Tuesday, May 31, 2005

New theory: tire swing

Acupuncturist did some “cupping” on my back. Did not offer any new theories, seemed to keep them to herself, but I came up with a new theory of my own on Saturday.

Saturday, for reasons that will go unexplained here, I got a bonus massage from the husband of my friend who is starting a massage therapy business. While mulling over the various theories with him, he said he favored the more mechanical explanations. He asked what had changed, what had I been doing differently. Was I gardening more? Carrying something more? It was then I remembered that the Sunday before I woke up with a sore shoulder, I had worked to mount a very heavy tire swing over my head. That was certainly different. So as my shoulder is slowly healing, I have a new theory,

Theory number six: I spent an exceptional amount of time holding a 15-20lb weight over my head with my left arm while trying to ratchet it in with my right. Then I had a restless, stressful night where I slept with the window open as the weather suddenly cooled. And wal-lah, I wake up with a stiff shoulder. Probably pulled it a bit in the warm-up to yoga and then the pain/spasm cycle started. Still not back to normal, but well on its way to healing. Didn’t bother me in the Bolder Boulder and feels a bit better every day. I can be positive and open and accepting again. Hooray!

Friday, May 27, 2005

One problem, many explanations

I am constantly amazed by how many different ways there are to understand the same thing. Case in point: my shoulder this week.

On Monday morning I woke up with a stiffness across my left shoulder blade. It had been a restless night and I must have slept on it funny. I felt I couldn't pull my shoulder blade back into my back. I had planned to go to yoga that morning, and thought that would help loosen it up over the day.

I cycled to yoga and before the class, in a pre-class what-do-I-do kind of moment, I clasped my hands behind my back and stretched the stiff spot. There was a crunch and a pop and I thought, "That has either cured me or injured me."

I was careful not to overextend that muscle, the one that holds in my shoulder blade, for the rest of class. Even when the teacher was talking about how that very muscle helps to open the chest and what that means for us and our mental state. Our culture, she said, hunched over computers etc., tends to have very closed upper chests. That space between the shoulders and the collarbones is "the dry spot" on many, lacking in awareness. The teacher pointed out how opening this area can also change your mental outlook: make you feel more optimistic, open up your life and your ability to accept and love. As evidence she mentioned how hunched over people are depressed (or look depressed) and open people are (or are seen as) more optimistic and accepting. Richard Freeman, the head of the studio and the most famous yogi in Boulder, had once said that he thought the reason people remained closed in their chest was that they were afraid of ecstasy.

Okay, so that is theory number one: Opening the chest helps you be open to love and acceptance and enlightenment. As it seems to be that muscle, the muscle that helps me open my chest by pulling my shoulder blade, that I have injured, I guess this won't be my week for love and enlightenment.

Yoga did not cure the problem. Shoulder in fact hurt more afterwards and the bike ride home was difficult. When I get home, I take some homeopathic arnica and rub some arnica gel into the muscle.

The next day, my writing group meets at my house. A member of the group is a new-age oriented massage therapist and a life coach. I tell her I hurt my shoulder and she takes a look. She asks what I have been thinking about and what stresses I am holding in that part of my body. She does a quick massage. It feels better. I ask her if I should try to move it a certain way or avoid moving a certain way. “Change your thoughts,” she says. I ponder that. She asks when I am seeing my acupuncturist again. The answer is Sunday. "She can probably help," she says.

Theory number two: body is reacting to stresses, need to decrease stresses and the body will heal. Acupuncture may help.

The next day, after another sleepless night, shoulder is much worse. What thoughts am I thinking? How can I be open again? Every time I try to relax, there is a shooting pain through my shoulder and a spasm. Luckily I find I get relief if I hang upside down. Am worried it is not getting better. I wonder what to do besides taking anti-inflammatory painkillers and trying to relax.

I call the doctor, though I know they will likely help little and charge me a high co-pay to refer me to a physical therapist where I will have to pay another large co-pay. The nurse will call me back.

While dropping Rees at school in the morning I see his classmate's mother who is a physical therapist. I ask her what she thinks is up and what I should do. She says it sounds like the muscle is hurt and overly tense and that I should take a high dose of ibuprofen (specifically, 600mg, 4 x day) and get a sports massage to try to calm the spasming muscle down. She says the masseuse at her clinic is good and charges $1 a minute. That is cheaper than my co-pay.

Theory number three: muscle, for whatever reason, is tense and spasming. The pain is causing more tension and, in a vicious cycle, the tension is causing more pain. Need to convince muscle to calm down with anti-inflammatories and massage.

Doctor's office calls back. Their response is that they can do little, but I can take painkillers and anti-inflammatories and wait a week or two for the muscle to heal. I ask if massage might help. "Well, it might help as it will increase the blood flow to that area. It certainly won't hurt."

