Tag Archives: gifts

Promises, tears, and magic

Remember back when I won a book on Goodreads and it led to me accidentally working with an author?

On May 13th, that manuscript, the one I got to read and puzzle over and love – it was published.

Suzy (I call her that cuz we’re tight, remember?) and I probably shot pieces of this book back and forth over the course of four or five months? Let’s call it six because that makes it sound like we did half a year’s worth of hard work and let me tell you, writing is hard work. She’s a total hack-n-slasher; she’ll remove entire sections, if necessary, in order to make her story go the right way. It’s like she is all the forces of nature wreaking havoc upon her poor characters but the result is amazing. In turn, her early readers are like FEMA workers in that they have to see what the lay of the land looks like after the restructuring. We’re responsible for testing the new spots, making sure everything fits together, sometimes reading the same thing over and over again. It’s a lot of work and I don’t think I’ve enjoyed or taken as seriously any other project in my entire grown-up life.

Anyhow, when time was up and she had to relinquish her baby to the publishing house, she told me I’d been a big help. I don’t know how much I believed her – my opinions are only opinions, after all – but it was nice to hear nonetheless. She reaffirmed she was going to put me in the acknowledgements, something she’d said a million times already, but this time she said I would be first. Again, I don’t know that I fully believed her because I know I get overly-enthusiastic about stuff from time to time and make promises only to forget them later. She asked me how I wanted my name to appear and if I wanted her to say anything specific. I said I wanted my full name because I’m vain and no one would be able to doubt it was me she was acknowledging but, otherwise, she could say whatever she wanted. Then I promptly forgot about all of this. Well, not forgot but it sort of went to my background consciousness.

As the publication date drew closer, I started hyping the book to co-workers, friends, and family, using the “You should buy this book because I’ll be in the acknowledgements” line but even then, I don’t think I really knew what that meant until April 18th when Suzy announced on Facebook that the pre-order was live and that if you went to Amazon and did the “Look inside!” trick, you’d see the people she’d tagged in the acknowledgements. I did as instructed and then died.

Talk about making good on promises.

People, when you say you’re going to do something, do it big like Suzanne Palmieri. I cannot tell you what this did to me (but I’m going to anyway).

Here’s the book:

Go get this book. If this isn't your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

Go get this book. If this isn’t your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

And here’s the Acknowledgements page which is right at the beginning:

Yes. That's me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Yes. That’s me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Not only am I first, but I have my own sentence. Two of them, actually. If you read the book, you’ll appreciate the sweetness of “shine,” too.

When I saw this, I cried. Not pretty little tears trickling down my cheek at a beautiful pace. No, it was the out-n-out snotty nose, puffy eyes cry, the Ugly Cry. You would think ugly-crying would not be the proper response to finding out you were mentioned with gratitude in a book and got a place of honor surrounded by swirly, lovely words but the thing is, not only had I not been expecting something this big, this special, but about ten days earlier, I had found out my mom has cancer and I’d been in a bad place ever since. So seeing this was a gift, a hug, a bit of love on the wind coming to give me comfort during a turbulent bit of life. Yes, of course, part of my joy was centered around my vanity – who doesn’t want to see her name in print, right? But it was more than that, two things more, to be precise.

One: My mother was going to be able to see this before she dies. I owe her and her mother, ZZ, credit for my reading addiction. Because they showed me how to love words, my name gets to live with words. My mom always wanted to be a novelist but never got around to it. I think she has the same hope for me but even if I never make it, this is close. I loved seeing her smile when I gave her this book and she read those words. I can keep that with me forever.

Two: Praise is a wonderful thing but, for me, it’s what’s behind the praise that means the most. I know that I helped Suzy, that I gave her a piece of me and she was able to weave my thoughts and suggestions into her story, that she was able to take what we all gave her and she made something that was already good into something absolutely…well…magical.

I feel the shine. Can’t you?

The Witch of Belladonna Bay is available at Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon, and other fine book retailers or you can order it through your local bookstore. Can’t buy it? Try the library!


Filed under Adventures, My journey to writerhood, My Opinions on STUFF

What was I doing while I wasn’t here?

I took a blog break between mid-December and mid-February and I had planned to return with this big, ol’ list of exciting things I did while I was not here. I mean, despite there being no proof on the internet, I was still living and breathing during that time. In fact, I did a lot of stuff! I wanted to tell everyone about it and planned to have it all up on February 19th! And then I never did. However, I have pictures I want to share so you’re getting the condensed version of what would have originally been an awesome post but is now really just filler with fun snapshots.

