When my friend Laura tipped me off to today’s significance, National Bird Day, I went in search of an appropriate bird photo. Oops. I could look at bird photos for a looong time. So many beauties to choose from. I forced myself to make a decision and settled on this dapper Blue Jay.
Clearwater, Florida. May 3, 2019
Birds are the canaries in the climate change coal-mine. Today and every day, I celebrate their existence. I can’t fathom a world without them. We must make big changes and quickly. #GreenNewDeal
Yesterday at 5:45 pm I realized I hadn’t seen my indoor cat, Marcel, in hours. Zippy, Zebu, and I spent the next several hours in the cold and dark, calling to Marcel who goes silent when afraid. We eventually quit and went to bed to toss and turn, trying in vain to forget how cold it was outside. At 6:30 this morning, Zippy (again) checked the garage we’d left open four inches. This time, Marcel was curled up in the cat bed Zebu had put on top of the recyling bin. SO GRATEFUL.
Five minutes ago, I finished writing the first draft of my new middle-grade novel. It clocks in at 42,793 words and is a whole lot of talking heads and not a whole lot of description, which means it’s kinda skeletal. But I’d hoped to finish by the end of today and, despite my lack of sleep (see Above), I did it! Will I cringe when I read the draft in a couple weeks? Possibly. But there’s no revision without a first draft, baby. Again, I AM SO GRATEFUL.
Tomorrow morning Zippy, Zebu, Wildebeest’s childhood friend (Kyle C), and I are driving to Durango, CO, where Wildebeest lives. His graduation ceremony is on Friday and we’ll be there to witness that incredible milestone. Wildebeest was an avid student until he hit middle school and then had some bad “learning” experiences that completely turned him off school. His was an on-again-off-again college journey and he laments being such an “old graduate,” but I was also 26 when I graduated college (and look how well I turned out!) I’m proud of my tenacious son and GRATEFUL we’ll be there to witness his accomplishment.
Great Egret. May 5, 2019. Clearwater, FL
Last night I met with the young leaders of the Sunrise Movement in Colorado, and heard some tough news. As I listened, I slouched lower and then lower in my chair. At the same time, I noticed the young woman across from me sitting straighter, back erect and strong. It was as if I was a cautionary tale. The lower I went, the higher she sat. No caving in for her. It was a beautiful sight.
I’d like to be more mindful of sitting and standing tall, no matter the situation.
A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind. ~ Morihei Ueshiba
This week brought ice, snow, and frigid temperatures. But in classic Colorado style, today was blue skies, sunshine, and a balmy 55 degrees. My sons and a friend joined Emma and me on a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon, and the weather was so delicious I wanted more. When we got home, I put on my running togs and ran around the neighborhood streets.
Final light of the day hits neighbor’s roof as melting snow falls in jeweled strands.
And even though the sun has disappeared behind the hills, I’m still feeling good. Thank you, sunshine and endorphins!
Centennial Cone Park hike with Laura Perdew. July 10, 2019.
Flora and fauna
portrait of nature’s balance
I’m off to a Bernie Sanders rally in Denver along with another Sunrise Movement friend where we’ll talk to people about Sunrise and a Green New Deal, hand out these flyers for the upcoming Climate Strike, AND listen to Bernie’s plans for taking back this country!
Let’s do it!
Hike to Square Top Lakes. August 28, 2019.
Hardy little plants
in hostile environment
Today I got out of bed at 5:50 a.m. and did some stretching before heading out to meet friend and critique partner Laura Perdew for a hike in Centennial Cone Park. According to my Garmin, we hiked 8.59 miles. The GPS didn’t clock our discussion, but it included conversation about writing, children, spouses, writing, families of origin, wildflowers, proper pronunciation of “penstemon” (turns out we’re both correct), writing, trailrunning, and mountain bikers. Here’s a sampling of the natural glory we witnessed along the way:
It was a beautiful day and I’m so grateful for the dose of nature + friendship. Thank you, Laura, for being my hiking buddy and generous writing partner. You’re the best.
