I’m very hesitant to share, but can’t help myself. Lean a bit closer and I’ll whisper my secret.
I know. I know. I’m probably going to jinx myself, but want to hear it anyway?
I thought so.
Here it goes: this first Denver winter? Please. Not bad at all. No need for all wheel drive. I didn’t even buy a snow shovel. And that whole, “Denver has 300-plus days of sunshine!” thing? It is the truth and it saved my butt. I’ve got a bit of a seasonal depression thing. Without enough sunshine, exercise and time outside — things fall into a dark place rather quickly. But Denver? Well. It has been very good to me so far. It is beautiful. The mountains are so close. The people are kind. And the trails are fantastic. I have spent more time outside in my snowshoes or hiking boots in the last few months than I can count.
Mountain life is active, healthy and just plain fun.
And yes, as Mini said last week on the Twitters: All my talking about how much I love living here is like showing off your new (hotter) boyfriend in front of her old (skin cancer prone) boyfriend and all his (douche baggy) friends.
Dear Phoenix, I will always love you. And be back for a visit soon. You are, after all, housing my dearest (non douche baggy) friends.
Now, let’s just hope there isn’t a freak late-March storm that has me locked in my house for a week eating kibble with Nelson. Then again, this might be a route to being bikini ready I hadn’t previously considered…
The color of the Arizona desert is not brown or taupe or saguaro green. Nor prickly pear ruby red, nor eggplant Superstition purple, or even the color of the golden omnipresent sun. It is turquoise. A vibrant series of hues found in backyard swimming pools, jewelery boxes, the canal system around the major cities, wildflowers in March and the early morning sky.
And my new piece of copper art, with a perfect patina:
A friend of mine who I worked with at the health department years ago sent this piece of art my direction this week from Tucson. She’d received a pair from the artist as a gift and would I like it?
Oh, would I.
Turquoise will always remind me of my Grandmother Maxine and the many happy days we have spent together. She too lives in Tucson. I will forever cherish this piece and am so thankful to Tara for sending it my way.
This likely isn’t its permanent home. Yet, I love this little table for the quirky (and off kilter) collection of art that makes me smile. A piece of pottery from Malawi nestled between baskets. An African carving from a friend’s grandmother. A set of South African baskets. A Peruvian woman made of clay, holding a book in one outstretched arm. An iron antlers candelabra made in Colorado. A vintage green handprinted scarf. A framed photo of my lovely elephants. An Irish cross. And now, a piece of my desert.
Thank you, T. It’s simply perfect.
I received an email last week that was good for a giggle. The Denver Zoo sent a cheeky update about their new polar bear — a 12-year-old male named Lee on loan from the Detroit Zoo — and how March-April is mating season. They might have hinted at how their current resident, 10- year-old female Cranbeary, was a bit excited to finally have a buddy. The male and female would be out to play this weekend if anyone wanted to stop by.
One of my happiest childhood memories is from a roadtrip with my mom and brother to Albuquerque when I was in elementary school. (I know. Albuquerque. How exciting. Wait for it.) My mom, recognizing her children were about to go insane if asked to play another car game decided to take us to the zoo. Mind you, the Phoenix Zoo is pretty fantastic. We grew up watching the orangutangs and were 100% madly in love with Ruby the painting elephant. But the ABQ Zoo? Well. They had polar bears, which my brother and I couldn’t believe. Polar bears in New Mexico?! The logistics alone blew our minds. We must have spent an hour watching them swim and play. We were enthralled.
That same enthusiasm was seen en mass this weekend at the Denver Zoo. I’ve never seen two zoo animals so happy and active. They were diving into their pool, playing with their toys and obviously enjoying each other’s company. (Just foreplay people. No hanky polaranky.)
Wading through a sea of strollers and tiny children perched upon their parent’s shoulders for a better view, we all watched, screamed and laughed.
Now, you two. Get to business. Because the only thing cuter than polar bears are baby polar bears.
What’s cuter than a bunch of Denver Zoo mongooses napping together?
(One little girl nearby exclaimed, “Mama! They’re snuggling!”)
A pair nuzzling.
Or perhaps, this one who took after my own heart: the full sunshine napper. Nice tan, little man.
Phew. What a crazy couple of weeks it has been around the Heirloom Homestead. I’ve finished a class on narrative at Lighthouse and have been working steadily on novel #2. I’m in the middle of chapter 14 — what I’d guess is half-way through completion of the novel.
This feels great. More specifically, if feels like my junior year of high school when I was swimming six hours a day trying to make my way on the A relay, feeling my body growing longer and leaner. My mind was sharp, I was incredibly focused and became stronger through regular practice. (Never mind I never swam on that relay. The journey was better than the desired destination.)
Now, I’m meeting with writing groups, participating in writing exercises, editing other authors, reading a lot of writing books and spending more time crafting exactly what I want to say. I found myself in a writer’s group this week describing my first novel as, “not a true showcase of my abilities.” The words tumbled out of my mouth before I felt the weight of that honesty.
I’d doubt other than Ms. Harper Lee, or perhaps Ayn Rand, that any author feels her first work is the best. My second novel has stronger characters, more precise language and an arc I spent six months designing — making sure each twist and turn rang true.
For athletes, I’m at the point in this project that is close to the zone. It still hurts a little if I allow myself to think about it, but it’s mostly pure joy. My happiest time of the week is when I get to sit down, shut out the world, and dive back into my story. My fingers flailing on the keyboard, research pages spread across my desk, photos of Bolivia tacked above my desk, a cup of coffee steaming with refill after precious refill.
Thank you friends, for caring and for your encouragement. Not a week goes by without someone asking how my writing is progressing. Soon, I hope to have the results of the last three years worth of daydreaming in your hands.
I miss this little one finding me each morning for some snuggle time. I don’t miss rolling over on dinosaurs and sharks.
A few photos from my weekend in California with family who is more than a touch photogenic:
(His favorite sock, although he only has one. Because it was actually a sock puppet. But try explaining this to a 4 year old who, “LOVES HIS PUPPY SOCK!”)
I’m spending a few days visiting friends in southern California. In fact, I’m sitting outside at the moment in full sun, arching toward the warmth, feeling my desert skin tingle return to its natural olive. My happy feet dangle in flip flops. A delightfully chilled glass of regional chardonnay, buttery and oaky, is within reach.
Life, friends, is very, very good.
For now — a bit of the glorious, spring warmth, sweet like honey:
Barnaby bear wasn’t necessarily a popular choice, but just look at this gallery and tell me you don’t say, “Awwww.”
RIGHT? The winner for February is Sgirard1. That photo is just so sweet.
So — what shall we do for March? How about we break out of the handbag and softie category for the home decor front? I’ve picked two super cute pillows I think would add a dash of handmade to any bed, couch or lounge. The March projects are:
You know the rules.
Let’s see who can put the quirkiest/most original touch to these projects. And, go!