barn raisin'

Ever felt like a fake? Over the weekend I came across a website belonging to a company that builds barns.  I want a barn. I want a horse or two.  I've wanted these things since I was small, so I filled out the form so I could get their catalog and dream.

Someone from the company just called me to get more information about what size and type of barn I was thinking of building.  I gave him a few specs: 4 stalls, tack room, loft. As I sit here in my small little townhouse, surrounded by dozens of other tiny little townhouses, I describe to this man, in all seriousness, the barn of my dreams. I kind of feel sorry for him. This is their business. They need to find someone who wants them to build a barn. I just want a free catalog...and that's costing him money. For that, I feel bad. But who knows? Life sometimes takes sudden turns. Maybe I'll find myself in a position to buy some land and build a barn. You just never know. If that happens, I'll be ready.

In the meantime, if you or anyone you know is interested in having a barn built, let me know. I have a great referral for you.

They're killing Pinterest

I love me some Pinterest. I can spend hours sorting and organizing all the pictures on the Internet. Then I can come back later & re-sort and reorganize my pins into more logical boards so later (I'm sure this day will come eventually) I'll be able to find the exact pin I need with ease. 

But lately Pinterest is freaking me out a little. It's trying to guess which items I like & is pulling them out of nowhere & putting them on my dashboard. So now, instead of a nice variety of items from people I've chosen to follow, my entire dashboard is full of log houses and kittens. SO boring! This isn't fun anymore. I deliberately found interesting & eclectic people to follow for a reason. I enjoy variety. Stop making my Pinterest experience so monotonous, Pinterest. 

And when I do find something I want to pin, Pinterest now guesses which board I want to put it in & pops that board to the top of the list. Besides being a little freaky, I don't want the app to do this for me. It finds the pins. It categorizes the pins. It decides which board to put it in. What does it need me for?

Pinterest is almost a game, of sorts. A game that no longer needs us to play itself out. It's nice that their developers have the ability to turn the Internet into a mind-reader, but they're drop-kicking the user-experience to the curb. Here's a tip: just because you can, doesn't mean you should. They need to quit showing off & remember why their app/website became so popular in the first place. Stop trying to help us, Pinterest. It's not helping. 

I Wish...

... I could afford to buy stuff from Sundance catalog.

... I could look like the models in the Sundance catalog. But blond. (There's not one blond in the entire catalog, and my hair is blondish.)

... I could get all the cameras & lenses that my heart desires. One camera. About 3 – maybe 4 – lenses. 

... For an end to all war and a completely balanced worldwide ecosystem. (Don't want to be completely selfish.)

The sound of cozy

The sound of the wind whistling through my window. 

The sound of my cat purring in my lap. 

The sound of my daughter's voice. 

The sound of chickadees in the blue spruce, meadowlarks on the fence posts, the owl down by the creek, and geese flying in formation overhead. 

The sound of crisp autumn leaves crunching under foot. 

The sound of a bugling elk. 

The sound of a nickering horse. 

The sound of a whistling tea kettle. 

The sound of a crackling campfire. 

The sound of the silent, hushed falling snow. 

The sound of rain on the roof and thunder rumbling through the clouds. 

What would you add?

Finding balance

I realized I forgot my phone when I was too far from home to turn around. A small twinge of panic shuddered through my body until I remembered that, on an average day, the number of people that call me is approximately zero and I'm sure no one will need to get ahold of me now. I turned up the radio & kept driving.

An hour later, I also remembered that I had google-mapped the directions to my destination the night before ON MY PHONE, and that they were now back on my nightstand while I was zipping past unfamiliar street names with only a vague recollection of where I was going

I threw my arm over the seat and fished around in back to see if I still had my big Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer in the car. This thing documents every highway, side road and tiny little almost-a-road in the state. It was time to go old school. I found the book, dropped it on the passenger seat & pulled over to blow the dust-bunnies off my map-reading skills.

This was way less convenient (but also less naggy) than having Siri track my location and tell me when & where to turn. I had to navigate the big metropolis of Parker and Aurora on my own, pulling over every few miles to make sure I didn't miss my turn, because it felt like I should be there by now.

Finally I pull up to the toll booth at the state park, pay the Day Use fee, and reach for the phone to "check in." Ugh. No phone. No checking in. No photos to show everyone how beautiful it is here.

This is probably why no one calls me. Facebook is a running commentary on how I'm doing & where I'm doing it. Friends don't need to just check in and chat any more because what's there to say? They already know the latest news. Everything worth asking about has already been posted online.  It's been years since I've been without my phone for an extended time. How did we survive before the iPhone?

Well, I made it through today. Got myself there and back. Checked messages when I got home, and as I suspected, I didn't miss anything. This is both sad and enlightening.

