The passage of time.

I know.  My bittersweet sentiments are nothing new.  I write about this every fall.

I get melancholy that another year is coming to a close, made more obvious by the changing angle of the sun, the dropping of the ambient air temperature, the formation of little ice crystals on the ground cover.  Yes, also made obvious in a thousand shades of gold, orange and red splattered across the hillsides and in our own backyard.

I’ve written about my desire to slow it all down, questioning how life can seem to rush by, at ever dizzying speeds.  I’ve railed against the onward march of all things.

And then I sit quietly in the moment and practice acceptance.

Acceptance of all things.

Acceptance of another year coming to a close.  Yes, it’s only October.  And yes, there are still a couple of months left in this year.  But we are on the down side of 2016, spinning ever closer to 2017.

Acceptance that our summer was not the summer we thought it was going to be.  Our summers are historically short, and when fires interfere and evacuations take place, the already truncated season is even more so.  Followed by a stint in the tractor out in the hayfield (more on that to follow) and all of a sudden, bam!  There was Labor Day Weekend.  And full-blown fall at our house.

Acceptance of the fact that my little girl is growing up.  I wrote about this summer when we both experienced her first overnight away from home.  (That night nearly laid me flat.  Luckily my mother answered the phone and helped me to remember to breathe.)

I’ve written about the various discussions we’ve had as she navigates this world–political, cultural, societal.  All discussions that demonstrate her evolving mind, her intellectual growth, her march onward into becoming the beautiful body and soul that she is capable of being.

I am sitting at the library while she is downstairs for a program on “Owls and other nocturnal animals” put on by a Steamboat organization called My Book Trails.  ( It’s a chance for her to meet other children her age and interact with them and the adults in charge.  She would also tell you it’s a great day because she doesn’t have to do her math lessons.

Today, though, I am overcome by nostalgia.  I have just watched a woman and a young girl–her daughter?–as they walk across the little foot bridge outside the library.  The woman is pushing a stroller and the little girl is lagging behind.  The woman stops the stroller and turns to the little girl, who runs into her arms, giggling.  The woman picks her up and swings her high into the air, laughing herself.  They hug.  And I look away, trying not to cry.

I miss my baby.  I miss the feeling of her smooth baby skin, the smell of her baby-ness.  I miss the screeching when she knew it made me laugh so hard I was crying.  Cause then she’d just keep going.  I miss the first time she reached up to touch my face.  I miss the feel of her in my arms, and over my shoulder.  I never, ever wanted to forget the sounds and smells and feel of her as a baby.  The memories are fading and I have to reach deeply to retrieve them.

I miss my little toddler.  I miss the little girl in the Belle dress signing the sign for “milk” to me, clucking the “lk” sound at the end of the word.  I miss the little girl telling me it’s Ba-rock O-bom-a on the television, with a little squeal at the end.  I miss the answer of “Joe Bi-den” when asked who Barack Obama works with.  I miss the 3 1/2-year-old who we took to Disneyland and who thought she was meeting the REAL Sleeping Beauty/Aurora.  Who very carefully and gently placed her hand on the princess’s face to feel if she was real or not.  I miss my 4-year-old  as we hiked up to the Eagle Catch for the first time, me worried she’d fall down the steep side and wondering what on earth possessed me to take her up there.  Her clambering to move faster.  I miss my 6-year-old  who exclaimed “MOM!  Can we do that again????” after we landed after paragliding off of the top of the mountain in Jackson Hole.  (No, we could not do that again…it broke the bank the one time.)  I miss the 6-year-old  who wore her Merida costume, complete with red wig and bow and arrows for 3 days at Disneyland, proudly playing the part.  I miss the 7-year-old as she bravely vanquished Darth Vader with a light saber at the Jedi Training Academy the next year in Disneyland.   I miss the little girl in the blue snowsuit falling backwards into the snow by the driveway, giggling.  I miss the little girl, valiantly learning to stand up on her cross-country skis as we skied down the driveway.  And the little girl in the black snowsuit in front of me as we sledded down the hill.  Now she goes herself and insists on her own sled.

There is so much else I miss.

But this I know:

I love my 9 1/2-year-old daughter with a passion that brings tears to my eyes.  I love her bright, inquisitive mind.  I love her curiosity.  I love her vocabulary that has me constantly on my toes.  I love her stubbornness as we butt heads on a daily basis.  I love her passion for things she believes in.