Yeah, you’re welcome.

To pick up where I’d left off last year:

1) I got my Christmas spirit back and just in time. Thanks to the magic of my old friend, Jack Frost, I was swept up in a winter wonderland the Friday before Christmas and as the day wore on, I became infused with festive tidings. It was awesome.

Seriously, I was going nuts running around town after work, taking pictures, squealing. It was just so beautiful!

2) Gabe & I met up with Susan&Elizabeth, our Best Couple Friends who aren’t a couple (they’re best friends and there are two of them so they are like a couple and we make them do couple things with us because they are our favorite couple friends you know what? Just go with it and let’s move on, ok?) to run amok in the cold! We went to see Denver Botanic Gardens’ Trail of Lights and it was phenomenal!  Then we all went out for drinks and fancy pizza, afterward. Man, we are good at being delightful.

So bright, so happy!

This was my favorite tree

Even the barn is participating!

3) I had holidays. It was all fun and games, per usual, until Noelle got our dad reminiscing about a terrible part of his life and he started getting emotional and Noelle LEFT THE ROOM, abandoning the rest of us to Dad’s tales of woe. Chris felt horrible that Dad had to relive all that, Gabe was alarmed because he had never heard any of it, and I’m pretty sure Chris’ wife was wondering why the hell she agreed to be part of this family. Come to think of it, I was wondering that, too. I owe Noelle a punch in the face for that one. Gah!

a) Gabe and I got each other presents this year because guess what? Gabe is employed now! It is an exciting time in our house!

These are my presents from Gabe. They probably seem odd to everyone else, but these are things I had marked in a catalog many months ago and he remembered! Now I have a cricket for my hearth and two apple bakers (plus the apple corer – SO much easier!) and I was really, super, weirdly excited about these gifts. PS – those apple bakers? They make phenomenal baked apples.

b) I also got presents from my GoodReads BFF in a land far away (New York City, folks!) You can see why we’re friends, right? Because she is AWESOME and gives great gifts. Obviously.

No, the bunnies are not playing LeapFrog, but yes, that explanation works well for the under-12 set. This is my official Easter Sweater now, so I’ll be wearing it again, soon!
Thank you, karen. This has brought and will continue to bring great joy to so many!

c) We had an adventure in which we tried the Dryck Julmust we found at IKEA. I’m still not sure what that was all about.

Behold! The festive Dryck Julmust

Gabe drinks more carbonated beverages than do I so he wasn’t quite as weirded out by this.

What the hell is in this??

d) I used the Christmas Ham to make our annual Ham and Beans for dinner on January 1st. It was an excellent batch this year, thank goodness. Not like that tragic swill I made a few years back.

Super close up shot of the beans, which had soaked for 24 hours by this time, onions, carrots, spices, etc. The ham is hidden under this pile of goodness.

4) And on January 2nd, as our Family Christmas Present To Ourselves, we got all the internets installed in our house. That means I now create and post these blog entries AT HOME! We were internet-free (mostly…sometimes we stole it from the neighbors) for two and a half years. It’s been amazing, fabulous, and convenient but also stressful to be back in the connected world as it brings its own kind of worry: I feel like I should check email before bed. I have monsters that sing and I have to gather their money and make sure they’re singing every day. Then there are all the sites we feel compelled to visit at all hours of the day and it gets a bit silly. This pressure to be tuned in everywhere kicked in immediately, the day we went live, and I did not like that. Yes, of course, it’s easy to think, “So just don’t check email, just don’t play games, just don’t…” but you know what? It’s easier to do than not to do. Because I’m re-addicted and stuck to a screen, I don’t read as much as I did before the internet. My house isn’t as clean (ok, that’s actually because Gabe is at work, now, and while I can still leave him threatening messages to mop the floor, I know it’s not going to get done because he won’t be there to read said messages) I’m not doing all the simple, pleasant things I did while we were living the off-grid lifestyle and that makes me feel shallow and a bit hollow. Not enough to stop staring at a monitor for hours on end, mind you, just enough to write about it in a blog post.

5) I took the first week of the New Year off again and got a lot done, mostly cleaning. That’s when I took all my pictures for the How To Oil Wood post from last week. Hooray.

