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It was -15 when I got up this morning. -31 with the wind chill.
I had a very romantic view of the West when I was a child, fueled by classic movies like How the West Was Won and episodes of The Big Valley. It was a wild, open place, full of space and freedom and adventure. I retained that image until I moved here, and still, the little kid that lives inside me believes that that West is somewhere I just haven’t looked yet.
My image of living in the West never encompassed slogging through icy streets to an office in a tall building in downtown Denver. But with a warm coat enveloping me like the arms of a bear, I can pretend I am a displaced Russian countess, which makes the cold slightly more bearable.
And knowing that there are places like this also ease the frigid winter winds.
Anegada, British Virgin Islands.
Quote of the day: “ As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Nelson Mandela
My bear coat
That I got my sidewalk shovelled
Sparkling sprinkling of snow at night
A morning bus nap
While this doesn’t look particularly comfortable, it did make me feel like I was sitting in the lap of nature.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “Because even if the lie is beautiful, the truth is what you face in the end.” — Lauren DeStefano
Amazing fall afternoon light
People with lovely souls
Getting lots of hugs in one day
A perfumed bath in the clawfoot tub
No, not the kind you usually see from me, but an actual human-hand-wave. I’ll be away for a few days, so I thought it only fitting that I wave goodbye and blow virtual kisses to all my delightful followers. Surprises for everyone when I return!
Kelsea and I took the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Rail Road on a lovely June day. We sat in the open car and found ourselves still trying to get the soot and ash out of our hair two days later, but it was great fun.
Cripple Creek, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” — Alan Wilson Watts
Having all the laundry put away (and the dishes done)
Earl Grey of Halifax’s Tuxedo Party
This struck my fancy. I miss letters – actual letters that arrive in a mailbox, not emails, which are nice, but just not the same. I always used to write my letters on onion-skin paper – does anyone but me remember that kind of paper? It had a lightness, a sheerness to it, that made it seem more romantic somehow, more classic. And of course, I always needed just the right pen. I think that’s a characteristic of most writers, that need for the perfect instrument to spill our hearts and words onto paper. Hope you are all having a lovely week.
Quote of the day: “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Watching a pink sunset at Topsail on the Jolly Roger webcam
That the grass is still emerald green in October
Mr. P, my new travel pillow
Lunches with MKL
Olives and feta
Things here continue to be in flux, with the town considering buying and scraping my little white house, and challenges with figuring out how MKL and I are going to merge households. Add to that the possibility that our long plan trip to a remote island is in grave jeopardy due to his work, and what do you have? Me. Fragile. Having fantastic dreams of tornadoes and devils and destructions. But still standing. Trying to find my places of gratitude and power, while letting go of the things I cannot control. My brain does have a tendency to ruminate on things, making them worse than they are. At least I recognize that, and I can work with myself on it.
We did have a lovely day on Sunday, taking Sophia the BMW over Guanella Pass to see the change of seasons. Here’s an image that reflects the transience and fragility of nature. And yet, each season marks a return to a new sort of beauty and strength.
Guanella Pass, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “One can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.” – Lemony Snicket
The red-tailed hawk on the telephone wire, sun shining through his tail feathers
EPA workers protesting the government shutdown
That it was good coffee, even if I did spill it all over my shirt
The shine and dance in MKL’s eyes when he looks at me
A dog to pet outside the grocery store
Today was my first semi-normal day since the flood. I was back in the office, and had a lot to do and wasn’t as freaked out as I was on Monday. So that’s all yay. I did take a Xanax last night before going to bed, so I slept better and my anxiety level was pretty low. Since I’ve never taken anything like that, it felt like going on a first date – you just don’t know how it’s going to go. Will it work out? Or will you be miserably uncomfortable? I’m glad it was a good experience, but I don’t wish to date Xanax regularly. I just want normal back – even if it’s a new normal.
The FEMA inspector/adjuster comes tomorrow morning, so we’ll see what happens next. The flood insurance adjuster has yet to send the paperwork we need to complete, though he did send a sample of what the completed form should look like (uh, dude?) Family comes in tomorrow to help ex-Pat with house stuff, which is good. I’m sure it will be nice for him to have his brother with him.
The ick part of today was the rainclouds. Where I am in my office, I am not next to a window, but if I stand up in my little cube, I can see the wall of windows to the outside world. However, I don’t have to stand up to see when it’s getting gray out. I can just tell by the slight variation in the light in the room. And as soon I saw the clouds today, I got cold sweats. In case I haven’t mentioned it, that’s one of the attractive ways that my el weirdo anxiety is manifesting. Any element over which I have no control that triggers thoughts of the flood also triggers clammy, cold sweats. Uber attractive.
