“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only though love.”
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only though love.”
“We’re all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we meet someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
–Theodore Geisel aka Dr. Seuss
I honestly have had, in my 29 Valentine’s Days, two, and perhaps a third, that made me feel like this day of love really is okay.
I was about eight. My family went “camping” (we were in our motorhome) at the ocean. I took my pink Minnie Mouse suitcase and packed it with “books and my stuff” but really, I squirreled away the last few heart shaped sugar cookies my mom had made (no one questioned whether I’d actually eaten them all), made Valentines for my mom, my dad, and my sister (I might have even made one for the dog…). I stole some of the Valentines decorations out of my room (yes, our rooms were always decorated for holidays) so I could decorate the motorhome on Valentines day, and not before.
My family was so delighted that I’d taken the time to make them feel special. I still remember my mom and dad just kind of tilting their heads and laughing a bit at the holiday exuberance of their oldest daughter.
I was a sophomore in high school. Neither my friend or I had Valentines but we had planned an evening to watch Bridget Jones’ Diary and eat pizza. I had already established to my friends and family that I hated Valentine’s Day and that it was a stupid holiday designed to make single people feel dumb. (The prior year I’d wore a Maleficent t-shirt to my friends red-pink-and-white party.) We’d both read the books and in our own sixteen year old way, identified with the thirty-something “singleton” Bridget.
That morning, flowers had been delivered to my house from a “Bellarmine freind” (Bellarmine was my high school and, yes, it was spelled “freind.”) We spent a good chunk of our evening speculating who the “freind” was and giggling. Her mom had bought us pizza and had brought us a Papa Murphy’s heart shaped special. We gleefully tore into it with kitchen shears, ripping the heart apart into pieces we felt symbolized our young, tortured, lonely hearts.
When I got back to my house that evening, my parents had Valentines Day gifts for me. I had gotten a small potted rose, but the part that really made my day was the “necklace” of pickle balls on red curling ribbon. (My dad used to spend hours on spring and summer evenings “pitching” to me in the backyard. I was one lucky kid.)
I went to bed that Valentine’s Day feeling lucky to have a friend I could talk to about anything and a family that loved me and was able to poke fun at a holiday that had made me feel sad.
It was my first Valentine’s Day with F. It was my first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend ever.
He planned a trip for us to a friend’s beach cabin for the weekend. Weeks before Valentines Day I started shopping for a card and couldn’t find anything that I liked. I ended up making The Best Card Ever and having it printed online. It was the front page of Craigslist on the cover and the text of the personal ad that brought us together inside. I think I bought him a book I thought he’d like to go with it but I’m not really sure.
We spent the weekend hanging out in the Northwest winter damp. I didn’t feel the sense of romance I thought I’d feel but it was mostly nice. We’d get the hang of this, I thought.
We never did have an excellent Valentines Day.
This year, I’ll be out, hiking, alone for Valentines Day.
One month ago, I walked into a classroom and stood in front of the room for the first time. I’d had plenty of 1st Days as a student but this was the start of a new career and a new life in Ridgway. That afternoon, I found out I was getting divorced.
According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, I should be set to have a heart attack any minute since a score of 300+ on their inventory leaves you with a 90% chance of an illness or “blowing up.” I took the inventory and scored over 400…
In contrast to getting sick or blowing up, however, I’ve done my best to readjust, reset, and begin again.
I bought land here in town and began to dream of what my house should have and how it might look. (Perhaps another stressor but I do love dreaming of a new home and scheming how to make it happen.)
I’ve climbed mountains: a 14er and a couple county highpoints plus made dreams and plans for so many more. I’ve hiked with friends and have plans on the calendar for a Joe’s Valley trip and at least one more friend hike in the next month.
I’ve began to settle into my rental and do some work on it in exchange for rent. (Follow my adventures in single gal renovation on Instagram and Twitter at #damselNOTindistress.) I’ve had a friend visit me for a change and there’s another one scheduled to arrive a week from tomorrow.
I’ve caught up with old friends on the phone and found myself active on Twitter and Instagram again. I have had more emails, Tweets, texts, Facebook messages, and phone calls of love and support than I would have ever imagined.
There have been evenings spent with lovely diverse Ridgway friends in their homes, in the park, on the river, and at Colorado Boy.
It’s been hard: moving, a new job, divorce, friend making, and renovating all at the same time. I haven’t had much time to post here but I will get that scheduled in again soon.
But you know what? I’m smiling.
