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. 
I was generator challenged this morning.  Attempting to conserve power by starting our small generator, my brain found it’s well worn groove and executed the same maneuver 3 separate times even walking away between each try so as not to “flood” the poor machine.  Finally, dejected, I called David and asked why the generator might choose today of all days to cease functioning.  His usual reply, “user error, perhaps?”  Convinced I followed the proper protocol, this did not seem likely.  Having no choice but to try another approach, I switched the choke button to the opposite position and it started right up.  Only thing is, I continued to let it run on choke...   At this point in time, I have started this generator on a multitude of occasions.  My brain doesn’t feel especially foggy this morning – not any foggier than usual I should say.  But I now have scrambled eggs for brains when I attempt to think about where the choke button should be…
Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not the end. 
- Sonny from the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”
“Delightful” is what one of the film reviews said, and I concur.  Many moons ago, when I first saw the preview with the above line, I added it to my very short “must see” list.  A lovely romp through India with a stellar cast of veteran actors, it didn’t disappoint.  Illuminating the “Golden Years” and the potential for a last great hurrah (or series of hurrah’s) is another reminder that it aint over til the fat lady sings.  These fine people thwarted their predictable path into frailty and leapt into the absolute unknown of a life in India.  Unlike so many movies these days, the dialogue languorously explored themes we all deal with which aren’t often reflected in the media.  The real deal.  Obviously, I am a fan of the real deal.
This film reminds me that this current iteration won’t be the last adventure of our lives.  There will be many many more.  Some chosen, others not so much.  It’s packed with life lessons and reminders of what really matters.  Stuff such as love, trust, hope, faith – and yes – that it can all end in a nano-second.  In a society where we have marginalized the elderly, it’s nice to be taught.  Yet, as my mom has always says, you feel like the same person inside, it’s the image in the mirror that keeps changing. 
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. 
The space between what’s wrong and right
Is where you’ll find me hiding, waiting for you
The space between your heart and mine
Is the space we’ll fill with time…
 - Dave Matthews
It’s the little things.  Like a new plastic folding table that can tuck away and serves as a place for my coffee cup in the morning.  My routine is to sit on my bed and write until the sun shines too brightly through my window and then I move to David’s.  Where to put the coffee mug has been a big concern.  The floor, too low.  The bed, too unstable.  Can’t hold it and type.  Problem solved for $10.99.  And, we have now disposed of the second mouse that was bold enough to run past me twice last night.  Sharing this small space with two big dogs and another human is quite enough.  Sharing with small furry rodents who poop on my stuff and make nests out of my precious snuggly things, not gonna happen. 
Last night one of our dear friends lost his beloved dog.  After hearing the news that she was sick, I could think of not much else.  She was showing symptoms of poisoning, the same reactions a rat would have when we are trying to get rid of it, her organs shutting down, bleeding internally.  Rather than put her down as the first doctor suggested, Frank was determined to do everything he could for her.  Even a blood transfusion couldn’t save her.  She died last night.
I am stunned by the level of tragedy in our small community.  Yes, I realize, it is happening everywhere, all the time.  There have been times before where it seems devastating things are occuring all over our close circles.  I have had mine, you have had yours.  But these early months of 2012 have been exceptionally full.  I read callous comments after the fire, that we mountain people should expect such things.  Blah blah blah.  I wrote about that already.  Yes, we all know that to love is to risk having our heart broken in so many pieces that we may never pick them all up.  Right now, for Frank, I would imagine there are no words that will actually help.  What I can offer is to be there in the pain and with the pain.  We will tell him we aren’t going anywhere.  We love him.  It beyond sucks.  Life isn’t fair.  In walking through our fire, knowing that people can be in the shadows with us has made the biggest difference. 
What would life be like without our people?  Not worth it.  My people include my furry people that keep us laughing with their antics.  The main benefit to having my own bed in Flame is that Tigger sleeps with me.  I have explained to him that it is an open invitation as he is such a good sleeper, curling at my feet and staying put.  I can’t make too much of a ruckus about it as Roscoe is not a good sleeper and if I boisterously invite Tigger then Roscoe will jump up too.  Roscoe likes to sprawl and twitches all night.  Tigger is still.  Often, Tigger starts on his dog bed (yes, we cracked the code) then ends up with me.  I take great comfort in his warmth on my toes.  David is a no dogs on the bed fella.  My bed is now my domain.  David and I snuggle across the narrow aisle – and yes, twin beds will not be forever once we build our tiny tiny house.
