car at the Monte Verde Inn and realized that while walking up to the front desk I'd begun to shake. So I enjoyed the spectacular sunset while eating a quiet dinner on my private porch that first night.



The next day I met the groomsmen and their wives. The five of us joined the bride and groom for lunch and check out this view. Almost worth a $15 dollar enchilada that tasted like nothing more than jack cheese that had been set under a broiler.

This summer was really cool and Carmel was socked in with fog for most of it. The weekend of the wedding was the first summerlike weekend they’d had and it was glorious. As if summer had decided to invite himself to the wedding and crammed an entire season’s worth of sunshine and beauty into one weekend. So I decided that summer could be my date and I’d stay an extra day to spend more time with him.

I visited the Monterey Aquarium which overlooks Monterey Bay. Stunning. But I was too tired to properly enjoy the aquarium. The waving of the plants in the currents kept lulling me to sleep and the new age-y music didn’t help invigorate me either.


So I went back to the village and bought a cute Coach clutch at a consignment store for a huge discount. Where education failed shopping succeeded.

The end.

Except, I then spent a great evening with the newlyweds and immediate family eating leftovers and watching a blazing sunset. But I had no camera so you are spared.

Ah well, there is always the drive home.

To Be Continued…
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coal?

Uhmm, I'm not sure I'll actually be getting gifts this year, or just coal in my stocking.  I read this touching post by my friend Brigetta aloud to my mom.  I was so moved that I told her "When you and Dad retire, I hope you will be bi-coastal.  My children will need to spend time with elderly people." Probably not the best thing to say to your mom four days before Christmas.

whoops,
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Dear Friends

Thank you for your love and support.  The emails, comments cards, flowers and most of all prayers have meant the world to me. 
I don’t want this first Christmas on my blog to be so somber.  Truthfully, it hurts much, but God is sending me comfort and as I've shared with many a friend in the past the only way forward in this circumstance is through the grief.  There is no around.  The way is through.  And there is respite and comfort: way stops on the road. 
Life is still good and so is my lovely, gracious God.
And you, you my sweet friends, you are lovely and gracious as well and I am grateful for you.
So I will be posting some of the decidedly un-Christmas Big Fat Big Sur Road Trip pictures this week, because they are beautiful and joyous and beauty and joy are the gifts I want to give you this year.  Thank you for letting me share my life with you this year and letting me peek into many of yours.
with Christmas love,
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

I was oh, so loved.

I can't even bear to write the words, they hurt so bad.

Gone, she is really gone.

I tuck her under covers to keep her warm, taking time to enjoy her nuzzling hugs, kiss her soft cheeks, let her clean my hands with her rough pink tongue, whisper I love you.

When I come back two hours later she is gone, where I can not follow, at least not today. She has just left, her fur still warm, but her body growing heavy, empty of the puppy spirit that made her her, empty of life. The emptiness is heavy; in her and in me. There was no warning, no sign to alert, prepare me. I sob, cry out for help, writhe in pain, forgo sleep, dismiss food, avoid the kitchen, shun the garage yet under it all, Peace.

He is here; reminding me that she was His. I had given her to Him.


And He simply whistled to His dog to come home.


She will wait for me there.


And I remember, I was oh, so loved.


Years before she actually became mine, she had claimed me as hers. From the moment we met to the very last day she lit up when I walked into a room.


She became the joy that made me lean forward at my steering wheel in anticipation to coming home every time I left the house.


She had mastered the trick of kissing away tears,

of hugging with just her chin and cheek,


of sleeping with her head and her paw in my lap in the perfect TV watching cuddle,

of playing hide and go seek badly,

of discovering me hiding under her covers and digging her way in to join me repeatedly, without ever growing bored of the game,


of singing an entire aria with full orchestration while whining for lunch and of incrementally moving that same meal from 6:00 pm to noon (puppers knew how to work the system),

of knowing when a camera was trained on her and instantly moving, even if she had been asleep,

and of daily reminding me that God clearly loves me to allow me the loan of her.



For all of her faults or perhaps more because of them, she was me with fur on: my own mini-me. He used her to illustrate my struggles with Him in vibrant, polka-dotted living color.

I saw myself over and over through His eyes as I watched her. Sometimes a fearful and wounded heart struggling to absorb Love, to trust, to believe that she was safe and provided for;

more often a squirmy pup looking for love and a cuddle.

And yet one who was always, is always, even on her most ornery day, adored.




I am a kinder, more patient woman for owning her.


My children will have a wiser mother, thanks to her.

Someday a husband will appreciate that one of the first lessons she taught me was that I will absolutely need to parent in a pair. I alone am not enough.



For over twelve years I have loved her.


For nine, she was my constant companion.

My heart is shattered. I am unprepared. I look for her eager face every time I enter my kitchen. 

I thought heard her greeting bark when I arrived home tonight. 


The entire rhythm of my day is derailed. Even now I feel the instinct to go and walk her before tucking her in, cozy, for the night. 

I do not know how I will go on.


Jesus knows.



He knows how.



I was oh, so loved.


I am oh, so loved.


Goodbye Stinkerbell, I love you.

your mama,
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You care for people and animals alike, O LORD. How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
Psalms 36: 6b – 7a


*All of these photos are mine.  Please do not use without permission.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Scenes from my tree

I don't have a lot of words right now.  In some pain.  I'll share that in a different post, when I'm ready.  But the decorations are up and this is my favorite season of the year.  So here are a few SOOC shots of my tree.  If you look closely you may even spot me.

























May you take time to see the beauty in the details this Christmas season,
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