Theory number four: You've pulled a muscle. Nothing to be done, no do's or don'ts for movement, just painkillers and time. Massage might speed healing.

I make an appointment for the next day with sports massage therapist.

Next day shoulder feels a bit better. Was it the high doses of ibuprofen? The effort to relax and have positive thoughts? Time? Being upside down?

Massage therapist works the muscles. She doesn’t find a tear or much inflammation, but says it is in spasm. She thinks I have simply slept on my arm wrong. The change in the weather and having the window open can cause the muscles to do strange things she says. She tells me to drink lots of water for the next day or so to help rid my body of the lactic acid that she has released.

Theory number five: I slept with the window open as the weather changed which caused my muscles to tense and spasm. Massage will help relax the muscles and release the lactic acid and speed healing.

Next day (today) I feel sore but in a different way. I feel I am on the way to healing. Certainly it is easier to have positive thoughts if I am not in chronic pain.

Still, I wonder, what is the mind-body connection? What is it that yogis and healers know that doctors don't? What is it that physical therapists know that doctors and mind-body therapists don't? Each has its own detailed theory about cause and effect. And it is notable to me that the most scientific of these schools of thought is also the one that seems to have the least to offer. It sometimes seems that the more we know the less we know.

I await my acupuncture appointment on Sunday for the new theory there. Probably low spleen energy or something. Very interesting....this magnificent and mysterious body.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The sad incident of the crawfish

Haven't written for a while for two reasons. First, Greg was out of town and I no longer had time to write in the evenings. Second, and perhaps most important, the kids have been obsessed by the computer game Civilization so are constantly on the computer. Even Kadin, who can't read, is interested in this very complicated game that simulates how civilizations evolve. He is illiterate, but amazingly, he can play it for hours and in the process he has invented the alphabet many times over. What is going on in that fascinating little brain of his?

Reason number one is all better now, Greg is back (yea!), but reason number two continues on as strong as ever. I will have to take more advantage of typing on my palm. So that was a bit of an update, the sad tale of the crawfish follows.

Last Saturday, while Greg was still away, the kids and I were invited to a “crawfish boil” put on by a friend from Kadin's preschool (who is originally from Louisiana). None of us eat shellfish: Rees being a self-delcared vegan (well, he does have milk on his cereal and will eat eggs if they are in something else, like banana bread), me because I do not like the taste, and Kadin because he is allergic to shrimp. In short, this did not seem like the most appropriate party we could attend. Still, I figured it would be a nice distraction, there would be lots of kids around, there would be other things to eat, and we would have fun in spite of the boiled crawfish.

The boys have always been interested in crabs and lobsters and such (speaking of which, I am not sure what exactly a crawfish is, and don’t know if it is the same as a crayfish or crawdads. I would imagine there are lots of different kinds of small edible crustaceans.) so I was a little worried what they would think. Boiling and eating such things would never occur to them and might be a bit traumatic for them. Nina, one of the people hosting the party, assured me that we didn't have to eat the crawfish and that some children had taken them home as pets the year before. I was hoping to avoid both possibilities: pets or meat.

The party was nice, outside in the back of a house bordering open space and the foothills. There were lots of friendly adults and lots of happy children. In a large basket there were thousands of crawfish, awesome red, mini-lobsters. They were alive and and looked extremely healthy and robust. Mike, the host, told me they were flown in from Baton Rouge that morning. I was impressed. I have never seen such a large of quantity of such healthy looking shellfish.

There was a kiddie pool and a water table set up where the children commenced playing with the doomed crawfish. I hadn't yet broken the news to the boys about their fate, but it looked like a while still before the meal began. Eventually I asked them if they knew what would happen to the crawfish. Then, when they looked at me with their innocent, wondering eyes I told them they would be boiled and eaten, "but we don't have to eat them." Their faces sink, but they have accepted it, I can see, brave and resigned.

Kadin eats a hot dog and I sample some of the excellent salads and then I feel it is time for us to make our move. Kadin's preschool teacher is coming to babysit while I have been invited out to the theater. Rees shows me "claw," his favorite crawfish. "Mama, he's the one with the biggest claws," he tells me. He has apparently become quite fond of him. They are buddies. I say my goodbyes and tell the boys it's time to go and Rees then pops the (inevitable) question, "Can we take him home?" Where to keep him, how to take care of him? I don't know. I tell him I will first go and ask Nina about the care and feeding of a crawfish as it would be sad to take him home if we can't provide for him. She assures me that the crawfish last year lived for months in a tub of muddy water out back. They like muddy water, she says, and then Mike tells me they eat dead grass. They live in the bayous of Louisiana, after all, not the most pristine environment. Well, it sounds simple enough, so who am I to say no. They look like ancient, indestructable, hearty creatures. Kadin wants one now too, so he picks one out as well and the boys carry them home in plastic cups. By the time we get home they have been christened "Claw" and "C-fish."

