Archive for the 'Photos' Category

“November came down…”


“November came down, skies like dark slate, winds bitter.” — John Jakes.


More sky drama.


The sky is a drama queen.

Dear Wednesday,

It looks like fall is finally peeking around the corner and cooling things down here. All last week, it was unseasonably warm, which I should say, isn’t really all that bad here compared to back east. The sun is strong, yes, and you feel the heat if you’re not in the shade, but it’s a dry heat, which is far more comfortable than those 90% humidity kind of late summer days you get back by you. Here, if it’s hot, you just stay in the shade, or go up higher into the mountains where it’s cooler. And no matter how hot the day, once the sun goes down, the breeze picks up and things cool down considerably.

The one thing this new house doesn’t have is central air conditioning, which would be a deal breaker back east, but here, it’s manageable. We keep the shades drawn against the sun during the day, and then open the windows to sleep. The house cools down over night with only a few fans running in the windows. The other night, we could hear coyotes howling somewhere close in the hills, through said open windows. It added an little extra chill to the evening, you might say. On Sunday morning, I saw a lone one trotting through a field on my way home from dropping E. at choir practice. Pretty wild.

But still, once you get to the end of September, it’s hard not to be impatient with the heat, so I was glad to see that the forecast was going to shift into cooler 60-degree days. Of course, to make that happen, we had to have one hell of a thunderstorm, which finally arrived on Monday afternoon just as I was driving to pick up the girls from Conservatory. Within ten minutes most of the streets downtown were flooded, and visibility was practically nil. Ugh. I made it, though, and the rain let up long enough for us to make the 20 or so miles up the highway to home. We saw quite a few nasty accidents in the clean up stage, including one flipped VW bug, which upset A. to no end. Once we got home, the sky opened up again, and dumped another ocean down onto us, but we were safe home by then, and once that storm blew away, the air was cool and crisping and finally it felt like fall. The cool weather has held all week, and it feels damned good.

Speaking of the sky, I have to say that around here, she’s one hell of a drama queen. Today, we stayed home and got a good chunk of school work done. Around mid-afternoon I drove down to the store for meatloaf fixin’s, and when I finished my shopping and came out to my car, the sky looked like this:


The darkest part is, of course, pretty much exactly where my house is. I was only in the store 15 minutes. 20 tops. And when I went in, the day was bright and clear. I guess she felt like no one was paying enough attention to her, because for the rest of the afternoon, she was all dark and moody-like.


I snapped a few pictures when I could as I drove home.


This one is my favorite, I think:


And the funny thing is, in the end, it never even rained. The clouds eventually just blew through and away and now the sun is out again, and the air is still cool. I guess the sky just needed someone to notice her.

She’s such a drama queen, isn’t she?

Well, look at that. I got all the way through this post without moaning about how homesick I am. But you know that I still miss you terribly.


Trying something new.


Both girls have been itching to try archery for quite a while now,  and serendipitously enough, some of our new friends clued us in to a school not too far away, and very reasonably-priced.  Another bonus: the family who runs the school home schooled all their kids.

Best and most interesting of all: both girls say that this is an incredibly relaxing sport.

How we ended our summer vacation.

Not that it’s been much of a vacation, mind you, what with all this moving back across the country and all the difficult moments entailed therein. But all summer seasons do eventually draw to a close (some sooner than others), and here in Colorado, most schools have either already started or will start tomorrow, so we will do the same.

Today, by luck of the draw, we spent our last day of official summer vacation up in Denver at Coors Field, taking in a baseball game. RegularDad’s company hosted a bit of a party for all of us relocated folks, and sprung not just for the tickets, but for a nice lunch before game time. So, we drove up nice and early, and oddly enough, we ended up parking in the same parking deck I used to park in when I worked in downtown Denver many, many years ago, when I was younger, newly married, and RegularDad wasn’t even in the satellite business yet. It was a little bit freaky to tell the girls, “yep, I used to park right here and walk on in that building there. Every day.”

