We were warned we would remember things that had fallen into the shadows of memory and that these things were emerge at the strangest of times. Seemingly shrouded in fog forever, abruptly they would materialize while we sat on the toilet far from any pen and paper or in the middle of the night where waking up doesn’t sound like a good idea. Early this morning, I remembered Mrs Vogler’s velvet stool that she made me in 1973. Blue velvet with a gold tassel and initial “K” for me - and one for my brother with an “R”. Somehow I ended up with both. Sorry Rob. Mrs Vogler fashioned this sturdy contraption using large steel dog food cans like they made in the olden days which were fastened together into a solid circle. The stool was strong enough to stand on even as an adult and I still used it regularly. It was good for reaching tall cabinets or taking a brief respite during a busy day. When I remembered the stool, the damn almost broke. David was getting ready to head out the door to Seattle and I chose not to add one more concern to his already furrowed brow. I felt the sob emerge and I swallowed it whole. Too early, not enough coffee, don’t want to feel it right now. Will that averted sob cause me problems later in my day? Should I stop and invite it back now? Mrs Vogler’s stool may not make the “Inventory list”. Couldn’t quite put a value on that other than “priceless”. It is irreplaceable, a memory lost in a fiery flame. Built to last, that stool would have been with me forever. I anticipate that items in this category will pop up for a long time. These are the things that really matter. The accumulated treasures of a lifetime.
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.
Good morning blank page that is staring me down threatening to stay blank and thwart my efforts. Good morning crazy mind that rambles away down the path of dissatisfaction and concern. Good morning cool basement that is an oasis from continuing heat in the Denver area. Good morning happy dogs who sprawl out on the floor after a somewhat satisfying w-a-l-k down the Highline Canal trail (still marveling at this trail system in suburbia! It’s amazing). The interesting thing about writing my blog has been that I don’t know where I am going. It’s like wandering in a car. Sometimes I head down peaceful country roads. Other times, I buzz down a highway at 90 miles an hour in a convertible eating bugs. Still others, I honk and swear as I am stuck in gridlock in sweltering city heat. I never quite know where I will go, how it will end up or how it will all come back together (or if it will). I have been willing to trust and to keep my fingers clicking away. 91,000+ words later, I have developed a small amount of faith that I will keep writing about this journey – for a while anyway. The new plan of one morning of blogging and the next dedicated to my re-write hasn’t quite launched as planned. Yesterday, I took the day off from all writing and celebrated the 4th with David by going to IKEA to plan our kitchen. I am so happy that he enjoys the design process as I do not. It is daunting and I don’t have strong opinions about the kitchen not being the gourmet chef and all. Does it have a coffee pot? Then we are good.
On the road again.  We have taken another generous friend up on the offer of a cool basement in which to unpack our bags and rest our weary heads.  We have officially (and temporarily) moved out of Flame.  Turns out the septic issue was bigger than we hoped and she must go to the shop.  Coupled with the extreme heat that sends the dogs into the wrong kind of tailspin, it was just too much.  So here we are at Jessie and Jairo’s where the dogs have been coming for years.  We met this lovely couple many moons ago when they were recommended as the perfect people to watch our house when we travelled – even more importantly, they would treat our dogs as their own and take care of them better than any 4-star doggy daycare ever would. 
Last night over dinner, we reminisced.  Jessie and Jairo have known all our animals, beginning with Jaxson, then Darby and now Roscoe and Tigger – and of course our cats too.  The dogs have stayed here many times and have their routine with the two canine residents.  Now, we have interrupted the routine a bit as they sleep in the basement with us – and we don’t rise quite as early as our hosts who wake before the dawn and are out and about taking dogs to the dog park or on strolls along one of the many fabulous trails that wind through these neighborhoods.  How is it that in the heart of the suburbs there are more trail options than we have in the boonies?  We took second shift dog walking and our two showed us around.  See that tree mama-papa?  We have peed there many times before.  See that squirrel?  He is my nemesis – I must eat him.  Now they lounge in this cool basement as we begin our workday. 