I did other things, as well, but so much time has passed. I should have had this story up as soon as I got back to my blog but I didn’t and now it’s sort of a lame duck of a post. However, I wanted to share all my lovely pictures so I am doing just that and none of us will ever know what I was doing between January 2nd and February 5th. It shall hereforth remain a mystery. Or you can just make up some story in the comments below; that works, too.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, Out & about or abroad

I was an angelic child – or – Grudge Number One

I attended a Behavioral EQ workshop yesterday where I was once more reminded that I have the emotional intelligence of a hermit crab. At least I’m consistent, I suppose, as these test scores never waver, not in ten years.

You know how workshops go. You build up through the information and then put it all together to get to the pivotal learning moment, which I did. Yay. However, the thing that has stuck with me was one of the beginning questions: “Can you think of an instance in which you became upset and reacted violently?” (not necessarily physical violence, just more along the lines of the Fight part of “Fight or Flight” response). Here’s something neat about me: I tend to get overwrought, upset, hateful, retributional…retributioney? Retributive!…and then I get over it, move on, and typically forget it ever happened. I have three grudges and maybe five regrets for my entire life, thus far. Most everything else that has upset me greatly is now forgotten, though probably never forgiven, knowing me.

Because of this ability to let go of all the things that piss me off, I wasn’t able to think of any recent instances in which I had been so upset that I reacted horribly, fighting instead being receptive to the elements of my situation and reacting accordingly. I thought back, thought back further, continued to think back until I finally settled on probably one of the two most crucial stress situations in my life. The topic? My First Grudge.

Dial back to 1979. It’s January. I’m probably in third grade. Chris is not in school yet; he gets to stay home with our mom all day, doing the things that non-school-attending children do. The holidays are over but I am still basking in the glow of my amazing loot haul. It had been a Christmas like I had never experienced. I got all the things I’d asked for from Santa plus a whole truckload of other great gifts. However, there were two presents that stood miles above the rest in my love and esteem: My beautiful, new, 13-inch Wonder Woman doll and my incredible Barbie Perfume Maker. I adored these toys more than I had ever adored anything else in all my life. They turned me into Gollum.

Are you with me, so far? Good, because here is what happened next:

You know, in my memory, she is much more beautiful. I’d kept the leotard for a long time but it didn’t fit any other doll so I don’t think it survived to my adulthood. However, the pink halter dress is still somewhere in my family. Perhaps Not-Little B has it?
Image swiped from My Toy Collection blog

Look at it! Just LOOK at it! Doesn’t it make you want to grab a powder stick, fill the little reservoir with water, and create heavenly scents? Oh, the longing I feel when I gaze upon this picture.
Image swiped from Sprinkles and Puffballs: Girl’s Toys Of the 80’s

During the holiday break, I had spent hours and hours creating beautiful perfumes, unique scents you would find nowhere else in the world except for maybe the bedroom of another child who also owned this magical maker of aromatic elixirs. I was ever so precise in my eau de toilette masterpieces, bottling them lovingly, arranging everything so that the glory of my art could be understood no matter who viewed it. In retrospect, maybe I made the wondrous little manufacturing station too alluring.

So there I was, freshly home from my first day back to school. I’d brought Wonder Woman with me, of course, and was taking her to my room so I could help her change into after-school play clothes, as we did back then. I walked with my doll in hand, probably talking to her, down the short hallway and could smell the Barbie perfumes I had made rushing to me, greeting me, beckoning me to come mix a new scent, to rearrange the bottles, to sniff the pastel-colored powder sticks. Filled with joy and anticipation, I flung open my bedroom door and found a  nightmare before me. His name: Chris.

My little brother was in my room, a place he was neither allowed nor welcome. I don’t know if he had been drawn to the perfection that was the Barbie Perfume Maker or if he hated me so much, he wanted to crush my dreams while I watched, but he was on my bed, frolicking like an imp, a small, plastic bottle in each hand with several more dancing at his feet. He was sprinkling the last of my hard-won, carefully-planned, beloved perfumes on my bed. He’d already relieved the rest of the bottles of their magic, dousing my throw rug, my stuffed animals, anything he had been able to find.


So much pure red rage.

