You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2013.

Can you see the faint edge of a rainbow next to the  center monument in this image? I noticed it while we were waiting for dinner, and we both had a wonderful time trying to capture this slight piece of magic.  Things here, after the flood, are still in clean up and anxiety mode, but I have been doing a lot of processing, not only about the value of “things”, as I mentioned in a previous post, but the concept of home, which is something I have struggled with my whole life. Hopefully, the words that are running like an army of motorized slinkies in my brain will chill into something I can put on (electronic) paper soon.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the day: “There are some things you can’t learn about just through words. There are some things you can’t really understand until you’re living them.” — Kim Dare

Daily gratitudes:
Happy children on the shuttle
An early bedtime
A vat of pork green chili on the stove
Nine quarts of roasted green chiles in the freezer
The boy down the block who used his trampoline to make a perfect, unwobbly landing on the top of his fence

And that my blessing, otherwise known as my amazing daughter, just called me out of the blue to tell me how awesome she thinks I am. I love her so much.

It seems the floodwaters can take a toll on relationships and dreams, not just property. Sad today. I am thankful for my MKL, who holds my heart and loves me.

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Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: ““Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and
beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.” — Karen Blixen

Daily gratitudes:
The overly dramatic little boy at the Waffle House
Good conversation
Sunny days
The new additions to the household (photos to follow)
The Emmy Awards red carpet show

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:

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And this:

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And this:

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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

Daily gratitudes:
Seeing MKL today
Work
Mr. Man
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.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

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

Daily gratitudes:
Improvements
The little girl with the “Where the Wild Things Are Umbrella” as big as she was
My fluffy Mr. Man
MKL’s support
Peace
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.

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Denver, Colorado.

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

Daily gratitudes:
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.

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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

Daily gratitudes:
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

 

 

It has been a very difficult few days here in Boulder County. As you’ve probably heard, unless you’ve been under a rock, we have had rain and flooding of biblical proportions. I have lived in and around Boulder for over 30 years now and have never seen anything like it. Have never felt anything like it. The closest I have experienced was in spring of 1995, when I cut a business trip to Philadelphia short to come home and hope that I still had a house. The flight attendant gave me a bottle of champagne, saying I could drink it to celebrate if I did, and to drown my sorrows if I didn’t.

I did. I still had my little white house surrounded by lilacs on the banks of Coal Creek. It’s still my house in name and mortgage payment, but now ex-Pat and Kelsea live there with the menagerie of two big dogs (Roscoe and Champ) and two yellow cats (Dusty and Mel). I left five years ago on Halloween, taking very little with me but a lot of hope and fear and pain.

The little white house has a very special place in my heart. Ex-Pat hasn’t taken good care of it and that makes me very sad. But it’s still my little house with its giant fireplace and knotty pine walls and huge lilac bushes. And the gentle sound of Coal Creek, sometimes trickling at the bottom of the 20-foot bank, but more often dry. Not something you would ever expect to see raging.

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That shot was from today. Kelsea took a video yesterday that I wish I could share, but I can’t figure out how to embed it.

When Coal Creek flooded yesterday, I was worried. I was calling them constantly, checking on the status. They had received notice to evacuate at 5:00 pm. Pat chose to ignore that. (That’s Pat.) But in one of my check-in calls, he told me that the water was coming in under the kitchen door, more and more of it. It was ankle-deep in the old part of the house (which is an old mining cabin from 1910, with no foundation but dirt.) The root cellar under the kitchen floor, which houses the furnace and the water heater, was full of water, up to the top of its stairs. They started gathering things to leave, even though the bridge by the house was completely submerged by floodwaters. Kelsea’s voice broke as she asked me if I had a digital copy of the picture of her and her Grandma that she keeps on her wall.

They loaded things into the truck. They put the dogs on leashes. They put the cats (fighting and hissing) into the carriers. And then waited a little more. The waters stopped getting deeper and just sat there. And then they started to recede, to vanish, to soak into the carpets and floors and anything sitting on them. They stayed on the couch and watched movies, since they still had power, water, and cable. And the waters were gone. The creek backed down. The huge backyard stopped looking like an ocean. They were all right.