All I want to do is write.  I want to lock myself away with a big table, spread out my computers and files and papers and write my ass off.  When I am away from my computer, my mind spins and whirls with words to write and things to say.  It’s easier to write than to speak at this point.  My friends ask how I am, and before I answer, I ask if they have read my blog.  It makes it so much easier.  We have a starting place versus having to catch up on so many places and spaces.  I appreciate that it could be annoying but these are the friends who I know will be there thick and thin so they are willing to take the 10 minutes and read my words.  Otherwise, the energy expenditure feels immense.  I beg: please just read it, and then ask me, ok?  Mostly, they say ok.  My world has gotten smaller at the same time my words are reaching more people.  I haven’t spent “social” time with more than a handful of people.  It’s normal in times like this to retreat.  In retreating, I am not isolating.  I am re-grouping, re-gathering, re-forming.  And, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you.  I am conserving my energy.  It is a primal need to do so.
My ambition in life is to someday be the person my dog thinks I am. Emily Maughan
The last few nights have been rough.  Or more correctly, it’s the mornings that stink.  I seem to be harkening back to the early days and my pattern of waking up at 4am to get an early start on worrying.  My mind races with all that has to be done, isn’t being done, should be done.  All the things I keep forgetting.  The clock is ticking on the insurance paperwork and we are barely making any headway.  We do it in fits and starts and between David’s crazy travel schedule, relocating yet again, and general life busyness, it continues to fall to the wayside.  And, we have initiated the exciting (yes) and daunting (certainly) process of rebuilding.   
We need a home.  It is time to turn burgeoning thoughts into reality and break ground.  We need to have a future to live in to.  We have hired an architect and a builder and are beginning to get bids on our plans.  We hope this can be moving forward while we take our break from Colorado for the month of August.  Planning on being vagabonds through July, away for August, counting on cooler living in September and October when we return to Flame.  Then we will pack up again and go who knows where when the snow starts falling for real until our home is complete. 
There is a lot to roll with these days. Panic fills the air as the smoke rises. 911 operators in neighboring counties throughout the state are inundated with midnight calls about the smell of smoke; fire departments are closing rank to protect their own backyards; rumors are flying; tourists are canceling their summer visits to our great state and the governor is attempting to calm the anxiety. Colorado is on fire and not in a good way. Yes, it is re-traumatizing to those of us who have lost homes and loved ones. Yes, we wince at the latest headlines and cry at yet another tale of woe. Yes, we wonder if it could happen again to us in our rental homes or trailers. Yes, we gather together and look knowingly into each others eyes. Yes, we wish there was more we could do for all those who suffer as we struggle to keep our own heads above water. Yes, we lose sleep and question just what is happening out there in this crazy world. It is rampant. It is impacting thousands of people everywhere. It seems almost everyone knows someone who has lost a home or is evacuated. And, there seems to be no end in site. The weather continues to not cooperate, the soil is drying up, the grass withering. Storms roll through and flash their lightning strikes starting even more fires and leaving no measurable moisture.
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.
Fires are raging all over Colorado and the West. Smoke clouds fill the sky. With record breaking heat and winds blowing like stink, more and more people across Colorado are being evacuated from various fires and the High Park fire, still growing, is far from contained. Mother Nature is not cooperating one bit. It might be easy to get discouraged about the state of the State, or the state of the world. It might be easy to slip into the darkness and the funk. Well, yes, I have to say, it is.
California was a lovely break from reality. I realize reality lives there too, but for me over the three days, reality was suspended. Someone cooked for me, I slept in a real bed, showered standing up, flushed the toilet at whim, hung my clothes in a spacious closet - and the best moments were wandering in and out of shops in the California breeze. The weather was perfect; the respite refreshing; the trip worth the trip.Since arriving “home” the past few days have been a bit bumpy - and yes, I have had a relapse and am adding quotation marks again. Yesterday began well. I attended a 6:30am 12-step meeting. The crowd was small and we all had a chance to share. I acknowledged my fragile state of mind coupled with my desire to not be as ‘thrown’ by things as much as I have been. I have to admit, I have been gathering some compelling evidence for things not going exactly my way. Besides the obvious, not much has seemed to “flow”. Last week I drowned my Mac; the troubles continue on the trailer (leaking water pipes, leaking sewage, mouse infestation); then I left my new precious journal on the airplane. And much much more but right now it feels like blah blah blah to write it - and to say it.
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...