I have the first part of the day at home and am quite happy about that.  I am now officially behind on two writing projects.  I haven’t worked on my Intro again since last week.  It only needs a few tweaks and then I will send it in for review.  And, I have another project which is waking me in the night and infiltrating my sleep… I said “yes” to a workshop Kristina Hall is running where 8 other women and I will each have our own mini-version of a one-woman show in the form of 7 minutes at the microphone in a real venue.  Oh my goodness what ever had me say yes?  What I haven’t mentioned yet, is it’s a comedy show.  Eeeeeegads.  Kristina is a brilliant professional comic with over 17 years experience in front of live audiences all over the world and on TV.  She is pretty much the funniest person I have ever known.  I have seen her perform live dozens of times and never ever get tired of her material.   Recently, I interviewed her on my radio show and we talked about her life as a comic and a writer as well as her mission to allow other women to be free in our expression on stage.  Thus the workshop – and at a time in my life where I am breaking through even more barriers – thus my call to say “yes”.  The caveat for the show and the course – authentic material only.  We take the issues of our lives and bring it all to the stage.  We also are learning the structure of a joke and that’s where my blood runs cold.  If you have been reading for a while, you know I bring in my own brand of humor.  I am good at this off-the-cuff stuff in both my writing and speaking.  But crafting it, then remembering it to present it?  Oh my.  It seems the moment I put pen to paper all funny eludes me. 
So baby, in between
Notice the blue skies
Notice the butterflies
Stop and smell the flowers
And lose it
In the sweet music
And dance with me
Cause there is beauty in the world
So much beauty in the world
Always beauty in the world
Macy Gray
Coffee in bed is the best.  I wait patiently, or not so patiently, for my husband to make the coffee before I get out of bed.  It was chilly in here mid-way through the night but we snuggled under layers of blankets and now that the sun is shining, it’s warming up.  I don’t think I could live without coffee.  I am not willing to try.  I don’t have any other vices so this one stays.  Our best “upgrade” since the fire is our jumbo size French press.  To make “enough” coffee pre-fire, we had to brew two pots simultaneously.  Now, this plump pot does the trick.  Although normally one cup does the trick for me, this morning my lovely husband gives me an extra treat of a breve latte out of his little espresso machine.  Ahhhhhh.  Coffee makes life tolerable and beautiful.
Before putting fingers to keyboard, I glanced at MSN where I often check in to make sure the world has not ended.  We are a no TV and no Newspaper family so the Internet is the only way to make sure that Armageddon has not occurred.  It seemed that it was occurring yesterday with the thick smoke from distant fires that clogged even the air in Denver as well as the swirling ash the wind kicked up at our place.  This morning David wiped the counters revealing blackened paper towels reminding us of the floating hazards in the air.  Fire and brimstone.  Hmmm.  Armageddon approacheth?
Sewing machine, telescope, Kleenex box holders, Cuisinart… these things run through my mind as I am trying to return to REM this morning.  The dreaded inventory list, still not complete and always looming.  I stunned another naive insured person yesterday by explaining what the inventory process is really like.  Most people have no idea.  I didn’t.  Listing everything you owned down to the minutia in order to get a fraction of it back from your “insurance” is a painstaking process.  Interestingly, David awoke with a similar list.  We haven’t sat down to do inventory together lately.   The clock is ticking.  Things are popping into our heads, and some may disappear forever into the folds of grey matter that we limited humans still can’t access.  It’s time to get this sucker done.  Operation Inundation must proceed – and complete – soon.  It drains are beleaguered energy banks.  I still pant as I walk up small hills, but my psychological energy is replenishing.  Until, that is, something happens…
The recent ‘happening’ was a trip to the bank carrying a large check meant to represent “our structure”.  As you faithful readers know, this number has been grossly underestimated (and that’s a whole ‘nother story).  So into my bank I go, pleased to have received this check from the insurance company and ready to have some financial breathing room for our near future.  The bank had other ideas. Even though we continue paying our mortgage, the bank wants to keep the money and dole it out at their pre-determined milestones along the way.  To add salt to the wound, this would tie up other monies that are coupled with that large check including our “outbuilding fund” to replace sheds and our “tree fund” for the meager attempt to rehab some of our trees which really means chop them down and haul them away.  In that moment, I could not engage in the one-sided proclamation that was heading my way.  I was beyond furious.  The sympathetic banker who was the deliverer of the bad news glanced at me kindly.  I steamed out of there calling my attorney as I fled. 
In the last few days, my shitter overflowed, then clogged, then clogged again.  I ran out of propane while cooking a burger, ran out of gas in the generator which then kills the internet, spilled gas everywhere trying to re-fill the tank.  The dogs are filthy, there is dirt everywhere and I discovered that a very large rodent is living with us.  And, then last night, just as I was ready take a hot birdbath and finally get clean, the water ran out....  and I still say I LOVE living in Flame.
Flame is my home.  I may be an adventurer, but I seek the comfort of home.  Last night I stayed at Jessica’s and woke this morning to the faces (and noises) of her sweet girls.  I played kiss the chubby hands with Chloe something I was inspired to do, then the commands came sharply from her, “do it again, do it again, do it again.”  I obey an obligatory order when I hear it and salute her demanding Aries nature.  Cassidy loves Roscoe and giggles as he leans his weight against her in her Snow White dress.  I am doing my heaps of laundry here today, taking a stand up shower (that’s right!) and after my therapy session in downtown Evergreen, I will return to host my radio show on Jessica’s reliable Internet.