Today I salute my friend Laura who talked me off an editorial ledge. After I sent some angry, frustrated texts, she called and listened to my rant. Then wise Laura offered some very good suggestions for moving forward and I will be implementing her ideas when I get back to work. Which won’t be until Monday.
Because right now it’s the weekend and I refuse to spend any more time and energy on this project.
We’re having friends and family over for dinner. As always, Zippy’s doing the heavy lifting in the food preparation department. But I stepped up and offered to make dessert.
Aesthetically pleasing while also easy-peasy. Plus, I completely stole the idea from our friend’s dinner last week. I’m nothing if not a domestic goddess.
Our friend Susan came to visit today before she flies across the pond to officially begin life in London. (She now has a visa and is totally legit!) Anyway, she and I are hooping buddies from way back and we try to hoop together whenever we can. It turns out I can’t embed video on my site, so I encourage you to play “Ooh La La” from Goldfrapp while perusing these stills from our afternoon session:
The final two photos show our hoops colliding which brought shrieks of laughter and big, big smiles. Our hooping technique may be suspect, but our passion and enthusiasm are real.
Love and hugs to Susan as she embarks on her grand adventure!
Today I am thankful for my friend, mentor, and critique partner Claudia Mills who is spontaneous and responded in the affirmative to my last-minute invitation to get together. We spent an hour and a half this afternoon strolling around Viele Lake in Boulder. The sun shone brightly the entire time we walked and talked. Tanky-the-dog mostly listened, although he interjected a few yips at other mostly-larger dogs on the path.
Claudia and Tanky after our final lap around the lake.
It’s the last day of January (don’t let the door hit you on the way out!) and I’m grateful for the revitalization that comes from friendship and sunshine.
I’m in Florida visiting my mother and I’ve already made two new friends: Antoinette the Lyft driver and then this gorgeous osprey who tolerated me taking lots of photos.
This trip is off to a very good start.
You gave me flowers
teased and loved me, laughed with joy
my heart is shattered
The top left photo shows Doug Chase (and the program director) at the soup kitchen in 1999, our first year volunteering with Grant Avenue StreetReach.
I’m taking a break from writing after writing 50,000 words last month. I intended to do nothing but read and then remembered the enormous stash of photos I swore I’d organize so my sons wouldn’t have to deal with them.
So I started scrapbooking and quickly felt a sense of overwhelm. My family has SO many photos. Then I asked for/demanded help. As a result, Zippy and Zebu have stepped up and helped round photo corners and put sticky tape on their backs while I crop and organize the next pages. It feels a lot better to share the load. And it’s good for me to let go of my perfectionist tendencies.
The page I’ve highlighted here shows Wildebeest playing chess with a man named Steve who taught both sons to play. This page is also bittersweet because it contains the only photo I have of our friend Doug who died in 2009. He was a lovely man and today I miss him all over again.
I frequently curse the number of photos needing our attention, but finding Doug in the stacks was like striking gold.
Today I’m thankful for critique partner and friend, Laura Perdew, who encouraged me to try NaNoWriMo this year. I’m positive I wouldn’t even have considered fast-drafting if she hadn’t suggested NaNo as the cure for my exceedingly slooow outlining and drafting of this new project.
Today is the halfway point for NaNo and here’s what I’ve accomplished thus far:
I’m more than halfway to my target of 52,169 words for November (I’d already written 2,169 words and didn’t want to “cheat” on achieving 50,000 words in 30 days so included them in my final draft target). I am thrilled. Absolutely over the moon with my progress. Hooray! Etc. 🙂
It’s amazing what I can accomplish once I banish my internal editor to a corner with tape over her mouth.
Last night I met with my critique group (Writing Roosters) which always results in renewed energy and inspiration. What was different about last night’s experience is that I came home with a whole new game plan for my work-in-progress. A kinda scary yet exhilerating plan!
Laura Perdew and I were talking before the others arrived and after describing where I was at in my new project (outlining, figuring out stuff, writing VERY VERY slowly), she suggested I do NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month takes place in November and participants set a goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve never done it before (although back in the glory days of LiveJournal I used to participate in writer Jo Knowles’s modified JoNoWriMo+1.5 which ran September 15-November 30).
