When fires roar through our lives leaving destruction in their wake, those of us who have walked through this type of loss are often asked how it was to deal with such an event.  I responded by writing this blog and I share it knowing we...

A-funk-a-fied. That is a word. Don’t test me by telling me it isn’t. Two days of serious funk and no writing. Hmmmm. Help me do the math here. The plan was to work on my book when I am not blogging and that plan has been thwarted. Drats foiled yet again. This is a scientific experiment: how will I feel this afternoon after writing compared to my mood over the past 2 days with no writing... we shall see. I will not factor in the fact that we are seeing Face tonight in Boulder. No, I will determine my post-writing mood independent of that extraneous event. Should be a simple equation. As previously stated, this moodiness t feels like a bad case of PMS. And, it could be “that time” coupled with the fact that on the 50 side of my mid-40’s I may be entering peri-menopause which I have heard carries many many joys. Especially the “Urine leakage while coughing or sneezing.” Not. I have been agro to the max; short on patience, long on reactivity, thin-skinned and excessively tired. Overcast with only small glimpses of occasional sun to remind me it still exists. Although, these days in Colorado we no longer celebrate the sun. We now do rain dances across the state and pray for Seattle slop. And, the rain gods have been kind to us recently. The metro area is cooler than it’s been and our foothills have been getting somewhat regular baths. Of course, these baths bring lightening strikes which have started a few brush fires and caused panic among my neighbors but so far so good. No new fires in our backyard.
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. Lou Holtz I woke up worrying. Or did I start worrying once I woke up. In those early moments before getting out of bed and way before coffee, it’s hard to tell. What I can tell is how my 60 minutes of worrying between eye flutter and first sip of caffeine made me feel. Like poop. To escape the blistering heat at our lovely trailer, we stayed the last two nights at the Highland Haven in downtown Evergreen. A lovely respite from reality, the Highland Haven is a high-end B&B built around an 1884 homestead. A small river runs along the property, towering spruce provide ample shade, the gardens are tended but not over manicured. Our room is lovely and dark and one might have thought I could have slept in - but oh no, I need to get up early enough to begin my worrying. Well-worn grooves of worry were my focus. Challenging relationships, the heat, fires burning across Colorado our future, where to do the laundry... It wasn’t until I walked back to my room with coffee in hand that it occurred to me that I might choose something else and start the day over. Some of us are slow learners.
The longest day of the year. I think I have had others that have felt longer. But the sun promises to shine longer today than any other day. Maybe I will rise to the challenge and join it. Maybe not. Two sips of coffee in without enough cream to make it just right, I say, it's too soon to tell. I will certainly enjoy the last few flushes of a modern toilet as I return to Flame whose toilet is, once again, on the fritz. Thank God for Shirley Septic and my now semi-permanent portapotty. I don't mind it so much during the day (when no workmen are milling around) but those middle of the night pee times that have become status quo of my mid 40's, well, that's another story. Pledging to keep the leaking tank empty for our next professional opinion, I will stumble through the dark to my plastic throne - or I may just squat along the way. It's hard to imagine all of that as I sit on my plush hotel bed a mere eight feet from a fabulous flush. And, yes, one more standup shower for this girl before I return to the seated bird bath. How different tomorrow will be from today. Did you just say 'at least you are writing regularly again'? I think I heard you say that...
Ahhhh.That first cup of coffee.There is nothing like it.Actually, the perfection is in the first sip of the first cup.Yum.I could not, would not, live life without coffee. Today we head south – to southern Colorado, that is.We pack up Flame for her maiden voyage with us – she was born in 1967 so has been on many trips with many people over the years.We only know some about the trips with her previous owners.They shared photos of Flame in front of mesas and great vistas around the desert.Their love apparent through the multitude of shots. I would love to know of all her jaunts around the country.What sights has she seen?Who have been her passengers?What were they like?What were their hopes and dreams as they took to the open road? Yet instead of packing up, I am sitting here.David knows that I need to write before anything, so he will begin packing and I will join him after.After how long, I don’t usually know.Typically, I sit for about an hour.Settling back in bed, hair in a pony tail, pillows propped up behind me, coffee cup to my side, I position my laptop opening the lid with anticipation of what’s to come, never quite knowing what I will say or who I will be.I have tales to tell and they seem to keep coming.I am going with it. 
And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98% and 1/4 guaranteed.)