I would not trade the present for a day in the past.  I would not give up today for anything.  I would not change where we are now.




I just want more time.

Blessing be.




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National Coffee Day! Woo hoo hoo hoo hooooooooo. (That’s Tigger after a cup o’Joe.)

I LOVE this day.  What’s not to love?  Coffee, coffee, coffee.

The elixir of life.  My ambrosia.  (Vocabulary word for the munchikin.  Score a point for me.)

Where would I be without coffee?  I can’t even imagine.  And before anyone starts thinking I’m an addict, let me set the record straight.


There.  Got it out there, now we can move on.  I figure there could be worse vices, right?  I mean, I could be hooked on silly television shows that take place in alternate realities such as ones in which people don’t really die but walk around eating other people until someone stabs them in the brain.  Or ones in which there is a really big wall trying to keep out the ones that come back to life (Wildlings) and dealing with neverending coldness (Winter is coming).

So, my coffee addiction pales in comparison.  Right?

In fact, I’m enjoying a cup right now.  This morning’s flavor?  Harry & David’s Moose Munch.  Delectable.

This would be a good place to plug one of my favorite companies!

Green Beans Coffee and their Cup of Joe for a Joe program

So easy!  Donate moolah and they’ll make sure service members stationed far from home get a much needed (and SO deserved) cup of coffee!

Then, sometimes, you get email replies from grateful soldiers.  Their sacrifices are so large, it seems this is a small way for me to express gratitude.

Blessings be.

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White male privilege takes a beating. OR Little black boys and little white girls.

I usually have some difficulty trying to find a title for my posts.  I can’t seem to find the words or something inane like that.

But this morning (very, very early this morning) I had a voluminous amount of lexicon floating around up there.  Banging the insides of my cranium, pounding and pounding, relentlessly.  Until I threw in the towel and climbed out of bed.  I made some coffee (which is now gone and must be replenished with a new pot), did some meditative work, perused the news sites and finally decided to commit the words to paper.  So to speak.  Or so to write.

The words “white male privilege” have been something that have been circling for some time.  I don’t want to get on my feminist soapbox.  I don’t want to sound as if I don’t appreciate the male half of our species.  I work very hard to make sure my darling daughter knows just how much we need our Superman around here.  I impress upon her the differences between the genders and why they are important to our survival.  That without the yang we couldn’t have the yin.  Without the father there would be no mother.  Without Superman, we wouldn’t have Wonder Woman.  And vice versa.  (Yes, I’m the Wonder Woman of the house.)



On the other hand.

There is no denying the simple fact that this is a patriarchal society and white male privilege is a thing.

A real thing.

And has been for a long time.

Sunday night on my drive home from work I was able to catch a portion of a radio show about storytelling.  The first story I listened to was about a little black boy whose family had just moved to rural Minnesota (I think it was Minnesota, may have been Michigan…an M state nonetheless).  He was so excited to catch the bus for his first day at the new school.  He had his Scooby Doo lunchbox ready to go.  The bus arrived.  The door opened.  The cacophony from inside was overwhelming.  The little black boy stepped up and entered the bus.  The silence was deafening.

None of the children had ever seen a little black boy before.  As the little black boy started walking down the aisle looking for a seat, he began to realize what was happening.  Every seat he passed that was empty…the little white boy sitting there spit in the empty spot.  Until the little black boy got to the back of the bus, where a little white girl was sitting.  He looked at her.  She looked at him.  And moved her backpack so he could sit down.

The story continued and ended with this: one day the little white girl got on the bus, after doing her chores cleaning out the henhouse, but not being able to clean up due to the frozen pipes and no water in the house.  All of the little white boys started making fun of her, because of the smell.  She walked to the back of the bus.  The little black boy moved his backpack.  And she sat down.

White male privilege.

It starts early.

Last night, on a debate stage, broadcast to 100 million people (estimates by the people who do the estimating), white male privilege was on full display.

It has been a recurring theme through this entire campaign.  Way back even in the primary days.  If you can remember that far back.  This campaign has seemed as if it has gone on forever.  Forever.

Back to my point.  The recurring theme of white male privilege.  Hillary Rodham Clinton has been criticized because she didn’t smile enough.  Meaning she was/is a b-i-t-c-h.  Gasp.  Last night, she was criticized for smiling as if “she was at her granddaughter’s birthday party.”  Really.  Here’s looking at you @DavidFrum


Who told Hillary Clinton to keep smiling like she’s at her granddaughter’s birthday party?