He was laughing. He was jumping up and down, from bed to dresser to desk, knocking things over and destroying my entire life. I screamed. No animal on the planet has ever before bellowed such a yawp, no amount of pain, suffering, or agony in any other being alive could have produced a cacophony as feral as mine was in that moment. I had Wonder Woman by the legs. I charged Chris. In my need to stop his carnage, I brought the doll up, up, up and then DOWN right on top of his hideous little head. My screams of outrage were immediately matched by his of pain and shock and probably fear. Blood geysered from his skull as if he were a whale just up for air. I looked at the red lifeforce gushing forth like my own anger and felt justified in my action until I realized his knobby little noggin had split my beautiful, my treasured, my precious Wonder Woman doll in twain. The upper half of her body dangled lifelessly and would have fallen to the floor had it not been held by her patriotic leotard while her legs remained firmly gripped in my angry fist. My shrieks, monstrous before, ratcheted up another several octaves, gaining volume and momentum as each second passed.

I probably could have forgiven the destruction of my life’s work, especially since the perfumes could have been recreated. Maybe I could have also come to terms with the demise of Wonder Woman; already the back of my mind was tracking down the nearest duct tape. It was not to be, however, because my horrible, terrible, cruel parents made two disastrous decisions that night and my first-ever grudge blossomed. When it comes time for those “people,” and I use the term loosely because it will soon become obvious there is no humanity in the souls of either my mother or father,  to move into nursing homes, they will wish I was beating them with a 13-inch piece of hard plastic.

My parents ran into the room to find the source of the commotion. I know they could smell the mixing aromas of strawberries, lilacs, little boy’s blood, tears, plastic, and hate and do you know what they did? DO YOU KNOW? They took Wonder Woman from my trembling hand but not with the intention of fixing her sad, broken body. They took her and they threw her away followed closely by the entire Barbie Perfume Maker and all its apparatus (except, as I found much later, for one empty bottle, sans lid, and the white trellis that had fallen behind my desk during Chris’ scamperings) My dad took Chris to the kitchen to apply pressure to his goddamned stupid, hard, toy-breaking head and then to feed him ice cream and I…I! The victim of this heinous double crime! I was lectured, probably spanked (who remembers by that point. What could they have done to me to punish me further?) and told to stay in my room for the rest of the night while the two things I loved most in the world were taken from me, put out in the garbage can, and placed on the curb for morning pickup. I had no dinner. No family TV time. No bath. I couldn’t even brush my teeth. I am surprised, in retrospect, that I did not die of dehydration in the night, since I had nothing to drink and I am fairly certain I cried every ounce of moisture from my body. And it’s not like I could subsist on perfume water as it had all been tossed away.

I will never, ever forgive my parents for coddling my evil little brother and punishing me for his misdeeds and while I appreciate the strides his wife has made in recent years to correct his long-ago dastardly acts, Chris is on my shit-list for all of time, as well.

And that is the story of My First Grudge, the first time my amygdala urged me to fight with fury instead of flee with fear.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

Ghost hunting in The Brown Palace

I don’t know if you know this, but I’ve got a damn awesome sister. I hated her in our youthful days; it’s alarming to realize that I now love her so much, I would be willing to chop her into tiny pieces and gobble her up. That’s a compliment, trust me.

Little B and I share birthdays this month. We’re five days and twenty-five years apart. We’ve co-partied for our birthday celebrations before and it’s always good fun but guess what Noelle did this year?

She took B and me to The Brown Palace for a night of ghost-hunting and a day of fancypantness!!

Here’s how it went down.

I go to Denver often enough to know my basic way around so I offered to drive. Noelle and I dressed up because…well, because. I mean, it’s not like either of us get that chance too often. B wore teenage gear because she is sixteen. The point here is that none of us were in shorts and tank tops, ok? Anyhow, my car doesn’t have air conditioning anymore and it was a hot day so we arrived all sweaty and gross. Noelle told me to give the car to the valet. I’m sure he was not glad to hop into our girl-sweat infested vehicle, but he didn’t complain and we didn’t care because we had arrived for our birthday adventure in overheated fashion! Yay!

Noelle, B, and I, sitting outside of The Brown Palace, ready to begin our grand adventure.

We checked in, dropped off our luggage, and B changed into a skirt because we made her. We had some time to kill before our ghost tour and since we were suffering from starvation, we decided to gnosh on appetizers down at the Ship Tavern. Also, Noelle and I enjoyed refreshing adult beverages while B had a Sprite.

It’s on the pointy end of the building.