And a sky that looks like this:
really does a number on me right now.
There have been a lot of poignant stories coming out of Boulder, of rescues and passings, of good and the kindness of strangers. I have always been impressed with the true character of Coloradoans, but never moreso than now. Even though I, like so many others here, am a transplant, I’ve been here long enough to take root, and I’m so proud of my State. As we unbury our treasures, and dry our tears and our carpets, as those lost souls who were unaccounted for continue to be found, keep us in your prayers.
Quote of the day: “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space.” — Edward Abbey
Seeing MKL today
My cozy, dry house
The chirping of crickets
That Kelsea had a successful, super-long drive yesterday
It is a lovely day here. No rain, not even a drop. There is still debris in a lot of places – trees, boards, roots, and parts of people’s lives. But those lives are moving on, forward, ahead, and towards the next thing.
In the case of my half-house, the next thing is how quickly ex-Pat can get a new water heater, because apparently, when he has to scape the mud off the top of the water heater, the insurance adjuster considers it a total loss. And that’s one of those important things for doing dishes and showering. They cleaned out the last room yesterday, and I have lost a lot of photos and slides, which makes me very sad, but I’m hoping there is some way of salvaging them.
My anxiety levels are still super-high, but a little bit better this morning. The eye doctor, much as I love her, didn’t help by telling me that I have some pre-cataract thing in my left eye (seriously, body, how old do you think you are??????), so that added to the anxiety-cold-sweat-o-meter today. MKL says he will still love me if I go blind, and he has fabulous descriptive powers, and cataracts are surgically fixable. So. Yea.
I think I will try one of my newly prescribed Xanax before bed. As I say, a beautiful life goes on.
Quote of the day: ”Loss carves out a deep, hollow pocket. There’s no magical way to fill it, no medicine or Band-Aid or surgery to cure it. I suppose that over time you get used to it, but the feeling never totally goes away. And the more time you spend on earth, the more pockets you’ll collect. But it’s part of living. It’s life.” — Suzanne Selfors
The little girl with the “Where the Wild Things Are Umbrella” as big as she was
My fluffy Mr. Man
The sound of the ocean waves
I’m sorry if I’m writing a lot about the Flood. It’s been really traumatic – combine the empath-me with the flood-damaged-homeowner-me, and you have the unbearable-anxiety-riddled-me – who is trying to work and be a mom and stay in some kind of balance. It’s not working very well. I’m not used to feeling like this. Depression, I understand – anxiety, not so much.
The water is receding, though we still have hundreds of people unaccounted for. Hopefully, that number will go down as people who have no power get access to communications again. Kudos to Xcel Energy for working so very hard to keep the lights on. Even though my half-house has a lot of damage, it never lost power. The flood insurance adjuster came today, took about 100 pictures, and will hopefully file a good claim on our behalf, or however that works. Turns out we’re insured by Lloyd’s of London, which makes me feel a little hoity-toity. We’ll see how they measure up in terms of fairness. I don’t have a lot of faith in insurance companies, but I’m trying to stay positive, beneath my strung-so-tight nerves and flesh and bone under this fragile layer of skin that covers them.
I hope that soon, I don’t get that frisson of fear when I see a rain cloud over the mountains. That soon, I will stop trying to take roads that are closed. Soon, I will be able to walk the mountains without fear of the earth collapsing beneath my feet. Soon.
And now, here’s a chicken.
Quote of the day: ”You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” — Max Ehrmann
Not hitting a bird with my truck this morning
My new green chile-ground beef dish
Sunbeams at sunset tonight
MKL’s supportivenss (and hugs)
Wearing my softest T-shirt tonight
And a special shout-out to the lady in the grocery store who told me that “That color looks great on you!” You have no idea how much I needed to hear that at just that moment.
This is not a view I had today. It is a view I had in June on one of our lovely road trips. But I liked it for today because it is dry in this image, and it is anything but dry here. We had another day of rain and are still under flood warnings. Boulder Canyon may be closed for a month, with residents up in the mountains having no way to get to town other than a 2+ hour drive around through Black Hawk. Ex-Pat has been in touch with the flood insurers, which is good, and we are preparing to contact FEMA as well. My anxiety levels are huge, and I feel like my muscles are trying to bust out of my skin. This is the first time in my life I ever wished for Xanax. It’s not reasonable, but it is what I’m feeling nonetheless, even though things are calming down. Sigh. One day at a time. Colorado strong.
From Terror Creek Winery, Paonia, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” — Norman MacLean
The lucky penny the House Spirits left in the kitchen this morning
Alfred Hitchcock movies
That the Broncos are off to a good start this season
Spending most of last night and today with Kelsea
Prayers from friends