— David Frum (@davidfrum) September 27, 2016//

(I just tried to embed the tweet I’m referencing.  Apologies if it’s gobbledygook.)

“Why isn’t she smiling?  Why is she smiling so much?  What’s up with her hair?  Why does she wear pantsuits?”

Have you heard one thing similar to the above leveled at any of the men since this long slog began?

No?  Didn’t think so.

Mr. Trump interrupted Secretary Clinton 25 times in the first 26 minutes during last night’s debate.  That’s just the first 26 minutes.  The debate lasted 90 minutes.  The counters stopped counting.

Matt Lauer at the CIC forum a couple of weeks ago interrupted Secretary Clinton all night long.  Nada with Mr. Trump.  Nothing.

Follow this up with the hubris of white men thinking they have the right to publicly shame women over their bodies is simply head-shaking, face-palming, jaw-dropping unbelievable.  See Alicia Mechado, Miss Universe from Venezuela, that Mr. Trump felt the need to denigrate publicly over and over and over again.  But don’t take my word for it.  Go watch the video.  HRC’s campaign has a new ad detailing everything Ms. Mechado endured from that man.  Shameful.

And now he’s crying on Fox News about how the woman really did gain a lot of weight and she was such a problem.

Perhaps one might point out to Mr. Trump that his body shape is not exactly svelte.  And he would actually be put into the obese category.  I’m just sayin.  But then again, white male privilege.  We don’t denigrate men for being overweight, pudgy, bitchy, not smiley enough, too smiley enough.

Don’t even get me started on the whole “stamina” thing.  Secretary Clinton had a perfect response to that ridiculousness last night.  When Donald Trump sits through 11 hours of testimony before a congressional hearing, then he can talk to her about stamina.

Dan Rather had an interesting take on the word stamina as it relates to women.

— Dan Rather (@DanRather)″>September 27,

“Stamina is just a codeword for weakness…that women have been hearing for too long.”

Yep.  What he said.  Thank you Dan Rather.

Little black boys and little white girls.

(The story I listened to was by Glynn Washington on his public radio show Snap Judgement   I highly suggest finding it.)


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Apologies for dropping the ball. So to speak.

I do apologize for the few loyal readers who find their way to this, lately, lonely space.

It was a whirlwind of a summer and we’ve just been trying to get back to normal.

First, we are safe and sound in our cherished home.  I wrote (back in July) of “a fire.”  That fire, the Beaver Creek Fire, crept closer and closer, finally rearing its head at our doorstep. Perhaps I shouldn’t take such literary license there.  It was not at our doorstep, but it was certainly close.  As in within 50 yards in some places.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  We were visited by a person from the fire on Thursday morning, July 28.  Then a fire engine with crew members later that day.  A Chinook helicopter flew over the house all afternoon, taking water from the Platte River to Parsons Draw.  We happened to be in the flight path.  Right in the flight path.

Friday morning a second engine and crew arrived.  The firefighters laid hose and sprinklers and began soaking the house.

Saturday morning, July 30, we were told at 7:30 am we needed to be out by that night so they could wrap the house!  Tears.  Panic.  Then calm and determination to get started on an evacuation.

I was going to write a long post detailing the events as they unfolded.  And I’d still like to do that.  (Complete with pictures.)  So I’ll stop now with the play-by-play account.

We left.  The fire came.  The firefighters successfully defended our home and its surrounding area.  Lots of firefighters.  Lots of good decisions.  Lots of care for our home.

We were allowed back in mid-August.  We were very, very worried about what we would find.  To our delight and unbelievable surprise, we came back to so much green!  To be sure, the drive in is not pretty.  And the evidence of this massive fire is all around us.  Independence Mountain is not the same and certainly will not be for a very long time.  But once you descend the last little hill into our slice of paradise, one is hard pressed to determine there was a fire.  The only evidence is the cleared slope outside my bedroom window.  There are trees left (it certainly does not look like the Lorax’s home) but it has obviously been picked clean.

So, to recap, we are good.  Our peaceful abode is good.  We still watch the sky for smoke plumes.  One was going yesterday so we walked up the hill on our north for a better vantage point.  The plume is closer than I would like, about 250 to 300 yards to the west of us.  We met an engine and crew that was out patrolling.  They assured me they “have eyes on it” and that at the moment, it’s not close to the line, it’s burning in the black, and we should be fine.

