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Lafayette, Colorado.

You know it’s not like me to be too Pollyanna-esque, but I am trying to maintain a sense of positivity as we seem to be diving back into the great white hole that is winter. It reminds me of the Great Blue Hole in Belize, where divers become so mesmerized that they simply keep going down and never return. I have never been there, but this is what it looks like, if you’re not familiar with it:

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Great Blue Hole, Belize (image credit: Atlas Obscura)

Quite a different view than from our snow-covered porches, eh?

Being a beach baby, I thought diving would be a wonderful experience for me. My first snorkeling experience was so magical, once I got the hang of it, that diving seemed to be the next logical step. Alas, it was not to be. I took the initial certification class, but unlike any of my classmates, needed an extra lesson before my instructor was comfortable signing off on me. I couldn’t get over the inability to breathe, and the pressure on my ears, and the growing sense of panic as I went deeper. And so, that dream was wrapped in a lacy lavender sea fan, and tucked away safely for the next lifetime. Even snorkeling now is a challenge, due to ill-fitting masks and random hairs and disorientation. But I have my exquisite memory of my first snorkel, playing alone with two Hawksbill turtles for twenty minutes. And accidentally brushing my hand against some fire coral, but that’s a tale for another time. It was after the diving lessons and a talk with my instructor that I realized I was a beach baby, not a water baby. That those two things were different, and that I need to be BY the water, and IN the water, but not UNDER the water. A dream trip to the Galapagos is still on the Bucket List, and MKL and I will brush up on our snorkeling and snorkel there like billy-o.

But back to the cold reality of a Colorado winter. Poor MKL has the flu and has had expensive car troubles since we tried to escape the -19 weather back in November. It seems to have tailed him like some sort of ninja, springing to beat him about the head and wallet with numchuks when he least expects it. And now he is terribly blue. Having just recovered from my own bug, and being swamped at work, I have not been able to bring him supplies (supplies being Sauza Tequila, which is the cure of all that ails one, Vicks VapoRub, chicken soup, and tender nursing.) I keep telling him that this too shall pass, and it will. It always does. The only certainty in life is change.

While I dislike winter as much as he does, and we are tempted to rethink our strategy for where we live after Kelsea gets out of college, I am trying to stay positive. Hence, today’s unicorn snow. Can you see the sparkles in the photo taken along the fence? It glittered as it was falling in the cold sun, and looked like some celestial unicorns were shaking off the last vestiges of a fine slumber. And the birds had not given up hope and were singing, even in the 8 degree morning. What choice does one have but to try to find encouragement in such signs of spring?

However, Colorado has only put a dent in its winter inferiority complex and will be providing us with more snow this week. Let’s see how far into the white hole I can dive without running out of oxygen.

Quote of the day: (As an aside, this was a favorite of my Mother’s and she had it in front of the bathroom mirror throughout her battle with cancer. It sits on my dresser today. I carefully brought it all the way home from North Carolina and dropped it getting out of the car and broke the frame. I’ve left it so, as there seemed to be some kind of symbolism in that occurrence.)

““In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus

Daily gratitudes:
Getting the occasional ride to work with Elisa
Louis Bayard’s weekly recap of Downton Abbey in the NYT that makes me laugh out loud
Head bonks with Mr. Man
Planning surprises
My beloved

Because a day can start out really lousy, and wind up with skies like this.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.” — Nora Roberts

Daily gratitudes:
The smell of warm asphalt
Glowing rain clouds
Helping others
MKL
The man in the elevator who cheerfully took the earful I gave him when he asked me how my morning was going

This isn’t a very good shot because it was taken from the bus on the way home. I was soooooooo soaked. It’s only about a quarter of a mile from work to the “new” Union Station bus terminal, but after half a block, I took my shoes off and just went barefoot. I figured my feet had a better shot at surviving the walk than my shoes did. My pants were wet to the knees by the time I got to the bus.

We’ve had tornado warnings two days in a row at work. Yesterday, we huddled in the stairwell for 20 minutes, which gave me an unexpected anxiety attack. I have a little PTSD left over from the floods last September. Today, however, we all just went about our business. I’m much happier standing at the window watching the weather – I figure if I see a tornado coming, I’ll have plenty of time to make it to the stairwell.

I generally love the energy of storms, and hope that my leftover anxiety will abate with time, because it certainly seems like we’re going to have a bang-up summer. Kelsea and I plan to have a storm-chasing day or two, but no worries, we’ll be careful!

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.” — E.M. Forster

Daily gratitudes:
Getting to meet dogs on the street
Sparkly things
Our upcoming hot springs weekend (yea!!)
The energy of thunderstorms
Unsweetened iced green tea from Starbucks

I caught a walk under the thunder today, which is a little nerve-wracking when you’re in the field, but it does make you go faster.

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Lafayette, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… A child or a book or a painting o a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do… so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.” — Ray Badbury

Daily gratitudes:
A puppy on a leash carrying the leashof  an older dog
MKL
How snuggly Mr. Man is
Walking
Lima beans

We were blessed to have just about every kind of weather you can imagine (except snow) when we were here, and the view from our room was constantly changing. We had just gotten back from the 17-mile loop when a rain/sand storm strolled through.

