living alone

New year, new moon--and long nights.... New year, new moon--and long nights....

This time of year as the long nights of winter yield much-too-gradually to the turn of our hemisphere toward light and warmth, I spend time deliberately tallying my blessings.

Not in a superficial, oh-isn't-life-wonderful way.

Sunrise at 7:52 a.m. near Winter Solstice. Sunrise at 7:52 a.m. near Winter Solstice.

Winter Solstice, the day the sun "stands still" in its apparent journey southward, is the turning-point in my personal year.

Richard 'n Susan Richard 'n Susan

For almost 29 years, I was half of two, the Susan in "Richard-'n-Susan." We fell in love at first sight at the birthday dinner of a mutual friend, after which my housemates invited him over to grill him (they didn't trust my instincts).

Summer silliness (photo by Scott Calhoun) Summer silliness (photo by Scott Calhoun)

Last Wednesday, the second anniversary of Richard's death, I thought about what I've accomplished over the past 104 weeks.

Self-portrait in the bathroom mirror: note the pencil behind the ear, a portent. Self-portrait in the bathroom mirror: note carpenter's pencil behind the ear.
My desk in Creek House--the two piles to the left of my computer are Bless the Birds.  My desk in Creek House--the two piles to the left of my computer are Bless the Birds.

Last week was my first full week at home. Monday morning, after the usual contractor consults, I pulled out my memoir-in-progress.

Words that arrowed straight to my heart.... Just a few words... of such great power.

On the bookshelf to the right of my desk sits a simple hand-lettered card bearing birthday wishes  and this quote:

Happiness is a form of courage. --George Holbrook Jackson

Creek House "great room"--living, dining, kitchen all in one cozy and inviting space. The "great room"--living, dining, kitchen all in one open space.
Eye-popping dawn colors this morning. Eye-popping dawn colors this morning.

It's my birthday!

Maple strip flooring reclaimed from an old gymnasium. reclaimed maple flooring
Richard Cabe inflating our brand-new kayak at Frantz Lake, September 2009. Richard Cabe inflating our brand-new kayak at Frantz Lake, September 2009.
Treehouse (foreground) and Creek House with board-and-batten siding appearing. Treehouse, the garage plus with studio above (foreground), and Creek House, both with Craftsman details appearing.

In a month and a day, I'll hand the keys to Terraphilia to the buyers.

I usually post on this blog once a week, often on Sunday night. Last weekend though, I was involved in negotiations related to the sale contract on Terraphilia.

The tub-shower enclosure in the master bathroom. The tub-shower enclosure in the master bathroom.

I'm close! So close to completing the finish work on this house that my punch-list lives in my head, not on paper.

Richard and Susan in the Tularosa Basin of Southern New Mexico, around 1992. Richard and Susan in the Tularosa Basin of Southern New Mexico, around 1992.
The view into the master bathroom with the counter in place. The view into the master bathroom with the new counter in place. It is supported by a "rail" screwed to the wall, and one sculptural steel support.
My tiny house this evening from the path along the creek. My new house from the path along the creek this evening.

On evenings with no meetings, events or house guests, all of which have occupied every night this week, I walk to the other end of the block after work to visit my tiny house-to-be.

My house, shot by Terraphilia Resident Robin MacDonald-Foley. Thanks, Robin! The house and attached guest cottage--photo by Terraphilia Resident Robin MacDonald-Foley.
The Oklahoma Panhandle, between Guymon and Boise City, a landscape that brings new meaning to the word 'level.' the Oklahoma Panhandle between Guymon and Boise City
Evening-primrose "snow" on a flat above the Arkansas River, Colorado Pallid evening-primrose "snow" on a flat along the Arkansas River, Bighorn Sheep Canyon, Colorado