I tried not to roll my eyes.  (I will admit, I have done that once or twice since the beginning of this fire.  More details on that later.)

I know it was a Red Flag Day yesterday.  I know it’s “burning in the black.”  I know this is expected behavior from this fire.  I know it will continue to behave this way until we get a season ending event (better known as S-N-O-W).




It’s near my home.  My home is no longer protected by a multitude of “scruffy angels” watching over it in their green and yellow uniforms.  There are no hoses, no sprinklers, no Chinooks flying overhead, no portable tanks of water set up.  So.


Until we get that season-ending event, until I know for a fact there will be no smoking or smoldering or burning or torching, until there is no possibility of flying embers, I will worry.  And I will continue to chase down engines/crews I see driving around.  I will continue to call Incident Command and proceed to tell the PIOs answering the phone that I don’t need the song-and-dance routine about the high fire day, the wind, the burning in the black, etc, etc, etc…and will they please connect me with someone in Operations, now.

For the moment, we are good.  Our peaceful home is good.  And we are more grateful than there are words available to express that gratitude.

Blessings be on you and yours on this gorgeous September day.



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Perhaps a bit soon to comment, but what the heck, here I go.

This just in:

The GOP has decided to include in their 2016 party platform the following items:

~gay people are bad and anti-gay conversion therapy is good

~pornography is a “public health crisis” and is bad, bad, bad

~prairie chickens and sage grouse should NOT be on the endangered species list (yes, this is a plank of the platform)

~traditional marriage (or, if you’re stuck in the Dark Ages, then “man marries woman” kind of marriage) is the only way to go

~but “no-fault divorces” are good

~teaching the Bible (that would be THE Bible, as in Christianity in all of its glory) as literature curriculum and electives in high school should be encouraged by state legislators

~bathrooms for everyone are bad, should remain anti-transgender

~coal, coal, coal

I have to stop here, because my brain is being infected by the asinine asininity and I’m starting to hallucinate.

Could be the smoke, but I’ll go with the asinine GOP.

So all of the above has made it thus far into the GOP 2016 party platform.


Porn and gay people, bad.

Guns?  Not so much.

Pornography is a “public health crisis” of EPIC (my hyperbole, snark) proportions and MUST be addressed in something so sanctified as the party platform.  But guns?  MEH.

Just meh.

Cause more people die as a result of pornography than guns.

Got it.

Time for some brain bleach.

Or I’ll just step outside and breath the smoke-filled air.  That should clear it up real quick.

Blessings be.  May the Goddess help us all.


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So…there’s this fire…

We knew this was a possibility.  If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’ll know I post frequently about being grateful for every last snowflake and every drop of rain.  How my biggest fear, and realized possibility, is a forest fire in our “backyard.”

And so here it is.  Now.  On the mountain behind us.  It’s difficult to explain exactly where we live.  I had to drag (nicely, of course) the Jackson County sheriff over to the map on the wall, at the Community Meeting last Tuesday night, and point out our precise location.  I then attempted to get a confirmation from said sheriff that we would, in fact, be included in any notices going out to the Parsons Draw area for voluntary/mandatory evacuations should the fire breach the two contingency lines.

It did.  And we didn’t.  Luckily we have an inside track on firefighter/emergency medical personnel communications and the dear husband was alerted to the voluntary evacuation order sent out yesterday afternoon.  As well, we’ve made a new friend in the Parsons Draw area (natural disasters will do that…bring people together) who also called to let me know what was going on.

As if the gigantic, enormous, humongous black smoke plume that I saw framed over the apartment/garage wasn’t enough to let me know that perhaps things weren’t going so well up there as they had been.

I don’t even know where to start.  There’s so much tumbling around up there.  I’ve got the “go-bags” packed and they’ve been ready to go since the fire started (June 19th).  Not a problem there.  I do keep adding to the pile, occasionally.  As I find something, or remember something that would not be able to be replaced.  I’ll need to stop soon though, as there may be no room for the dogs.  And they trump all the rest. (I should really stop using that word, as forevermore it will be associated with an orange buffoon, aka CheetoJesus.)

