Snowy day

I’ve seen a fair amount of snow in my life. I grew up in Wisconsin, lived in Alaska for six years, and now live in Colorado. Snow is a known quantity. That said, I can’t remember another time I looked out the window and saw individual flakes.

This snowfall is magical.

 

Today, I ran back to myself

Yesterday was cold, gray, and icy here in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Today was sunny and warm enough to run in shorts. The last few days have been emotionally draining for a variety of reasons, and I felt that fatigue and heaviness as I ran.

However, each step felt like a gift, my cadence matching my internal chant:
I am strong and getting stronger. I am strong and getting stronger. I AM STRONG AND GETTING STRONGER.

Sing it, believe it. Live it.

Snowpocalypse Now

We’re finally getting much-needed snow! The recent warm temperatures and freakishly dry landscape felt slightly apocalyptic, so it’s a huge relief to receive moisture. Plus, the white provides a nice, clean blanket over all that drab brown.

However, it’s possible that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the snowstorm.

Gloom, begone!

Today we woke to a gray blanket of fog which has mostly dissipated,
revealing an iron- gray sky.
The sun is nowhere to be seen. The mood is pure gloom.

Except out my kitchen window.

I’m grateful for those tenacious maple leaves.

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day, sunny and in the low 60s. Zippy and I spent the afternoon working in the yard, trying to catch up on our much-neglected gardens that have run amok. The sun shone through the leaves and I paused in my work to capture this vibrant image:

I made a conscious effort to fully experience the colors and balmy temperatures, because there was a huge weather shift on the way. This morning we woke to about 4 inches of snow on the deck railing (currently 8 inches or so).

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high of 51 degrees. Welcome to Colorado.

Sunday Confessional: The today-I-parched-my-dog edition

I went out on the trails with Emma today. It was sunny and warm (probably about 80 degrees), there was substantial elevation gain, and we ran when we could.

Another pertinent fact? I didn’t bring water.

When we got off the trail and back on the street, we’d gone about 2.75 miles and Emma’s tongue was hanging out. We walked about 150 yards and then hit a patch of shade. She flopped onto her belly, legs splayed behind her, and panted. I let her stay down there while I stretched, and then got her going again. Several patches of shade later, she did the same thing. Belly flopped.

So I picked her up and carried her.

We passed some guy who asked, “Isn’t she supposed to be walking?” Nope. It was totally my bad. I overexerted my short-legged dog in the heat AND neglected to bring water. Two belly flops from her meant the rest of the way home was on me.

So I carried the 25-pound dog the last half-mile. For the record, she completely enjoyed the ride, looking around from her new vantage point.

She’s still a bit tuckered, though. While she rested, I dug my water pack out of the closet to use on our next outing.

 

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Thankful Thursday: The sunshine edition

weather-station

This is Zippy’s indoor weather station. As you can see, it’s sunny and 65 degrees outside. Granted, the outdoor thermometer is in direct sunlight right now so it’s really only 65 degrees against the bricks on the south side of the house. But still. Sixty-five degrees in January!

I’m going out for a run around the neighborhood and am looking forward to cruising past the snow piles lingering from last weekend’s storm.

Gotta love Colorado and its split-weather-personality.

 

 

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This is a first

We have about nine inches of snow on the deck railing which, in the past, would have resulted in a nine-inch muffin top on the patio table. Not this time (as Lucille Bluth might say). For whatever reason, the wrought iron surface acted as a sifter; snow fell through the holes and only piled up along the seams.

snow-sifted-patio-tableThe snow looks a bit like fancy icing on a big round sheet cake. However, it’s much too cold to go outside for a taste. It’s currently 7 degrees.

 

 

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29 degrees of Thankful Thursday

Yesterday and today have been frigid in these parts. The kind of cold that makes my teeth ache and my nostril hairs stick together as soon as I step outside. I’ve toted my space heater from room to room while waging an internal debate on the pros and cons of life in Florida or Arizona or Texas. (Okay, that’s melodramatic hyperbole.) However, the stuff about my nostril hairs is true.

But at this moment, I’m thankful for the promise of better things:

weather-forecast

That’s a 29 degree swing in the right direction, and I’ll take it!

As that Little Orphan Annie with the freakishly blank eyes is fond of saying:
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow ….

 

 

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Feeding frenzy

house-finch-feeding

There’s a snowstorm headed this way, and the finches and chickadees are very busy at the feeders and heated bath. I’m grateful for my warm home and wish I could open it to my feathered friends tonight.

Then again, it’s probably not very cool to invite birds into a household that includes two cats.

 

 

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Mixed feelings

Three years ago Zippy and I finally faced reality and replaced the shake shingles on top of our house. Our former neighbors, the ones higher on the hill than us and with a view of our roof from their kitchen, were thrilled.

We were tired of retrieving shingles from the yard every time the wind blew. Also, we were concerned the roof might start leaking.

The main reason we’d delayed action was that we couldn’t decide on the type of roof we wanted. Actually, that’s not true. We knew we wanted a steel roof because it was a more sustainable and environmentally benign material than asphalt shingles. But our budget finally pushed us toward asphalt and we consoled ourselves with the knowledge that the house had had the same roof for many, many years and that the new roof would last another many years.

Wrong.

A while back, my neighborhood was hit by a hail storm that ruined every single roof. (Except for the steel roof two streets over). Every day there’s hammering somewhere in the neighborhood. Today, that hammering is close to home.

Not my roof, but the same scenario.

Not my roof, but the same scenario.

Right now there’s a roll-off dumpster in my driveway filled with three-year-old shingles torn from the roof. Tomorrow the roofers will install a new asphalt shingle roof.

While I’m grateful for my home and the literal roof over our heads, I also feel a great sadness. We’re sending another load of waste to the landfill.

 

 

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Still Here: A Story of Daffodils and Me

In the fall of 2006, I was a mentee at the Rutgers One-On-One Conference where Laurie Halse Anderson was the keynote speaker. In addition to offering smart and funny insights into her writing journey, she offered us daffodil bulbs. True story.

Last Friday, I took this photo of my LHA flowers that keep on blooming, year after year:
Daffodils

The next day, it started snowing. And over the next twenty-four hours, more than two feet of snow fell on those daffodils.

Me several feet away from buried daffodils.

Me several feet away from the buried daffodils.

If I’d been thinking, I would’ve covered the flowers with a bucket to protect them from the elements. Alas, I didn’t think that far ahead. So now they’re beneath the rapidly melting snow where they may or may not recover from the shock of an April blizzard in Colorado.

I share a kinship with those flowers that goes beyond them symbolizing my connection to the children’s writing community. The daffodils and I have been on a nine-year journey together. Every year they push through the soil to face whatever comes their way, not knowing whether they’ll be greeted with sunshine or flurries. And every year I continue writing my stories, not knowing whether they’ll be greeted with warmth or snowy rejection.

It’s a risky business for those flowers and me, but we keep on doing what we need to do. And year after year, we prevail.
Prevail bracelet 010

 

Friday Five: The Random Edition

(1) I used to be kinda indifferent about Led Zeppelin, but for the past couple months have been mainlining it at a LOUD volume.

(2) I’m still having to run back and forth on the one flat street in my neighborhood due to glute issues and yesterday did three miles with the help of Sly & the Family Stone.

(3) I’ve started working part time as a substitute library page which means I shelve books at various local libraries, and have developed a love-hate relationship with the Dewey Decimal System.

(4) I’m revising a manuscript and enjoying the process which I call a WIN.

(5) If this rain doesn’t let up soon, I’m gonna scream loud enough to be heard over the Led Zeppelin.
screaming-quotes-1