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work and love

2013 May 24
by Rachel Turiel

Well hello all you Love at First-Sighters!

(thank you for your comments, now I know it wasn’t just Cinderella).

Thinking about it a little more, I realized that when Dan and I met at The Steaming Bean coffee shop in September 1995, after exchanging numbers (i.e. I asked for his number), he rode away on his bike to his dishwashing job, and I heard a small decisive voice say, “I could marry that guy.”

And I did. Seven years later.

But I think of love at first sight like fireworks sparking between two people, drawing them together like some ineffable golden cord without the muddying of words. You know, like Cinderella and the Prince. And truly, my attraction to Dan was more logical. “We talked for two hours, and got to know each other,” I’d tell starry-eyed Rose. I was newly post-college and watching as all my previous beliefs (i.e. go to college, get a degree, start meaningful career, be fulfilled) crumbled to dust, when Dan told me how he’d just (at 23) burned his resume in a ceremony to mark the letting go of old beliefs and the welcoming of following his own path. Wow. I’ll have what he’s having. Naturally, my next thought after, “I could marry that guy,” was, “and someday he’ll dig me a kickass root cellar.”

But I’m curious about you Love at First-Sighters. Was it fireworks and golden cords without even talking? How does that work exactly?


Summer’s doors have swung open. We’re up at the first crack of house-finch song, and usually not in bed until Dan pantomimes two cartoon X’s across his eyes, gesturing to the floppy, overtiredness of Col. Mornings, the kids shoot up like rockets, and then march outside to perform their morning meditation of chicken care.


This is one of two barred rock hens (both named Shadow by Col, because we weren’t supposed to name this bunch so that when it’s time to—shhhh—eat them, it would be no problem. Right-O). Col always wears his blue sweatshirt outside because he maintains that Shadow comes running to him when he’s wearing it.

:: The chickens are officially outside now, which makes our 800 sf house much more pleasant, odorously-speaking.


Such goofy lovable birds. 

:: So, remember that root cellar Dan built us last summer? Backstory here, and here. Well, unlike so many other of our big projects, it’s actually done and the 2nd part of the plan was always to build a shed on top. And Dan, being Dan (i.e. focused, efficient, productive, never been on Facebook) is right on it.


This is called “the deck,” construction talk for “floor.” 

Apparently I agreed to a very small second story on the shed. We’re not exactly sure what the second story will be for. I’m thinking writing studio, the kids keep calling it their play house, and Dan is orienting the windows precisely onto the La Plata mountains to the north, which is a view he’s talked about since buying this house 15 yrs ago.


A rooftop game of Uno.  

:: Dan found this pair of elk antlers at the very start of his all-day hike last Monday.


Still the pinnacle for him over career.


:: Thank you for your birthday wishes for Rose, you guys “know” and appreciate her so well. She got her ears pierced on her actual birthday and while she sat in that special chair, attended by 2 sparkly-spangly teenagers, back straight as a board, stoical game face applied like make-up, Col paced nervously outside the store window like an expectant father.


She got a zillion new earrings as birthday presents and can’t wait until the 6-week wait is over so she can change her earrings as many times a day as her clothes. God help us. My best “birthing day” present was at Zia for dinner when Rose leaned over to whisper to me, “thank you Mama, this has been such a fun day.”

Rose and I made a pony birthday cake, which due to the vagaries of vegetable-based food coloring, turned out a little like a set design from the movie The Day After (remember that one? About nuclear holocaust?).


Yellow nuclear grass and polluted purple pond. I don’t think the kids actually noticed.


Rose got, for her birthday, a 70’s-era doll house rescued by our friend Amy. Rose spent the first 2 days possessively denying Col access to it while Dan and I sighed dramatically, unsure how to open the floodgates of sharing is fun! On the 3rd day, they began seamlessly and almost absent-mindedly playing together (like they had forgotten their bickering sibling script), and Dan and I immediately dropped all other plans we had because you never wake a sleeping baby or interrupt harmonious siblings.


:: Every time I harvest a colander full of greens I subject Dan to a calculation of how much money we’re saving, I mean what do you think this one is worth – all full of chard and lettuce and bok choi? At least $8, and then there was Tuesday’s harvest, and…


:: Also, nettle/elk burgers:


The omg-est!

:: How’s everyone’s hollyhocks doing? Being biennials, this is the year they will bloom. How fun it will be to hear which colors everyone got. Here’s what they looks like before blooming:


:: Dan did not lose his job after all (Thank you for all your great ideas for us!). Strangely, right as I was getting on board with Dan’s self employment plans of teaching archery/bow-making, writing for hunting magazines, creating art to sell, he got offered a different version of his current job (he is an energy auditor – evaluating the energy efficiency of homes/commercial spaces and making recommendations for improvements). It is a less attractive version but it’s reliable income at the lucky pace of three 10-hour days/week, and Dan is plenty happy to continue creating art and bows without the distraction of marketing.

My friend Kati was wondering if this was the Universe At Work: noting that we were ready to take a big leap, united with trust and courage, and then rescinding and giving Dan what he really wanted. I shrugged, not having ever thought of that, and frankly boring myself with my own logical nature. Work and love, is it magical thinking, random good fortune, the culmination of dedicated effort? Who knows?