Anyway.  I’ve been told varying things by the Men-in-my-Life-that-are-in-the-Know.  In one conversation alone “just take what we can’t replace and that can be loaded in 5 minutes” to “I’m thinking we could get the house packed up and loaded on trailers in a day.”


Repeated by another man this morning, who is our eyes and ears in the field.  I think he was trying to be both reassuring (as in “you’ll be fine”)– to have your valuables and irreplaceable items ready to go–to we’ll all help you pack everything up and take it away.

I told the dear husband, actually several times now, I’m taking my cues from him as to whether or not to be worried.  Whether or not to escalate to DEFCON 5 or stay at 2 or 3.  He just looks at me blankly.  He’s all over the board.  One minute he’s talking about packing the entire house up.  The next he’s telling me, in that exasperated voice with a raised eyebrow/eyeroll, to not worry.  That there’s a 10% chance it will get here in 12 days.

What evs.

It’s fire.  Noone knows what it’s going to do.  Least of all itself.  Mother Nature doesn’t even know.  She’s so confused right now with all the craziness in the world that she doesn’t know which way is up, or north, for that matter.  Too hot and dry in one place….many, big fires.  Too cold and wet in another…massive hurricanes and storms.  She’s busy right now and can’t be bothered by little ol’ me wanting to know if I should pack all the books or not.

It’s a Red Flag Warning day today.  It was dead calm a couple of hours ago, but the winds are picking up.  The fire is fueling to the east (that’s toward us) and to the northeast (toward Parsons Draw).  Hot, dry and windy.  Ideal conditions.  Throw in a few hundred thousand standing, dead beetle-killed trees and we’ve got some scary hours ahead of us.

I’ve spent many, many hours on the inciweb these last 3 weeks now.  Good Goddess…three weeks.  I want information.  I want numbers.  I want maps.  I want data.  I pinned the Operations Leader down last Tuesday night and asked him what were the chances it would reach us.  He hemmed and hawed a bit, looked at my husband (as if my husband was going to bail him out..which he didn’t…and which there were probably some eyerolls involved by the way) and finally stumbled over some words.  He eventually said “computer model” and I pounced.  I said “Yes.  Numbers are good.  Give me numbers.  Data is good.  Computer models are golden.”  I seriously think he was wondering how my dear husband survives. (Men.)  He finally spit out “10% in 14 days with the most extreme weather conditions.”

That was on Tuesday.  That was 5 days ago.  I’ve got 9 days to go.  The weather is extreme right now.  It grew 1000 acres yesterday and breached their contingency lines.  If it gets on top of the ridge, it will shoot down the ridge and be at my back door.  I’m not stupid.  (Gold stars to anyone who can name that line from a Tony-winning, sold-out-until-2017 musical.)  {OK, I’m just going to give it to you:  Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr upon meeting him: “He said I was stupid.  I’m not stupid.”}  ({A serious sign I’ve been listening to Hamilton too much if I’m now quoting it randomly.})

Wind is picking up here.  I need to take a look out yonder and do a once-over through the house.

Life in the forest.  We’re not stupid.

Blessings be.  On you and yours and all of the firefighting personnel putting their lives in harm’s way.

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Happy Father’s Day to our resident Dad

I wrote a long time ago about our resident dad.  I wrote about how he’s Mr. Man’s Man/Woman’s Man/Everyman/Superman.

And it was written sort of satirically.  But also completely truthfully.

And it was read by others.  And then it was twisted.  By others.  And then it became this hurtful thing, here in our little family.  Which ended up sowing all sorts of discord.  Which I didn’t, and don’t to this day, appreciate.

Mean people suck.  Haters are going to hate.  All that verbiage.

What Evs.

I stand by my initial post about the man we call “Dad” around here.  He is an exemplary fellow.  I remember reading about Paul Bunyan when I was in grade school.  He was a legend, larger than life.  Everything about him was grandiose, on a grand scale.

To be clear, I’m not saying we live with Paul Bunyan.  (And, to be clear, at times, maddening and frustrating might be adjectives I’d reach for.)

But what I tried to articulate many, many moons ago, when I wrote the initial post about the man we live with, was that he truly is a remarkable person.  A remarkable man.

A man for all seasons.

We are so very lucky to share our lives with this man.  He makes our lives better.  He does what he can to light our way.

Thank you Dad-of-our-daughter.  Happy Father’s Day.

Blessings be.

(For your viewing pleasure: our very own Paul Bunyan.)

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