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July 7, 2012: Happy Anniversary

Over breakfast, oatmeal with raisins, Pete and I considered the day’s plans. This, a quasi-daily ritual, is a holdover from when we were writing The Alaska Bicycle Touring Guide. This turned out to be a huge project. I wrote the narratives and Pete worked on the more technical aspects. We discovered that articulating what needed to be done worked well for us both.

We continued this practice, though the current project is less cerebral and more hands-on. This project is our place, Squalor Holler. In order for me to get stuff done, I now think of what’s to be accomplished in terms of quadrants. There’s the house, upper, middle, and lower quadrant. Pete, of course, now knows what I’m talking about when I (for example) say “I’m going to spending my day in the lower quadrant.” (This is the horse facility area.)

This a.m. I told him that I was going to spend the morning in the middle quadrant (the hoop house) weeding. He said that he’d be inside, first working on the internet, and then making a peach rhubarb pie. I checked my email and discovered that friends from Talkeetna were headed our way for a visit.

Sometimes, the best laid plans go awry, but always, in a good way. Karen Harvey and Curt Meachum soon pulled into our driveway and greeted us warmly. We all gravitated in the direction of the horses, and from there did the tour. Karen and I talked horses, and Curt and Pete talked building projects. There were, at times, polite divergences into the other pair’s area of interest, but generally, we were most happy talking about our own interests. We came in out of the rain, for lunch. The spread included smoked salmon, homemade bread, garden greens, and yes, Pete’s fresh out of the oven peach rhubarb pie. After, Pete got on the computer and narrated our trip slide show.

Karen and Curt left just as the rain stopped. I was mulling over the prospect of taking a nap when Pete suggested that we go for a ride. I agreed – I suspected that once I got going, that I’d feel less sleepy. I was right. Off we went, on a seven-mile jaunt, skirting the Moose Meadows. It was overcast, but the clouds hung low over the Talkeetnas. The rain had made the used trails slippery, but the horses did a fine job of picking their way through the questionable parts. Raudi was full of herself, and Siggi, too, was fairly energetic. We threw a lot of trotting into the mix. Coming up Murphy, we asked them to quicken the pace. Raudi complied, by going into her rocking horse canter, which she maintained for about a half-mile.

I next took Signy and Hrimmi out. Signy was also feeling good. There is no longer any stuck chi. We even cantered. I think she likes being in the riding horse line up. Hrimmi was perhaps the most happy to be out of the pen. She bucked, kicked, squealed and raced about. Pete spent some time brushing her. Her foal coat is now coming out in tufts. I mentioned to Pete that she’s going to be a red bay, like Signy.

The above is an account of how Pete and I spent our 26th anniversary. July 7 is the date we met so many years ago. This was in Denali Park. I was traveling by bicycle and Pete was traveling by truck. From the moment we met, it seemed to me that we fit together quite well. I had been with other guys, and up until then bemoaned the fact that the match wasn’t quite right. I had, by the time I met Pete, figured that I was destined to be single. I was okay with this—the trick was going to be to keep myself busy.

I have many regrets about many things --- most are career related. But I have never, ever had any regrets about taking up with Pete. Not a one, ever. I’ve sometimes said that I should have played the part, and worked harder at finding a man with a lot of money. But this has always been said in jest.

I made the right choice of partners. We sometimes argue. However, even in the midst of spats something good always comes to mind, such as, “wow, this guy is really logical.” Or, “gosh, he’s handsome.” I do not then say this, but rather, articulate it later.

Mine is an instance in which I lucked out. For instance, Pete could have been a cereal killer, meaning that I would not then be able to accompany him to the food store. Instead, he is a quiet, calm, and mellow guy who eschews Cocoa Puffs.

I really do believe that a person can do no better than finding the right partner in life. Even the most solitary of people might do well single, but (as I contend) would do better if they found the right mate. Carolyn Benson, Christopher’s wife, once told me something revelatory. She said that Christopher had recently bemoaned the fact that he’d done nothing with his life. She responded, “that’s not true. You’ve loved me!” This was a reminder to me – loving, and being loved IS doing something with one’s life. All else, really, is inconsequential.

Next: 212. 07/8/12: Happy Trials and Travails