Everything looked exactly the same, and I knew exactly how to get to Coors Field, so I led the way. It wasn’t too hard. You just had to follow all the people wearing purple. Large crowds were already heading toward the field, which we thought was strange, since we were going a couple of hours early for a lunch. Even with the short walk to the stadium, we ended up standing in a long, long line to get inside.


“Don’t tell me ALL these people were relocated!” I said to RegularDad.

“No,” he said, “but I think they’re retiring someone’s jersey today, and they’re giving away shirts or something, so I bet a lot of people are trying to get here early to get one.”

(It turned out to be Todd Helton’s jersey: No. 17. It was a lovely ceremony, and the unexpected thunderstorm held off until after it was all done.)

So we waited in line, patiently, the sun beating down on us…


and eventually we shuffled far enough inside that we were in the shade where it was still hot but much more comfortable. You remember quite quickly how strong the sun can be up here a mile closer to it. Ugh. Hats, shades and sunscreen are a must. After about ten more minutes of just shuffling along in a crowd that reminded me of trying to get through Times Square on the day they were lighting the Christmas tree, we got up to where they were giving out the freebies. They weren’t shirts; they were Todd Helton bobble-heads.


We’ve got four of these bad boys now. I have no idea what we’ll DO with them, but we’ve got ’em. I’m not quite sure what he’s dressed up as: Robin Hood? A park ranger? Maybe he’s just gone fishin’? But there he is in all his bobble-headed glory.

The lunch that RegularDad’s company hosted for us was just your basic baseball food: burgers and hotdogs, with chips and watermelon. And drinks of course. We stuck mostly to water, considering how hot it was, and we were glad to have gotten seats in the shade. We ate and chatted with some of the people we knew from Pennsylvania. It’s so weird to see all these people out here instead of back east. We went to a house warming party for one of RegularDad’s friends the night before, and at one point, we were all sitting around this guy’s kitchen table, swapping horror stories of Dealing With The Relocation People, and How Many Days Was YOUR Stuff Delayed, and all that, and then we got kinda quiet for a minute, just looking around at each other, like, “Jesus, how’d we all end up out here together???”

But after we’d all eaten, the Big Bosses got up and gave very nice (and mercifully short) speeches, thanking all of us for making the move out, and I have to say, it was nice to hear them actually say it, because, Oh My Freekin’ GAWD, it’s been a hell of a difficult summer. To hear them all say, Thanks, we know this is hard, but here: have a day at Coors Field on us, and welcome to Colorado. By the way, the pizza is just awful and there’s no scrapple to be had anywhere, but hey, thanks for coming. 

Yeah, it helped at bit.

After the speeches, we went back up into the stands and found our seats, and they were actually pretty damn good. We watched the ceremony retiring No. 17, and then the game started up, and maybe ten minutes after the first pitch, we all had to run for cover because the Zero Percent chance of rain for the day turned into a deluge complete with dangerous lightning. But that’s okay, because ten minutes after that the sun came back out and we grabbed a stack of napkins from a concession stand to dry off our seats and went back to watch the game a while.


A few innings in, my 11-year-old said, to no one in particular, “This is cool. I mean, moving sucks and all, but this… this right here… is pretty darn cool.”

And it was.


Thus ends our summer vacation that wasn’t much of a vacation at all. Not a bad way to close it out, I’d say.

Ten Days and Counting.

Ten days left until we all board a plane for Colorado.

The movers arrive on Monday. They’ll take two days to pack this house, and one day to load it. Then they’ll start driving west and meet us there in about a week’s time. I am continually grateful not to actually have to pack. But experience has taught me that movers will PACK EVERYTHING. Including any of your trash. They can’t make any assumptions about what you may or may not want to keep, so they just pack whatever they find and send it along for you to deal with later.

Back when we moved here seven years ago, I occasionally opened a box that was filled with nothing but trash. One box contained only a bunch of styrofoam blocks that once protected some new computer we’d bought way back when. Another, from my office closet apparently, held a full trash bag I must have forgotten to throw out at some point. Inside the bag were quite a few empty cigarette packages from when I used to smoke. At least there weren’t any ashes. Ick.