All I know is that love is a true blessing in all its forms and methods of delivery.

* 6:35 am. I just heard Rose call, all scratchy voiced, to Col from the top bunk: Col, are you down dere? You down dere?

Guess it’s time to start the day.



29 Responses leave one →
  1. Caraway permalink
    May 24, 2013

    Good morning Rosie! You up there? ? :-)
    That’s a fun post, Rachel!
    Tell Dan that when we come visit, Noah wants to take his bow making class. And wow those antlers are huge. What do the elk in Colorado eat??
    Love, caraway

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 24, 2013

      Can you believe that the elk in Colorado eat grass and flowering plants in the summer and twigs in the winter, and somehow grow those enormous antlers?

  2. May 24, 2013

    Wow, that dollhouse rocks. I have the three-story version, made by my grandpa. Now I want to get it back out (the boys haven’t played with it in a long while) and arrange furniture. Happy birthdays and summer greens and job security!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 24, 2013

      Thanks, Andrea. Seems that furniture-arranging is the M.O. for dollhouse play.

  3. Andrea permalink
    May 24, 2013

    where to start:

    *kick ass roof top terrace. cant wait to come over and play. someday.
    *3x 10’s! sounds like an awesome schedule leaving plenty of time for naturing around and staring at the mountains.
    *wish they still made doll houses like that. that wallpaper looks totally vintage.
    *didnt get in on the hollyhocks last year. sigh. i was still a silent reader back then.
    *and as for love at first sight…

    for me, with hubby, love at first sight was not ‘fireworks’, or anxious, excited, giddyness. or silly checking of the answering machine (answering machine!!!) every hour for his phone call. there was a peace, like he will call when he has the time and i will check when i have the time. it was more a lack of all that drama. if felt sure, confident, settled. it felt trusting. like home. thats how i knew!

    and it was….

  4. Melissa permalink
    May 24, 2013

    On love at first sight–in hindsight it’s so easy to idealize that first encounter, but i did have similar thoughts, like, oh, his family is in northern california like mine, so we could both end up back there to raise our own family, which is obviously a thought one does not utter to a person one has just met, but I had it just the same. Leeor claims he was clueless to my feelings and only concerned that a friend w him that night (at a concert venue in Silverlake area of LA, where I was living and finishing MSW school and he was visiting) was trying to put the moves on me and he was getting in the way. But I was into him. And somehow we made it work over distance and time and here we are in Berkeley, our 3rd baby on the way.

    Loved this post. xo

  5. May 24, 2013

    Here’s my crazy story: When i saw my future husband’s name on the class list mailed out in advance of beginning herb school, I felt a weird tug in my belly and knew…something would happen. I didn’t dare call it marriage, but knew it would be big. I hadn’t even seen the guy. There were lot’s of fairy tale starts and stops, but it has been 15 years and five VW buses since we were neighbors out there in the desert of Bisbee, AZ, setting out on a two week spring fling finale in a split window blue and white carriage. No white horses, but the deal was sealed.
    And ps, he just got a permit for elk/bow hunt this fall, and I keep thinking, how on earth can we get you to spend a few days with Dan in Durango?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 24, 2013

      Well shoot, maybe Dan *should* quit his job and teach archery and stuff….

  6. Rachel Turiel permalink
    May 24, 2013

    Loving the romance stories you guys. xo

  7. Molly permalink
    May 24, 2013

    It is a thunderbolt, and it begs to be explored. Has anyone ever resisted? It is no guarantee. It knows you, and what you’ve been missing, without realizing it. It leaves you on the beach, gills heaving, til you grow lungs or find water again.

  8. Emmanuelle permalink
    May 24, 2013

    Rachel, this is how it was for me: I was so painfully shy with boys that at 23 I had never had a boyfriend. But I had this strange idea than “when I meet him, he will be 28 and a photographer”. Then one day in Paris I went to a store to buy photosensitive paper, and I as was asking questions to the vendor, I noticed (somewhere at the edge of my field of vision) that somebody was watching me.

    As I crossed his path, I glanced very quickly at him – just enough to see he had blue eyes and a kind look. Two minutes later, I arrived at the cash register right behind him – and as he gave me some technical advice I knew that he wanted to “meet” me. We walked to the street’s corner together, and as he hesitatingly said goodbye, I was emboldened enough by then to suggest a cup of coffee (although I hate coffee :o)

    So he was my first boyfriend and I was so happy that he was the right one… (He was 28, and quit his job in marketing soon after that to go into photography as he had always dreamed to.) It turned out he was not ready to “love somebody forever” and since it was obviously was I was into, our relationship ended after two years. My heart was broken and I left France for Montréal, Canada, where I met somebody else. But it was not the same.

    We remained very close to each other, and now, after all these years, he is still the love of my life, the guy I’d like to have children with. Although this part is a bit tricky since I deeply need to be in Montréal for now (I can’t seem to find my balance anywhere in France) and he has to be in Paris for his work.