Normally, I’m not a proponent of banging out a whole bunch of words in a short time because I know how easily I can get off track. Fast-drafting can also lead to SLOW revising as I struggle to make sense of the “story” I created. However, I think I can get myself set by November 1 so that I have a strong outline and characterization in place before writing this book. I realize that part of the reason for the SLOW writing on this project thus far is due to me second-guessing every other word. I need to give myself permission to get the story down as outlined and then revise from there.
So. Today I’m grateful for my critique partner’s kick in the butt.
I’m in for NaNoWriMo. Anyone else participating this year?
Today I met a friend at the Denver Botanic Gardens. She has a membership and treated me (for the umpteenth time) to a guest pass. Here’s one of the dazzling flower and plant displays at the entrance:
There were many plants I recognized and many more I did not. For instance, what is this?
In my photo file I labeled it “Poky Plant,” but I’m nearly 100% sure that’s not the right name.
Then there’s the Dragon Arum otherwise known as Dracunculus vulgaris. When I showed this photo to Zebu he said the exact same thing my friend had remarked: “Dracunculus vulgaris is a Harry Potter spell.”
It was a lovely couple hours at the gardens and now I’m back home in front of my computer, getting psyched up to tackle my revisions.
May my thoughts stay still longer than the water spiders in that last photo.
presented to friend and me
on yesterday’s hike.
Today I am grateful for:
(1) Laura Perdew who invited me on a hike to Herman Gulch Lake near Dillon, Colorado,
Laura and me before we sat on rocks to eat. Photo by kind hiker-passerby.
and (2) spectacular vistas.
The friendship, exercise, and scenery did my heart good.
A couple weeks ago a visiting friend (who’d recently suffered a head injury) asked if we had two black cats after seeing one in our backyard. After checking to make sure our indoor-only Loki was still inside, I assured the friend we had only one black cat. And, I thought to myself, “You’re seeing things, my friend.”
Last night I discovered he was right and I was wrong.
I’d just gone to bed when I realized I’d forgotten to close the black-out shade behind the curtain. I pushed back the curtain to do so and saw a dark shape against the window. I almost wet myself. Then the dark shape was gone and I thought maybe I was seeing things. But Zippy turned on the outside lights and there under the evergreen shrubs was a black cat with green eyes. The spitting image of Loki.
I owe Kaden an apology.
This afternoon I was hanging out in the basement with Zebu, Wildebeest, and Wildebeest’s friend, Kyle. We were sitting on the carpeted floor before Wildebeest and Kyle left to play soccer. When Wildebeest started doing stretches, I asked if he’d done his daily plank yet because I hadn’t done mine. He replied that he hadn’t and begrudgingly agreed to do one then. I hollered upstairs for Zippy to come join us and he (also begrudgingly) came downstairs.
Wildebeest set the timer on his phone and turned up some music as the three of us got in the planking position. Then Kyle joined us. Zebu, feeling the peer pressure, set down his container of mixed nuts and assumed the position. (Emma and Marcel were also in attendance although their planking form was suspect.)
Verdict? Group planks are more fun than solitary planks. Maybe next time we’ll up the ante and try building a human plank tower.
I’ve spent the day cleaning my writing room and am getting close to being done. I have a definite “paper problem” and hold on to all sorts of unnecessary stuff which means it’s a relief when I find an expired coupon because . . . EASY DECISION!
I unearthed one gem, though. On the surface, it doesn’t appear to be anything special:
I was getting ready to put it in the donation pile when I turned to the last page.
Apparently, Zebu’s one and only favorite rhyme was:
Ice crem smis crem
Makes perfect rhyming sense to me and, in fact, Zebu and Zippy both immediately decoded the inventive spelling when I showed it to them.
(This reminded me of years ago when a friend was plotting a weekend getaway for the two of us and I reminded her of my responsibility to my young kids. Her reply? “Kids, schmids.”)