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Monument Valley, Arizona.

Quote of the Day: “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” — Confucius

Daily gratitudes:
Iced green tea
The waitress who dumped the whole water pitcher on the firefighter’s table today
Sweeping
A coolish morning
Poetry

There’s really nothing to say. This was today.

Springtime in the Rockies

Highway 287, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Winter is much like unrequited love; cold and merciless.” —  Kellie Elmore

Daily gratitudes:
The loveliness of the snow on the tree limbs
Christine being my computer angel today
MKL’s support
Hard times that help you see what you need to do
Kava tea

For those of you still under the bad influence of Sandy, this is just a reminder of better days to come.

Cow Wreck Beach, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.”  —  Willa Cather

Daily gratitudes:
The dance of dewdrops in the back of my truck this morning
A lovely day
The man downtown with the silver cowboy hat and the snake around his neck
Writing
Sharing anxiety

I miss the view, clouds or shine.

Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”  —  Chief Seattle

Daily gratitudes:
Painkillers
Beautiful days
My comfy bed
Old t-shirts
Peanut butter and crackers

This storm passed over Jost van Dyke, sharing its brief blustery winds with those of us on Tortola.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”  —  GK Chesterton

Daily gratitudes:
The little old man on the street rocking out along with Kelsea and me to the music from the truck radio downtown last weekend
Not setting the house on fire when I cooked pork chops
How the curtains move in the breeze from the storm that never came
The curiously strange dogs at the small farm down the road
Paint horses
Getting to see MKL today

Well, we talked about the first snow last week. And I thought that this year, it might be fun to keep count of how many snowfalls we have. I’ve never done that before.  Last night was the beginning of our second snowfall.

It started suddenly and was nasty driving home. In fact, my personal day started with flaming cheese toast, and ended with hyperspace snow. Do you know what hyperspace snow is? It’s when you’re driving and the snow is coming at you so thick and fast and sideways that it looks like what happened when they made the jump to hyperspace in Star Wars.

My windshield does not look like this. But the world outside did.

With Snobama last week, they had the snowplows mobilized before the first flakes hit the ground. Everyone was bustling around the CDOT garage when I passed it on the way home. Last night, not only were there no plows (okay, it was a little early to plow), but there were no sand trucks, and the roads were really slick.

Still it was cozy to be home, albeit around 9:00 pm after a too-long day at works. I was guardedly optimistic about being able to work from home today, but alas, the company was open, and my computer, which I brought home with me, was acting like a high schooler refusing to get out of bed in the morning. I kept poking it to try to make it wake up. It would flash me a look, grunt, and go back to sleep. After 20 minutes on the phone with the Help Desk, I gave up the ghost and decided to go into the office.

The windshield wipers worked this morning, and the snow, while deepish, wasn’t bad to scrape off the truck. Though even saying that I scraped snow off the truck inspires a fresh wave of nausea.  I think someone needs to remind me why I live here.

They said on the TV that the buses were running 15 minutes late, which is fine to say that on the TV, but if no one tells the buses that, then you can’t risk showing up for your bus 15 minutes late, because chances are, it wasn’t. Although this time, it was. In fact, it was 40 minutes late. So rather than sit in my puffing car, tempting carbon monoxide poisoning, I stood in the freezing cold for 40 minutes. This bus stop has no benches and a shelter that consists of a three-sided, metal, open-grill enclosure, which offers no shelter from the storm. By the time the bus decided to arrive (maybe it was acting like a teenager too), I couldn’t feel my toes, and any semblance of revelling in the lovely twinkling snowflakes was gone with the bitterly cold wind.

While I was standing there, trying not to be cold, I decided that if I’m going to count the winter storms, I might as well name them, just like they do hurricanes, except not quite so traditional. Already helped along in this mission by Denver’s creative masses, we had a name for our first storm. Now it’s up to me to label this one. And we’re expecting a third storm on Saturday that some say will be worse than this, while others say it will merely be a few droplets of chilly camel spit.

I realized also that, as a new homeowner, I probably am supposed to be shovelling my sidewalk.  They have kind of a Snowy Sidewalk Nazi mentality in certain parts of the County, and have been known to throw little old ladies in jail with hardened criminals for violating the “keep your sidewalk free from snow” laws.  I don’t know the general attitude of MY town towards this, but I noticed an awful lot of clean sidewalks on my drive to the bus stop.  Which means that I need to get a snow shovel. And a younger back. I wonder if there’s a place I could pick up both? And a million dollars? And my house in the tropics?  Sounds like I’m looking for “All-Mart”.

Now, I’m grudgingly ensconced in Cubeland, instead of snuggled on the Red Couch, but I am being pleasantly productive. I hope to get home by morning. And I’ll leave you with the beginning of the running list of named winter storms:

1.   Snobama (October 26, 2011)
2.  The Storm of Great Grumpiness (November 2, 2011)

Stay warm, wherever you are. But if you ARE somewhere warm, no gloating, or I’ll be forced to hunt you down and put snow down your back.

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