So, armed as I am with the knowledge that the movers will pack EVERYTHING, I’ve been spending as much time as possible going through cabinets and closets, tossing what needs tossing, donating what needs donating. Yesterday, the girls and I went through the DREADED COAT CLOSET. For such a small space, it sure did hold a lot of junk: mostly outgrown winter wear and sports gear. For about two hours, the chaos that is my normal living room reached higher and higher levels of disorganization as we sorted through the unbelievably overwhelming amout of CRAP that’s been collecting in there for the past six years.

Peppered in with all that junk, though, were dozens of pairs of outgrown shoes, along with an extra dozen or so shoes that couldn’t find their matches. We started lining up all these shoes and boots, and the line stretched across the room towards the back door. We exclaimed over the littlest ones, and each girl stole an old tiny favorite pair to keep as a memory, hurrying up to their rooms to hide them away. In the interest of being able to walk around in the house, we designated the back half of the dining room as the Shoe Recovery Area:


All these shoes have a story behind them. That lone black flip flop in the front center, for instance, lost its mate to a friend’s puppy last summer, when said puppy stole it and chewed it up. My younger daughter came home wearing only one shoe, but giggling the whole way. That black boot-ish looking thing all the way in the back at the top right is actually a walking cast my older daughter wore for half of one summer when she damaged some ligaments jumping barefoot off the swings CONSTANTLY for weeks on end.

And there there are the little pink princess crocs:


See them there behind the white dress flats my daughter wore to her first communion? It’s not that there’s a really cool story behind them, but I had just been reminiscing about these little shoes with a blogging friend of mine last week, and then suddenly, there they were in the closet. My younger daughter wore them all summer long a few summers back, along with a little red dress and white hat we’d found at the thrift store. Now she’s almost as tall as me, and I’m not sure where that little red dress ended up. But here’s how she looked back then:


And here is a close up of her feet in those little pink princess crocs:


We were jumping rope on the back porch that afternoon, and the rule was: you couldn’t land on the bunny. No matter what. Look how close she came. Those were good days. Good Pennsylvania days.

So, yeah. Yesterday I cleaned out my coat closet.

I may never recover from it.



Post-Rainstorm Backyard Drama.


MR. MALLARD: Good morning, dearest. Isn’t it lovely that the rain has finally stopped?

MRS. MALLARD: Yes, it most certainly is a glorious morning, if not a little overcast.


MR. MALLARD: Would you care to join me for a morning dip in this most glorious, private little pond?

MRS. MALLARD: Of course, darling. But first, I must do my stretches.


MR. MALLARD: Of course, dearest. Take all the time you need.

MRS. MALLARD: Thank you most kindly, darling. You should join me, you know. Remember what the doctor advised.

MR. MALLARD: Yes, I remember, dearest. You are so kind to think of my health.


MRS. MALLARD: It’s only because of my most deep affection for you, darling. Now, doesn’t that feel better?

MR. MALLARD: Yes, very much. Are you ready for our dip, dearest?

MRS. MALLARD: Yes, I’m so very looking forward to it… but wait… what’s THAT?


MR. MALLARD: What, my dearest? What troubles you?



MR. MALLARD: Oh yes, that’s the dog that lives nearby. Don’t trouble yourself one moment about him, dearest. All he ever chases is that yellow ball that makes such a dreadful squeak.

MRS. MALLARD: Are you certain, darling?

MR. MALLARD: Quite certain, my dear. See how he’s looking for it right now? He won’t trouble us at all.


MRS. MALLARD: Well… I suppose you’re right.

MR. MALLARD: Of course I’m right, dearest. Now, let us enjoy our morning swim.

MRS. MALLARD: I don’t know, darling…. Isn’t there also another dog that lives near here?


MR. MALLARD: Well, yes, but you know she never leaves the porch when it rains. I doubt she will bother us in all this wet.

MRS. MALLARD: But darling… don’t you see? The rain has… STOPPED!

MR. MALLARD: Yes, that’s tr——



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