Wintertime in the Rockies

My daughter and I drove to Utah today, about halfway to California.

The past two days on the Front Range have been all about rain. It was a good thing, because they haven’t had much rain in the last month or so. Of course, Mother Nature waited until I drove into town to throw down a monsoon.

When we left this morning, it was cold and still raining steadily. I haven’t seen this kind of rain since we were in NorCal over a Christmas a couple of years ago. That’s when the Napa River flooded the day after we left. It’s usually dry in Colorado, rain normally is an afternoon event, not something lasting three days. I saw four roll-over accidents on the interstate before we drove out of the city limits.

As we took the freeway through the mountains west of Denver, we were shocked to see snow! It was a light dusting, but enough to clog the freeway and cause it to shut down for twenty minutes while the snow plows made a pass just east of the Eisenhower Tunnel.

When we got out of the car on the other side of the tunnel, we weren’t the only ones dazed. The temperature had dropped another twenty degrees, and my daughter and I were shivering in our summer clothes.

The unexpected snowstorm caused me to drive slower than I had expected. We were a few hours behind schedule.

A hundred miles past, on the Western Slope, the temperatures were in the 80s and the sky was blue. Welcome to wintertime in the Rockies.





winter is slowly peeling

her finest clothes off with a sigh

flowers will bend their tender heads

to warm breezes by and by

a winter anniversary–

i threw my heart off the high bridge

nearly three years ago

i laced it up in satin bows and when

the sun sank low

i took it from my pocket

i waved it at the town

i tossed that package overboard and

watched that baby drown

my heart is sailing smooth waters in heart heaven now


winter jumps to greet the spring

and breathes a gentle sigh

hyacinths will blossom soon

‘neath sunlight and blue sky

there’s nothing you can steal from me

ive no love left to take

theres no feeling left that you can harm

no heart left you can break

you send to me your letters

ones unopened in the hall

o youre a poet with no loss for words

still you say nothing at all

theres nothing you can steal from me

ive no love left to hide


the earth turns over in her sleep and moans a wintersigh

The Story: I wrote this in 1978 (and it was published in 1986) after dating a professor at the University of Minnesota. Nothing serious, he went on to teach at Berkeley and I never heard from him again. That is, until last fall, when I found him online and wrote to him. He wrote back and said he remembered me even though it’s been 30 years. The High Bridge is a real bridge over the Mississippi River, in St. Paul. The old High Bridge was like 75 years old and really scary. They have since replaced it. Every time I got depressed and thought I would kill myself, I’d walk on the bridge and think better.

I think I suffered from SAD even back then…

Spring Thaw

It’s 50 and cause for celebration!

As soon as the snow melts, I think I’ll see if my bamboo and grapevines survived the winter.

That Darned Groundhog Was Right!

This is the image out of my front window this morning.

Snow - Yuck!

What a horrible little animal! I wonder if they make good eating?

Major Annoyances vs. Minor Annoyances

I’m feeling rather out of sorts and grumpy today. In my other life, at that other web site, I would have unleashed a rant of monumental proportions about one thing or another. I like ranting. It is in my personality to explode like Mt. Saint Helens and to quickly cool down like snowfall on Florida orange groves. Ranting is a good way to release a bad temper. It’s much better than internalizing your rage and developing an ulcer. Writing about your feelings is more constructive than throwing glassware, kicking the dog or ripping up your Significant Other’s clothing. Those things (and more) I did when angered, back in the day when I was in my early 20s. You can blame an explosive personality on genes or poor upbringing. I guess I could blame mine on both. At the time, I used to do yoga and meditate over an hour a day. I wonder how much more destructive I could have been without it.

Sometime in my late 30s, I gave up when it came to tossing dishes into the fireplace. For one thing, it becomes rather costly to replace all those plates. (Don’t believe Corelle; those dishes can be broken, too.) For another, I had small children then, and it wasn’t a positive influence. Ms. Demonic then grew up. It didn’t happen overnight; oh, no, I’m not a goddess. My change in demeanor came slowly and thoughtfully. Eventually, I didn’t do anything physical when becoming annoyed or angered. The one thing I didn’t lose was my sharp wit and acid tongue. So, yes, now I blow up like a mini-volcano on occasion, usually at the office and sometimes at home.