B’s choice of appetizer

These kept jumping out of the fry cone as the server brought them to our table. It was like they were alive, leaping about, falling to the floor, sprinkling parmesan all around the room. Had Hansel and Gretel had these, they definitely would have been able to follow their trail back home.

This is what was left of the crabcakes by the time I remembered to take pictures. Here’s the dumb thing: we didn’t want to fill up because we were going to have dinner later. So why did we order 3 appetizers? Yeah, we filled up.

Tasty adult beverages

After flinging fries hither and yon, we exited the eatery and waited for our tour guide who turned out to be the actual hotel historian! Her name is Debra. I didn’t take her picture. I don’t know why.

She started by telling us she couldn’t say, “Oh, yeah, we have a whole passel of ghosts in our hotel,” nor could she tell us about anyone who may or may  not have fallen/leapt to their deaths from the 7th floor to the marble atrium below because none of that is allowed. However, she could tell us about “unexplained phenomena” other guests, as well as staff, had experienced while at the Brown Palace.

So we started with a short history of the hotel. It is 121 years old and the only hotel in Denver that has operated continuously for that amount of time. It was owned by the Boettchers for awhile and they’re the reason it didn’t have to close down during the Depression. Yay for smart business decisions!

Now, here’s something I hadn’t known: The hotel gets its water from an artesian well that is around 16 stories deep. People who know about ley lines and ghostly things have said that the well goes deep enough to pass near/on a place of otherwordliness (I am totally paraphrasing all this, by the way) which could be why there are so many instances of “unexplained phenomena” in the ‘ Palace. Of course, as Debra said, this hotel has been in operation 365 days a year for 121 years. The odds are that with that many souls passing through the building, a few are bound to stay.

We visited the former gentleman’s club where one tour group saw a man come from the bathroom only the bathroom was nothing but a wall.

A man walked from this panel and some of the members of that long-ago tour were all like, “Who the hell is that guy? He’s not part of our group. Is he a staff member?” but no one recognized him. Also, they realized much later, that the bathroom from which he’d emerged was actually a wall.

We visited the Presidential Suite and heard about a woman who had owned one of the apartments on the 9th floor, had lived there many years and died there in the arms of her nurse. She had been a cranky thing, according to legend, and in later years, when the hotel took tour groups into her former suite, the front desk’s phone rang, the call coming from her room, yet there was never anyone on the other end. The thing is, at the time, there was no phone in that room because it hadn’t been remodeled as a hotel room yet.

There was also the story of Lizzie. She was not very old when she fell from the 7th floor banister. When she landed on the marble below, she lost consciousness but, according to everyone who had been there at the time (I think in the 20’s or 40’s), she came to and walked it off a little later. There’s more to that story but you can go take the ghost tour, yourself, to find out. Just remember to ask how many people have fallen from the 7th floor.

View from the 7th floor. You can’t see the 8th floor because it’s all walled-in and that is because it sports an art-deco style rather than Victorian.

I didn’t see/feel/hear/experience anything unearthly but Noelle did and B thinks she may have. While we were in the former gentleman’s club (now an event room), Noelle and B felt something cold pass between them. I only felt air conditioning. When we walked down the stairs from the 8th floor to the 7th, Noelle got vertigo. I did, too, but mine came from going from the art-deco-style back down to the very busy, very patterny, somewhat overwhelming Victorian style below. While B and I leaned on the banister rail of the seventh floor, Noelle had to back away because she felt sick. Like, puke-out-her-guts sick. Once we made it to the floor below, she was fine. When we went back up to where she’d felt sick, she was fine. She thinks someone had jumped from there and the leftover trauma made her sick. I blamed the crazy carpet.

You can see how walking down stairs and into this busy-ness could cause vertigo.

Noelle is trying to catch orbs but her camera won’t work right there.

This all goes along with Noelle’s hypersensitivity to anything from other planes and my complete inability to sense things not right in front of me. It’s been this way our whole lives. It used to make me jealous, but now I’m used to it.

After the tour, we ran about, retracing our steps and taking pictures. Then we walked the 16th Street Mall, ate gelato, got henna tattoos, rode the mall shuttle, laughed as B had her tattoo removed by a stumbling homeless man carrying a washboard, went to the Tattered Cover only to find it had closed two minutes before we got there, and finally wound up back in our room where we listened to a wedding party play loud music until midnight.

