Forty and a quarter (plus a few days)

Girls trip to Breckenridge: Hiking, noshing and flower-finding. [dropcap custom_class="normal"]I[/dropcap]t's been a long month. I've accomplished a ton, but I'm behind on the blogging of it because of my trip home for my grandfather's funeral. So what you're getting here is the down and dirty of my #40before41 updates ... individual posts on some of these experiences are yet to come.

Still featuring the three sections: Done, In Progress, and Ahead of Me Still. Notes intermingled.

• 40 Before 41 • 


• Develop a new website for my blog — Do you like? • Have a tarot reading done — A friend read the cards for me on my birthday. They indicated a lot of challenge over the next year, but lots of potential success too. She's offered to read my cards again on Oct. 23 for my half birthday. I've been contemplating investing in my own cards. I'm quite taken by these. • Find more opportunities to dance — Still tap dancing weekly at Ormao, and making new friends through it, which I wasn't expecting. Also line dancing every Sunday. • Visit a hot springs in Colorado — I visited Mount Princeton Hot Springs in Buena Vista, Colorado, with my dear friend Jessica. It rained as we sat in the pools and it was a lovely, sensory experience. • See my byline in a national magazine — Woot! This happened this past weekend. I've got a story in the Sept./Oct. 2014 issue of Spirituality & Health magazine. Look for it on newsstands now. • Climb Pikes Peak — My #CouchTo14er is complete. This was the biggie on my list, and I will be blogging about it soon. • Take a trip with a girlfriend — Not only did Amber climb Pikes Peak with me, but she and I travelled to Breckenridge for a training hike weekend, which was loads of fun. I am still hoping to take at least one more trip with a girlfriend who I don't see regularly. • Skinny dip — Ahem. Done. And I have photos to prove it. Whether or not YOU will get to them remains to be seen. Lol. Blog to come.

In Progress

• Yoga and meditation, daily — Up and down with this. Getting to the mat each day is a real practice. I'm participating in The New Intimacy online course with the amazing Mark Whitwell over the next four weeks and am looking forward to that process. • Blog at least twice a week — I think I'm averaging twice a month, which is much less than I'd hoped. I'm looking for a blog project to join to help me along. • Read at least 52 books — Still ahead of schedule. Nineteen books down, six in progress. I finally finished A Game of Thrones, but, dang, was it slow going (to be expected, I suppose, at 800-plus pages). • Send a snail mail letter/card/postcard/gift once a month — On track. • Plant and grow something edible outside — One tomato plant, chard, basil, baby lettuce and mint in the pots. Regularly using the mint and basil. And my tomato has three little tomatoes on it! • Journal at least weekly — Still working on this. • Invest in a week’s worth of matching bras and panties (foundations matter!) — Five new sets purchased. Lots of lace. • Intentionally play music in the house every day — This has been awesome actually. Somehow it makes the house feel more like a home. • Participate in a stage show (play, musical, etc.) as cast or crew — No callback from my audition for me, so it's time to do more research for new options. • Play paintball — Recruiting friends to join in because this seems like it would be more fun with a group. • Continue to reduce my wardrobe, a la Project 333 — It's amazing, really, how much easier it gets each time. • Facilitate and participate in at least one improv writing session a month — Summer schedules and sickness got in the way this month. Hoping to get back on track in September. • Build a terrarium — Haven't built a full terrarium, but I do now have a mini hanging terrarium with rocks and an air plant. • Learn to bake French macarons — Looking for classes, have one potential option. • Plan my next trip to France — I've been chit-chatting and plotting and planning with my British friend Tamsin, owner of the Little French Retreat, about this ... • Show up (my 2014 “one-word” soul mantra) •

Ahead of Me Still

• Have at least one item of clothing tailored to fit • Visit Ojo Caliente • Take French language lessons • Make new connections with at least three bloggers I respect  • Attend the Santa Fe Opera — Unfortunately, I didn't jump on this, and it looks like I won't be able to attend until next summer, after my birthday. Kinda sad about that, but perhaps if I ask for tickets FOR my birthday that will count? • Take classes on how to use all the buttons on my DSLR • Figure out my signature style • Learn to make ginger beer • Find the perfect red lipstick (and wear it) • Add a piece of original art to my collection • Give generously what I want to receive • Stay up once all night until sunrise • Perform at a poetry slam/open mic • Get will and living will in order • Get make-up tips from a pro • Take performance driving lessons •

Have you set any new goals lately? Share them with me!

Life journeys

GrandpasHands [dropcap custom_class="normal"]F[/dropcap]riday night my grandfather died. He was 92, and his passing was not unexpected, but every death takes its toll.

As I was searching around on the Interwebs yesterday morning for some solace, I found this quite amazing poem by Billy Collins, called "The Afterlife." It reminds me of my favorite part in the book The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, where "heaven" is each person's "simplest dreams." (And heaven changes and adapts as time passes.) I've always thought it was a beautiful idea.

Before heading home to be with my family, I will climb Pikes Peak tomorrow — the culmination of one small journey of my own. And I'll hike with Collins' words and my grandfather's legacy in mind.

While you are preparing for sleep, brushing your teeth, or riffling through a magazine in bed, the dead of the day are setting out on their journey.


They're moving off in all imaginable directions, each according to his own private belief, and this is the secret that silent Lazarus would not reveal: that everyone is right, as it turns out. You go to the place you always thought you would go, the place you kept lit in an alcove in your head.


Some are being shot into a funnel of flashing colors into a zone of light, white as a January sun. Others are standing naked before a forbidding judge who sits with a golden ladder on one side, a coal chute on the other.


Some have already joined the celestial choir and are singing as if they have been doing this forever, while the less inventive find themselves stuck in a big air conditioned room full of food and chorus girls.


Some are approaching the apartment of the female God, a woman in her forties with short wiry hair and glasses hanging from her neck by a string. With one eye she regards the dead through a hole in her door.


There are those who are squeezing into the bodies of animals — eagles and leopards — and one trying on the skin of a monkey like a tight suit, ready to begin another life in a more simple key,

while others float off into some benign vagueness, little units of energy heading for the ultimate elsewhere.


There are even a few classicists being led to an underworld by a mythological creature with a beard and hooves. He will bring them to the mouth of the furious cave guarded over by Edith Hamilton and her three-headed dog.


The rest just lie on their backs in their coffins wishing they could return so they could learn Italian or see the pyramids, or play some golf in a light rain. They wish they could wake in the morning like you and stand at a window examining the winter trees, every branch traced with the ghost writing of snow.