It was so painful to not be there. I felt helpless. I felt powerless. It felt like when my Mother was dying, except I couldn’t be there. It showed me my need to be in control, to be fixing things, and you can’t be in control of or fix a flood. I was breaking, for my daughter, for my animals, for my little house, for the things I left behind – heirlooms from my great-grandmother, that I left so that Kelsea’s home would not feel so strange after her mother left. So much of some many hard things coming back to haunt me.

I watched the news until 2:00 am, waiting for a 30-foot wall of water that fortunately never came. I slept fitfully by MKL (who had the flu, my poor baby, but I was so incredibly glad that he was there) for a few hours, waking to find that my bus route was shut down and travel was inadvisable, so I worked from home. At the end of the day, I drove over to ex-Pat’s.

The downstairs was a wreck.

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Friends from down the street and Niece #1 came to help. We moved furniture, pulled up the rugs, dragged them outside. Sadly, I lost some books that I’d had for 30 years. We worked for a few hours, mopping over and over again to get rid of the mud and leaves and dirt. The house has flood insurance, a requirement of the mortgage, so ex-Pat is trying to get the claims person to come out. He is concerned about mold from all the damp, and the water was pretty toxic. But the house still stands. For now.

The rain stopped enough for clean up efforts to get underway, but it’s supposed to rain more tonight and on Sunday. The creek rose two feet in the last hour I was there. However, the house is on the high side of the bank, and the flooding last night was more caused by the city unwisely opening a spillway at the back side of the town. Hopefully, they heard enough harsh words for that decision today to keep them from repeating it.

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It could have been so much worse. So many in Boulder County have lost everything. Beautiful little towns like Lyons are cut off from the world, with residents having been evacuated by the National Guard. People have lost their lives. This experience again makes me examine my relationship with and attachment to “things”, something I have ruminated on for many, many years. I don’t think I’m ready to write about that yet. But I will in a while. Right now, I am still coming off the shock and fear and surreality of the last couple of days, feeling a wee bit of PTSD, and hoping that the sunshine will stick around for a while.

This was the 100 year flood that was way overdue. Meteorologists say that it was so bad, it probably won’t happen again for 1,000 years. I know that, either way, I am glad I won’t be around to see it again.

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Sunrise at Topsail is like a glimpse of heaven.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “And when we’re no longer speaking, thinking or dreaming, we will dance with the ghosts of whales that have beached themselves long ago, long ago on the Barbary Coast. ” — Jesse Huestis

Daily gratitudes:
The rain and thunder and lightning tonight
Cobalt blue
Going off sugar
Toddlers in sparkly silver shoes
That I live in a place where a man can ride a horse down the street in the middle of the day with a dog in his backpack (unfortunately he got arrested, but that’s beside the point) (and I just found out the dog was a pug named Bufford, which adds a whole other dimension of awesome.)

A peaceful beginning for your Monday…

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Loblolly Beach, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “I want to walk on a beach with you, dragging a big stick behind us, making a message in the sand that we try to believe an airplane will really see. I want to kiss saltwater from your lips. I want us to listen to music with our eyes closed; I want to read musty books while lying next to you – books about fascinating things like mummies and eccentric artists and old shipwrecks in the Pacific. I want to have picnics on our bed and crawl into cotton sheets that smell like summer because we left the windows open when we were gone. I want to wake in the night with you and marvel at the stars and try to find the moon through the trees. I want all the sweet things in life. But only by your side.” — Deb Caletti

Daily gratitudes:
The elk meandering down the main drag in Estes Park
Men riding motorcycles with dogs in the sidecar
The inflatable Nessie in Lake Estes
Pretty wedding gowns
New friends

It’s the end of the week for most people (yea!) though not for me yet. But that’s okay. I’m having a quiet night at home tonight. Though I miss MKL.

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust.” — Laini Taylor

(And I have that in MKL. Mushy sigh…)

Daily gratitudes:
Little kids playing soccer
Pigeons with interesting feathers
Getting to pet three pugs today
Kisses
Clothilde’s mini-me
A cold Red Stripe on a hot day

 

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