Monday, July 30, 2012

Mon, July 30, 2012: Finally Feels Like Home

The four of us (me and the pets) are settling into the new apartment after a fairly smooth transition.  The last time we moved, Pea spent what felt like weeks hiding in my bed, too timid to come out.  This time, she hid for the first day or 2, but then just blossomed and has been hanging out and exploring the new place.  Severus is flexible as always and just scours the floor for potential toys, and Kaylee is doing her best to "help", aka follow me around everywhere and generally get underfoot.

In other words, everything is... normal.  Which feels strange, since it seems to me like moving into a new place should feel abnormal, should shake us up, should throw us all off.

The new apartment feels safe and cozy.  There are beautiful silver maples and pines scattered around the little grassy area between my building and the next, giving me some feeling of privacy.  The best part is feeling safe, though.  I think that since I moved to the other apartment in January, I haven't really gotten a good night's sleep that wasn't filled with the sounds of people fighting, shouting, or drunkenly singing outside.  But it wasn't just that.  There was just something... sinister... about the energy there.  I have no rational explanation as to why it felt that way to me, but it was sinister through and through and it was very difficult to feel relaxed, energized, and happy there.

This new place, unexpectedly, feels a lot like my apartment in Golden.  I did not anticipate having that feeling of safety, warmth, and Home at all, but that's exactly what I have managed to find.  There are children playing outside, crouched over and peering into the grass for insects.  The maintenance men smile and whistle as they travel the grounds.  Yesterday morning, one neighbor was outside on her porch wearing safety goggles and doing some pretty heavy filing on an object I didn't recognize - perhaps an art piece?

After months and months of feeling unsafe, tired, and unhappy, finally feeling content and peaceful feels like the most unimaginable bliss.  Even surrounded by complete chaos in the form of half unpacked boxes stacked up and piled all around me, this *still* feels more like home to me than anywhere I've lived since Golden.

That feeling has been sorely missed, and is more than I hoped.  I'm loving it. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weds, July 18 and Thurs, July 19, 2012: Homeward Bound

We left the heat and humidity of Connecticut early on the morning of the 18th (it just so happens that a storm front came through later that day and cooled everything off - what?!).  I decided to take the route suggested by my GPS, which would take us through southern New York State via Rt. 17.  I have an affinity for this little area of the country, as it's the route we took to reach the place where I lived for 2 summers (discussed briefly here).

One of the things I was really excited about was the opportunity to pass through Binghamton, New York, so I could listen to this song:
Ingrid Michaelson, The Hat

Ever since the first time I heard it, I wanted to listen to it while in Binghamton.  This summer, I was able to fulfill that desire. :)

The drive was peaceful and uneventful, and filled with more contentment than usual as I was looking forward to returning to Denver and moving into my new apartment.  I noticed that a lot of fields seemed to be yellow and brown, and I was curious to know if farmers gave up on their crops this hot dry summer, or if there were water restrictions due to the massive droughts across the country.

As I crossed the wide fields of eastern Kansas, a sudden feeling of bliss washed over me, and a sense of truly returning Home.  In Colorado, I always have an awareness of the mass of solid earth beneath my feet, but while driving this time I experienced a different feeling.   Somewhere in eastern Colorado, it felt like the bottom of the earth dropped out from under my feet.  It was very different from the feeling of roots extending into the earth that I had when I visited Louisiana.  It was as if I was perched on top of a thin crust of earth, firmly supporting my weight, with nothing but more sky and endless universe below me.  Rather than having roots, I just felt connected to nothing, like there was space all around me that I was free to fill with whatever possibilities I wished to manifest.  It was an incredibly strange sensation and like nothing I have ever felt in Colorado before.  In fact, it was pretty much exactly the opposite of what I have felt in Colorado.  It was expansive and massive and freeing, without all that heavy earth below me, and all that space to fill with possibilities was beautiful and uplifting.

And I felt happy to return.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mon, July 16, 2012: Vacation Bombing the Parents, Part 2

My mother woke us up bright and early on Monday morning as requested.  We headed out into the somewhat cooler and rain-dampened morning, hoping to make it to the beach before the crowds.

The fence in front of their cottage was gorgeously adorned once again, the flowers even prettier decorated with rain and morning sunbeams.
I love this funny lawn dragon!
This post is pretty Kaylee-heavy, because this was really her first time playing in the ocean and I loved watching how much she was enjoying herself.  She was fearless!

While we were walking the beach, Kaylee used her stick radar to hone in on a giant log mostly buried in the sand.  She insisted on playing fetch with it, even though it was so big we couldn't throw it very far.