The technology that connects us all and makes the world a small place, can also isolate us from those nearby. It can do a lot of the thinking for us & rob us of some of our brain power, while at the same time, placing encyclopedias (remember those?) of knowledge at our fingertips for us to access at a moments notice. It can be a constant humming in our head–just knowing we're always connected. Always reachable. Always online. There was a mental and emotional quiet in being disconnected for a while.

It's a mixed bag, this new technology. The trick is finding a balance. Taking advantage of the good while minimizing the bad. I make my living online, so I can't completely disconnect, but maybe I should forget to take my phone with me more often.

How do you find the balance?


The problem is, I like too many things. When I start designing a website...even if it's just one page... by the time I get it done, I'm sick of it & want to start over completely. Most of the time, I don't even get it done. Halfway through, I want to try a completely different style; a completely different color scheme. Not that I hate the one I'm doing. I'm just done experimenting with that & want to try this other thing. I want to try something simpler or brighter or more monochrome. Something more energetic or something more calming. You can't have it all in one site...that would just be crazy. As crazy as what's happening inside my head, I guess.


She's gone. It terrifies me. I battle my imagination, which is constantly grabbing onto the worst possible scenario. But maybe she's fine. Just because she was black-out drunk & disappeared from a friend's house without her phone, her shoes or her coat on a rainy, 40 degree night, doesn't mean she's not ok now. Just because no one who knows her has heard from her in 24 hours, she's not in the hospitals & did not end up in jail, doesn't mean she didn't find a safe place to hole up. Just because she called one of her favorite people and left him a message, "My life sucks. I love you. Goodbye." Doesn't mean she would really do anything to hurt herself.

Alcoholism and bulimia pack enough pain to bring anyone to their knees with the daily struggles they bring. And I am powerless to help. I, as her mother, should have been able to protect my child from the most colossal heartaches this life holds, but I've failed miserably. When it was most important; when it came to the person I love more than life itself, I failed. 

So there's that swirling around in my head, but really, this isn't about me. My daughter is out there somewhere, missing. 

When she was about 12, we went hiking on a beautiful fall day in the mountains.  We tried to get out often & we'd been hiking together since she was old enough to walk. This particular day we decided to play a game: one of us would run up ahead & hide behind a tree at the side of the trail, and the other person would have to search for them as they walked. It had us laughing and joking and teasing until I came to a fork in the trail. I didn't know which way my daughter chose to hide. I went up one trail for a little way & didn't see her, so I went back & tried the other direction. I yelled her name with increasing panic. I sat at the fork for an hour, thinking she would retrace her steps to find me. I asked everyone that came down both trails if they had seen her. They hadn't. For the first time, I gazed out at the endless acres of pine trees and felt horror. How would you find anyone in that vast wilderness? A place that had always made me feel comforted and peaceful was suddenly a dangerous trap that had swallowed my only child whole. 

Those feelings have returned to me many times over the they have tonight. Although my daughter is no longer a child, her disability renders her so vulnerable and in the wee hours of the morning, I gaze out my window & wonder how I could possibly find anyone in this place full of closed doors; full of horrible darkness as well as kind, caring angels. 

If I had known that experience in the mountains had been a metaphor for much of her life...I would've ...I don't know what I would've done, to be honest. I don't know. All I know is that right now, I'm scared.

update – days later:
When a person is taken to detox, their belongings are taken from them and held. They are not allowed to call out, and once they're checked in, they're not allowed to leave until their blood alcohol level is at 0. At least that's how it works here. The night I started writing this post, that was my last "safe" hope. I prayed that she might be in detox.

The next day, late in the afternoon, she called me. She was, indeed, in detox and was going to be released; could I come get her? I was so relieved to hear her voice and to know she was alright. I asked what happened but she doesn't know. Someone told her that she had passed out in the middle of a parking lot somewhere, on that cold, rainy night with no coat or shoes. Thank God that no one horrible came along to take advantage of her at her most helpless and vulnerable. Instead, someone...maybe more than one person... called 911. In the last couple days, I've gotten bills in the mail – addressed to her, but mailed to me – for an ambulance and the hospital emergency room, so it looks like she made a stop before going to detox. She remembers nothing. This isn't the first time this has happened. I pray it will be the last, but doubt that it will. That knowledge breaks my heart.

Dear Every Photographer On Facebook (you know who you are),

We all know Fall is coming. We know the leaves will turn yellow and the landscape will light up. This isn't our first trip around the sun. So stop posting pictures of last autumn, or your best photo from four Falls ago when you caught the trees at their prime because I'm watching you people. All you photogs that live in the mountains need to inform the rest of us when the trees start turning so we can make plans to get up there. When we scroll across amazing landscapes of quaking gold from last year, well, you're just throwing us off. All of you. Stop that. 


Chomping At The Bit