B gets henna-ed

Noelle gets henna-ed

Moments before the Most Horrific Experience.
It was like this:
We’d just gotten our henna tattoos and were walking along, walking along, getting tired.
We wanted to go to the Tattered Cover but it was so far away.
We got on the mall’s shuttle bus.
Noelle said, “Uh oh, here comes a guy with a washboard”
A man with an enormous backpack, several jackets, dreads, and a beard got on the shuttle, carrying his washboard.
Britt’s eyes got big (She doesn’t see homeless people in her life. They don’t exist where she lives. This was surprising for her)
The man, unstable on his feet, fell into/jostled against her arm, against her new tattoo.
Britt’s face grew horrified. Then she looked at her arm. Her birthday tattoo was gone.
She gave the man a look of evil.
Washboard Man had taken her birthday tattoo.
Britt has decided she is not a fan of homeless people who carry washboards and take off tattoos.
He got off at the next stop.
We laughed at Britt’s terror and indignation.
We did not do a good job at making her a more compassionate person.

This is the tattoo that was scraped off by the shuffling Washboard Man.

The next day, we got to loll about lazily (awesome!!) before getting up and successfully visiting the bookstore. We returned to the hotel and wrapped up the adventure with a super-fancy Afternoon Tea. It was 100% fabulous.

It is time for Afternoon Tea!

“One lump, or two?”

Noelle and I got champagne with fruit juice and B had fruit juice in sparkling water. Because we were extra-fancy.

What is the title of the person who takes care of you during tea time? The Tea Mistress? This is the pouring of the tea by our tea mistress, Hiwat.

The seriousness of the consuming.

It was a fantastic birthday present for both the 16-year-old and the 41-year-old. Noelle, you are the BEST PRESENT-GIVER EVER! Thank you and I hope you had as much fun as I did!


Filed under Adventures, In someone else's backyard, My Dearly Beloveds

The bone box

The Peloponnese, Greece

Somewhere in the Lower Mani, we stopped to stretch our legs. Thordis took us down a dusty, narrow road that ended at an old church, one that had originally been built in the 1000’s and boasted primitive Byzantine architecture.


Aya Stratigos, if my diary is to be believed.

We couldn’t go inside so we strolled through the graveyard, instead. That is where I learned about old Greek burial rites. Traditionally, the corpse was interred for three to five years before being exhumed for examination. If the bones were clean, the soul had gone on to heaven and the remains were washed and housed in the family mausoleum.  If there were still bits and pieces of body left, things hadn’t gone well for that soul.

Not everyone could afford to build a small house for their dead so some bones went into community ossuaries and some into bone boxes, small above-ground graves. Or coffins. A mix of both, I guess.

As we explored the cemetery, I was surprised at the number of newer mausoleums and monuments. I don’t remember if the graveyard was still in use but it had been in the last century. A thousand years of bones eternally slumbering together. We have nothing like that here in the States.

As I crested a hill, I found my eyes level to one of these bone boxes, a rectangle of stone almost 3′ long and 2′ wide with pieces of slate making the cover. It was ancient, encrusted with lichen of varying colors.

No, not a skull. It’s just a coincidental rock.

Once on higher ground, I could see the stone roof shingles had fallen in, exposing two skeletons. Their gray bones huddled together, skulls at the head of the box, resting atop the pile of their bodies. One skull was nearly upside down but still staring straight at me, the other skull leaned its cheek against the first, watching its mate. They were open to the sky, to the sun and rain, to the light of day and the stars of night. To eyes like mine. I wanted to cover them back up, to return their privacy and their protection, but I didn’t know if it was right to touch their resting place. It’s not my country, I didn’t know the rules.

Thordis was right behind me; she also saw the pieces of slate as well as the trash that had fallen inside the small tomb. She reached in, removed a plastic cup, then started to rebuild, gingerly putting each rock piece back in place. I hurried over to help; we reassembled the roof, forming a whole out of broken parts, covering the residents once again, returning them to the dark, to privacy, to peace, keeping them from rain and sun, from prying eyes and curious hands. In that moment, I loved them. I felt like a caretaker tucking sleepers in at night, wishing them lovely dreams. Also in that moment, I saw that doing the right thing is far more important than following social norms, perceived or otherwise.

This post is dedicated to Tyler who reminded me to tell this story and is for Thordis who gave me the gift of this experience in the first place.


Filed under Adventures, Out & about or abroad