From Oh, the Places You'll Go
Ahhhhhh.  The timeless wisdom of Dr. Suess.  He continually reminds us – in the most friendly of ways – of the ups and downs of life.  We silly humans promptly forget and wonder why it isn’t roses all of the time.  What happened to the roses?  Weren’t we guaranteed roses?  Where are those stinkin’ roses!  We want our money back!!!
Life is what it is, and for sure, it ain’t always roses. 
Well… If I had written yesterday, I would have begun by crying out, “God hates me!”  Now I know that isn’t completely true.  And, I know everything could be a helluva lot worse.  And, I don’t even know for sure there is a God to hate me afterall.  Is anyone really up there watching over us?  Does he or she reside within us?  Does anything make any sense?  Are my prayers heard?  Are my curses ignored?  Will I burn in hell – or are we all living in hell right now?  All these questions and more would have tumbled from my fingers onto the keyboard…
After my debut performance as a stand-up comic on Tuesday night and the resulting freedom and exaltation that came from that, Wednesday was wonderful.  I felt different as I drove to my weekly appointment with my therapist.  The colors seemed brighter along the road – and don’t just tell me it’s cause they were brighter… My soul felt lighter and I thought I might have turned a corner.  Proud of my progress through this trauma, my therapist acknowledged my inner resources and ability to rely on my many years of personal growth tools.  I felt it too.  Ahhhh.  Life was shifting. 
Last night I leapt into the unknown. In the form of a stand-up comedy routine, 8 other brave women and I took to the stage to test our mettle.  In a nutshell, we rocked it.  The crowd was rooting for us from the beginning.  The majority of the packed house (about 100 strong) were friends and supporters with a few complete strangers sprinkled in.  It was a night to remember – and already I want to do it again.  For us brave souls who leapt, the last two weeks have had their ups and downs to say the least.  We came together for the first time on May 20th for a 4-hour workshop lead by the brilliant Kristina Hall.  A veteran comic with over 25 years experience both live and on TV, Kristina created a flagship program to help women step through fears, find our own unique expression and get our funny on.  The level of power and accomplishment in the room did not lesson our shared anxiety.  Would we be funny, would we remember, what if we froze, what if no one laughed and you could hear crickets???
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture
Still treat each guest honorable,
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
- Rumi
Maybe no morning should begin without Rumi.  If we could live by these words, we certainly would be a bit more peaceful.  I know I would.  “Every morning a new arrival…” ah Rumi, you speak to my heart and soul.  Today is the day I take to the stage with 8 other women to get my funny on.  I have felt so far from funny recently.  Insane, yes.  Funny, not so much.  I question why I am doing it, yet I question most things that stretch and challenge me. 
Is that a dead mouse?  Is it the septic?  Is it a dog fart?  Is it a gas leak?  Whhhhhaaaaatttt is it?  These thought occupy my early waking mind.  Not a pleasant way to return to consciousness.  Life in a trailer – even as sweet a trailer as Flame is not without its challenges.  Upon early morning investigation, we still don’t know.  We have eliminated dog fart and gas leak.  The dogs did fart but now they are outside and the smell remains.  The holding tank shouldn’t be full – yet seems to be burping.  A dead mouse, well that’s instant karma in our war against rodents.  Did we wound one with our modern trap that took revenge by limping away and dying in some crevice?  We don’t know.
A little chilly still to sit outside and write, so I breathe through my mouth as I type and hope my essential oil diffuser will pour enough lavender into the air supply to save my soul.  You know how odor sneaks in anyway?  It’s doing that now.  It occurs as a small threat to our peace of mind.  David has removed himself by taking the garbage and recycling to the “curb” and I attempt to hold my breath.  Could be a rough day in Flame.  Have I mentioned that life is not dull?  It’s not.  Really, it never has been, but it certainly isn’t lately.  Regardless of the stank, mornings are still my best time.  Later in the day, my fatigue sets in and my mood is often erratic.  Yesterday I likened it to a chronic and very bad case of PMS.  David now says he understands what PMS feels like, and ladies, I believe he does.  Thin-skinned, thrown by the slightest curve ball, excessively sensitive, unpredictably dark – and very very tired, these are my constant companions.  After our systems being on high-rev for so long, it’s no wonder we are feeling the stress hangover.  I pray for physical resilience and for that which makes us stronger not to kill us later.