Today I was thinking of Major Annoyances versus Minor Annoyances. I like to think that all annoyances are temporary obstacles, not anything that will be parked in my garage for long. So the following will be a list of major and minor annoyances.

Major Annoyance: Smelling the same employee who refuses to take a shower more than once a month, even though he’s been spoken to, and we deal with the public. The same employee is a major thorn in my side. He’s what I would call Mr. Demonic’s “bitch,” i.e., he follows Mr. Demonic around and does whatever he tells him to do. The guy is a liar and a cheat and once owed us $10K. He’s also a bigot and told me where to go on many occasions. I only put up with him because we’re the beneficiaries of his life insurance, oh, and because Mr. Demonic likes him.

Minor Annoyance: An employee who comes in ten minutes late every day. The other employee, meanwhile, is getting majorly annoyed. Hmm… Maybe I should rethink this minor annoyance and put it on the major pedestal.

Major Annoyance: Wintertime. I suffer from SAD and I’m more depressed this time of year. I need sunshine; I crave it like a big fat kitty cat. I hate snow, but I hate cold worse. I’d rather have a foot of snow with 40 degree weather. There’s only one place on earth where you can get that, and it’s not where we live.

Minor Annoyance: Heat. Since I like summertime, I don’t care if it’s 102 and humid. It’s a hundred times better than winter.

Major Annoyance: No sex at all.

Minor Annoyance: Not enough sex.

Major Annoyance: Being called into the office of your child’s principal when he stabbed someone with a pencil. This is especially annoying when you have to drive forty miles to get there, and the other kid taunted him. When you get your kid into the car, you want to kill both him and Mr. Demonic.

Minor Annoyance: Being called into the office of your child’s principal when he said the “S” word. Like he didn’t learn that at school? I didn’t start swearing in front of my kids until a couple of years ago. This happened when the kid was in first grade!

Major Annoyance: Standing in a checkout line when you have a temperature of 105 and feel like throwing up, and the line isn’t moving. Or, standing in the same line right after you’ve had a spat with the spouse and want to cry or kill someone.

Minor Annoyance: Teaching someone obviously not from this country to use the U-Scan so you can get the f*** out of the store before the sun sets in three hours.

I could go on and on, but I don’t think I will. I think I’ll read a book, and if that doesn’t help my mood, try to think of only the minor annoyances.

Captured Under a Dome of Gray

A winter ice storm just barely missed us, and for this I am thankful. There was only a thin coating on my sidewalk and car. I do not winter easily, especially here. It seems that in the process of aging, my bones are getting more and more brittle and my tolerance for cold is less and less.

And now a dome of gray has captured us. Like bugs trapped under the glass, we are powerless to move beyond our sphere. This shade of gray, like the underside of a tabby, like a blanket of wool, envelops and surrounds. It numbs the senses, and makes us lethargic. Nap time beckons, but we cannot answer the call. We are kept just barely alive by the glow of florescent lighting.

When spring returns, we will be thin and spindley like plants that have not received enough sunshine. Outside the dome of gray, we will finally blossom.

I can hardly wait.

A Layer of Fog Makes Me Lazy

It snowed last night after an enormous wind and bit of a chill; big, wet and fluffy flakes danced to the earth in the midnight calm. “They” (those meteorologists-who gave them a license to be wrong all the time?) said we could possibly get three to six inches of snow and that news sent the entire area into a panic, but instead we only received a dusting. This morning the temperature warmed to 40 degrees, and now we are covered in a layer of fog as well as a coating of snow.

Since the sky, the houses, and the streets have melted into a canvas of varying shades of gray, my ambition has lost color as well.

I think I will lay in bed, a heating pad on my back, and invite the Space Cadet Kitten to join me under the down.