These are some of the most fun and undignified pictures I have ever taken of her. :)

Sometimes I think people see my dog and think she's just "cute" because she's so little and fluffy and always has a happy smile on her face.  One of my favorite things about her, though, and about her breed in general, is that despite their relatively small-ish size (I'd call her more medium sized, really), they are TOUGH DOGS!  I mean, come on... this is a breed that was created to independently boss around cows using their high degree of self-confidence, intelligence, strength, endurance, agility, and if necessary, their incredibly strong jaws for the nipping of cow heels.  She may be "cute" and smaller in size than what one might expect of a tough dog, but in my opinion that just makes her that much more special.  Under that fluffy, cute, smiley exterior lies a great deal of intelligence, strength, and bravery.

In other words, she's so much more than just cute.

I wish that the next time someone says how little and cute she is, she makes this face at them:

Oh beautiful ocean, how I missed you!
This just cracked me up.  Do you see how many inflatable rafts this family has collected on their balcony?!
After the beach, we headed to Hyannis.  It was like 9am and the day was already unbearably hot.
We walked down to Hyannis Port to watch the boats come in, and saw this awesome pirate ship!
This guy came all the way from Nantucket just to get his tire fixed.

After lunch, we relaxed in the cabin a bit, and then Kaylee and I took off.  As we drove down the driveway, she stood on the back seat and glued her nose to the window, trying to watch my parents for as long as possible.  

Playing with her in the ocean is one of the best things I think I've done all summer. :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sun, July 15, 2012: Vacation Bombing the Parents, Part 1

My parents headed off for their Cape Cod vacation early on the morning of the 14th.  Later that evening, my sister and her husband took me out to dinner and back to their house to admire their kitties and their newly reinforced deck. :)  I loved being able to drive 15 minutes to see them.  Little moments like that make the whole trip worth it.

I had a tiny piece of heaven driving back from their place.  It was about 9pm, and the sunset was still working its way across the sky.  I opened my moon roof (I was trying to think back to the last time I opened it, and I think it might have been when I lived in Connecticut...) and was delighted by the sweet cool smells of freshly cut grass and damp earth.  Fireflies lit up the woods around me as I passed, and the songs of crickets were crystal clear whenever I stopped.

Personally, I believe there are many ways for heaven to manifest.  For me, that driving experience was one of those ways.

The next day, I sweltered in the house.  Kaylee was panting so hard, I thought she was going to have a heart attack.  I set up a fan like 2 feet away from us, but the movement of hot, humid air across my skin did little to cool me off.  I called my parents around lunch time.  My side of the conversation went something like this:

"Paaaaaarents?  Were you about to invite me to the Cape with you?  'Cause it's really hot and boring and I want to go to the beach."  Luckily, they were considering having me along anyways, so they invited me to head over.


My parents seemed excited to see me (and more excited to see Kaylee), so I don't think they minded us joining them.  I dubbed this "vacation bombing", like photo bombing, except instead of invading one lousy photograph, I invaded their entire vacation!

Their cottage was a 2 minute walk from several beaches.
There were hydrangeas everywhere... the quintessential Cape Cod landscaping feature. :)

My parents took us to the harbor near the Chatham Fresh Fish Market.

Apparently there were some extremely severe storms at one point that changed the shape of the land and the depth of the water near Chatham (Cape Cod looks like a big arm, and Chatham is at the elbow).  Recently, seals have been coming to the Cape to feast on oysters and enjoy the new terrain.  There are paid tours that will take you through the harbor in hopes of catching sight of one, but my parents found this awesome place that is not only free, but the seals come right up to the deck!

How amazing is this?!

Apparently Great White Sharks have followed the seals up to the Cape, but we didn't see any of those.

We headed south to a different beach, where we saw a whole herd of seals!
My father spotted this weird wooden structure and declared that there was a giraffe on the island.
Sea roses. :)
This is literally the "elbow" of the Cape!
Chatham Lighthouse:
No trip to Cape Cod would be complete without a spin through Chatham.
The downtown area is so beautiful.

This town center is SO New England!
As a kid, I always loved these Black Dog signs.
It poured that night and actually got a little chilly, which felt wonderful!  We planned to take Kaylee to the beach first thing the next morning, so I slept while I could until they woke us up bright and early.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thurs, July 12, 2012: Clearly Neglected...

Clearly... :P
I'm not sure which she loves more: my parents, or their yard!
Both make her go "GIANTHAPEEFACE!!!11!!oNe1!!!1" so I think it's all good.