    • Emmanuelle permalink
      May 24, 2013

      PS – Rose has amazing green eyes, and you look stunning yourself! Spring really becomes you…

      (a lovely metaphor in a way :o)

      • Rachel Turiel permalink
        May 24, 2013

        Could just be that my hair is washed.
        Also, wow. What a story. Glad you got to live that one.

  9. Jamie Schuster permalink
    May 24, 2013

    No love at first sight here, or at least, not on his part. I was quite taken just from the sight of him….
    I do love Rosie’s dollhouse though!
    Also, no hollyhocks for me. At least I don’t think so. I went ahead and planted all the rest (I was being stingy last year b/c I wasn’t sure how long we were gonna live here – but now, since it’s been a year I’m not sure they are even viable still). Time will tell I suppose, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  10. Emmanuelle permalink
    May 24, 2013

    Thanks, me too :o)

    I do think we can perceive somebody’s personality right away, most of the time: through their eyes and smile, their posture, probably their “energy field” that we react to even if we can’t see it. We are drawn to some people intuitively, repelled by others, or unsure.

    And once in a while, we feel a very special connection to strangers. Hopefully, they become our friends, or we still remember them ages later… or we get to build a relationship with them :o)

    Cheers for Dan’s new working schedule! Apparently this will leave him some time to actually give arrow making/shooting lessons once in a while, too…

  11. Ania permalink
    May 25, 2013

    Haven’t commented for a long time so let me say:
    -most of all Happy Birthday to Rose!!! I’m having a girl in August and I’m wondering how it will be parenting her (after having a very boyish boy, I’m kind of hoping she will not be a very girly girl ). The first thing my husband said when I told him it was a girl “Finally you will have somebody to pick up herbs with”
    – awesome camping!
    – Dan looks like antler angel – wow!
    – the first time I saw Lukasz on top of a mountain in Slovakia, I immediately knew I wasn’t in love with the boy I thought I was falling in love with and I knew I was looking at my future husband. It was’t a thunderbolt, just a feeling you have when you recognize somebody you have known all your life from the distance just by the way he moves and carries himself. Good, familiar feeling. A stronger version of what I’m feeling reading your blog.

  12. Michele permalink
    May 26, 2013

    My Hollyhocks are up and really happy! The funny thing was for about three weeks I through they were some sort of miracle cucumber that had come back to life. It wasn’t until my friend and I were standing there looking at them and she reminded me of the seeds I shared with her last year and we finally came around to remembering the name that we realized what they were :)

  13. May 28, 2013

    i DIED laughing at the, “I shrugged, not having ever thought of that, and frankly boring myself with my own logical nature,” because, girl – that is YOU.
    so happy to be the dippie to yer hippie any day. xo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 28, 2013

      Died laughing at YOUR comment. It’s great to be known.

  14. May 28, 2013

    When I was about 22 my eyes locked with a man on a bus and I thought ‘I am going to marry that man’. He got off the bus and I never saw him again. BUT, if I had seen him again, I could have said I knew from the very first sighting…

  15. May 28, 2013

    i laughed out loud for both “never been on facebook” and the nuclear cake. my hollyhocks are looking lovely- i am so excited to see them bloom! as for love at first sight, i think i am a little sketchy on what that means too, but similar to a previous commenter, rich claims he would hear our yoga teacher mention my name, long before i ever started going to the evening class he happened to attend, whether he just had a feeling about that name in his sub-cockles or what, i don’t know, he hasn’t really elaborated on it. when i finally started going to the evening class he was in, he said he definitely was aware of me. i thought he was hot right away, and had an intense crush and couldn’t wait to talk to him, (like i was plotting junior high scenarios of how to get him alone in/before/after yoga class so that we COULD talk) but i was not in love until we talked in the laundromat. cuz then it was like we picked up where we left off in our past lives or something.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      May 28, 2013

      sub cockles! I had to look that up. New favorite word.
      Also anything involving past-lives in the laundromat is destined for greatness.

      • May 28, 2013

        i got sub cockles from dennis leary. :)

        • Rachel Turiel permalink
          May 28, 2013

          whatever. I am attributing it to you.

  16. May 28, 2013


    it was my second wife which forecasted Joy and i’s karmic two-getherness…after a(nother) lavish dinner at Pauls Cafe in LA (where Joy would soon become the Manager of my Yoga Studio). my then-wife said as all three of us held hands sprinting across Ventura Boulevard among the dancing street-lined Palm Beings, “Steve, you and Joy should be together…you finished each others’ sentences all evening,” without a hint of jealously.

    Thus spoken. Thus it became.

  17. May 30, 2013

    Rachel! Oh I have some catching up to do. Great to be back here. Love you, love this post. Night night.

  18. June 6, 2013

    Oh God! The cake colors!! This is sooo funny!! Nuclear holocaust!!
    It is such a treat to read you. I remember when we had our little homestead and I did the same thing with the veggies and meat and kept repeating to JF how much we were saving at every meal!! We have so much in common! I wish I’d live closer and we could chat while drinking tea! We’d have lots to say!

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