I’m off adventuring in Utah celebrating being a newlywed but I’ve still got some posts lined up for this week. First off, we have a guest post from Kinzie (this is also 3Up Adventures first guest post ever!). When she replied to my call for posts on how you incorporate adventure into your life by offering to write about how her boyfriend (now husband!) followed her to France after dating for just a few months I was ecstatic. I love love love this post. Love and Adventure together; simply perfect for our post wedding week. And with that, Kinzie:
My husband and I had been dating for approximately two months when I found out I got a teaching job in France for the next school year. It was simultaneously exciting and terrifying to know that I was falling in love with the guy chopping tomatoes across from me, while anticipating the seven months we would have to spend apart, if our relationship could even withstand the distance.
My mom seemed to think she had it all figured out. Any time I was sad or worried about the impending time apart, she said, “Well, Donnie should just move to France with you.”
“Mom, it’s not that easy. He can’t just move to France.”
“Well, I think he should. You guys would have fun.”
I was convinced that this wasn’t a realistic solution, but my mom was relentless. (We had this same conversation approximately 50 times.) And, maybe this is just a “magical mom power” but the more she said it, the more I decided she was probably right. So I started looking into creative ways to get Donnie over to France with me.
Today marks a year of living in the Silver Valley. I cannot believe how much has changed in our lives.
Moving: A year ago today, I’d just finished up moving all of our stuff (Forrest’s tools and bikes included!) from Missoula to a storage unit here. I’d arranged to live in the basement of a real estate agency for three weeks while we waited to move into our rental house (we were picky and wanted a place we could heat with wood). I was waiting for Forrest to come back from North Dakota.
Labor Day weekend is supposed to mark the end of summer. In some small, but tangible ways, this weekend felt like the end of summer and this morning like the beginning of fall.
Saturday we went to Silverwood Theme Park. We rode the roller coasters and made a half-hearted attempt to enjoy the water park. We sort of knew going in but standing in line with hordes of people isn’t really our scene. We ran errands and came back to the valley with a car full of stuff (like always) and six 10′ copper pipes hanging out the passenger window (future curtain rods), we’re special like that.
Sunday, I drove to Montana for Andee’s bachelorette party. It was wonderful to just relax and hang out with a bunch of girls. We sat on a dock at Seeley Lake, drank prosecco from the bottle, ate Bayburgers, swam a bit, and relaxed. Leaving Andee’s house I realized I had to turn on the headlights. In the summertime with our 10pm onset of darkness, I never have to drive in the dark. Fall is coming.
I met up with Jeanna and Mike to catch up a bit before leaving Missoula. It was good to see some old friends and relax over pizza.
On the drive back to Mullan, I was treated to a lightning show. There was even rain. I haven’t seen rain in a long time. At home, I crawled into bed and we watched the storm over the ridge. We talked quietly as the sky flashed, usually we never talk at night. Days apart are good for talking.
And this morning? It was grey and decidedly not summery. I’m not ready for winter, but I think I am ready for fall. This summer has not been the awesome amazing over-the-top fun-filled one I’d hoped for (but it’s been good), it’s been busy, happy, and full of life building: we’ve worked hard on the house and the cabin, got engaged, and become more integrated into the community.
Bring on fall, bring on cool mornings and nights, let the tamaracks change color, and pull out the sweaters and hats.
After I get one more summery weekend. 🙂
I’m spending the weekend wrapped up in my little family. My dad died yesterday morning after a tumultuous couple of years and my feelings are a little all over the board (relief, sadness, exhaustion, anger, you name it). We’re spending the weekend finishing the siding on the house (which should be done tonight) and perhaps heading up to the cabin on Saturday night to spend Sunday up there in the quiet.
Here’s to huckleberries, home, hugs, and happiness.
As a rule, F and I do not have lazy weekends. (I’m lucky if he lets me sleep in until 7!) The plan last weekend was to finish siding the house and that didn’t even come close to happening.
We got back down to the house Saturday morning at about 9 and sort of thought about getting to work on the house and then just didn’t. Instead, Forrest and I took a motorcycle ride. And then we went to bed early.
Sunday, we meant to get to work on the siding again. Instead, we lazed around the house all day alternately discussing wedding ideas, calling friends, and just chilling out. (Forrest: “Wedding planning is kind of fun.” Also, post wedding activities were planned that included climbing a 12,700′ mountain.) We did manage to go for a quad ride with some friends to BBQ some bear sausage at the cabin for dinner before heading back to town.
Back to work for four days…going to Oregon to pick up (another) stove this weekend but I think we’re going to get in some hiking and even a little beer tasting!