I then have about 15 minutes to house the crawfish and change for the theater before the babysitter arrives. We have a plastic garbage can filled with rain water, so I throw in a couple of chunks of old sod from the lawn (mud and dead grass in one), put on a skirt, stockings, and some make up, and head out. Rees and Kadin are thrilled with their new friends and play with the crawfish all evening and into the next day.

By the next night, Claw is not looking so good. Not so active. Hmmm. Maybe they sleep at night? I have disturbing dreams all night that Claw is slowly perishing a terrible death. It's a school morning, so the crawfish are forgotten and the boys head out to school. I see Nina at the preschool and tell her of my concern. She thinks maybe they need a place to be able to come out of the water. Oh no! I rush home and fish them out of the bottom of the can. Claw is not moving at all. Perhaps he has drowned, and now C-fish is seeming listless too. I put them on a rock in some shallow running water and watch and wait. No improvement. I call Nina again to see if she has any surplus crawfish at her house still. No luck. By lunchtime I am certain they are both dead.

Kadin is the first to come home and notice they are not moving. I tell him the sad news. He cries and cries. We talk about it and conclude that it was our first time and we didn't know how to properly take care of them. We break the news to Rees on his way home from school. He too is devastated. He can't believe it. I take him to see for himself. He sees it is true. More tears, more anguish.

I ask him what he would like to do with them. Would he like to bury them and have a ceremony? Would he like me to bury them? Should we throw them away? Leave them out for the raccoons? He says I should bury them, so I do.

I temper the news with the good news that we will get our kittens in two weeks (next weekend!). Still a long way off for the boys, but cats are something that was made to be a pet. Something furry and responsive that lives in a house. This is my plan to move away from bugs and lizards and crawfish. Not that it will work, but I feel I must try.

A couple of days after the demise of the crawfish, we are driving home at dinnertime past "Jazzy's Crab Shack." Standing out front is a person dressed in a red crustacean costume enticing hungry commuters in. The boys are engrossed in some petty argument in the back of the car and I am relieved that they will miss the waving crab person. But the light turns red and there is nothing to do but stop and wait. "Look Rees, look!" Kadin shouts, "a crawfish!" "I love that costume,” says Rees, "I want one." I did not enlighten them about the restaurant behind.

They truly did identify with those ancient crustaceans. It was very sweet while it lasted and very sad when it ended. Where did we go wrong?

Next week: the true and heart-warming story of tabby kittens Rex and Pearl! Stay tuned.

Postscript: a week after the crawfish were buried, I went to check their grave. As I suspected, they had been dug up and eaten. Somehow, for me, this is the appropriate end for them. I am glad they have gone back into the food chain. It seems nobler somehow.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

PROJECT: Pebbles

Use: to clean hard-to-clean bottles and line a soap dish.

To clean a narrow-necked bottle, pour some marbles, ball bearings, or small pebbles into the bottle and swish them around with soap and water. The marbles/pebbles will do the scrubbing that your hand can't. I first thought of this when I saw an ad for little stainless steel ball bearings that were designed specifically for this purpose. Why buy something specifically for one purpose only if you can use something you already have around and use somewhere else?

For example, I made a soap dish out of a small shallow tray that I filled with loose, rounded pebbles. It works great as a soap dish and looks nice. When I have a bottle to clean out or when it is time to clean out the soap dish, I just swish the pebbles around in the bottom of the bottle with some hot water. Everything comes out squeaky clean, and I've killed two birds with one stone (so to speak).

Friday, May 13, 2005

What we had for dinner last night: Calzones

I have discovered that Rees is more likely to eat something if he can't see it. Hence the success of samosas. He won't eat potato curry, but he will if it is in a samosa. And he is not fond of my homemade pizza, but he loves calzones. Greg is away, and as I mentioned, cooking for the boys alone is less than rewarding, but Rees requested calzones last night and it worked out great.

Calzone/pizza tips include keeping the dough very moist. Yes, this makes it sticky and difficult to knead and shape, but instead of adding flour to keep it from sticking, I just rub my hands and the surface I am working on with olive oil. Not totally perfect, but certainly helps a lot and makes it maganageable and delicious.

My favorite pizza/calzone dough is regular pizza dough with a bit of rye flour in it. In England we could get some special pre-mixed kind of flour for bread that had sprouted rye in it (or rye in some form) that was especially fantastic for dough. Rye adds a nice flavor but don't overdo it, a little goes a long way. I also add a quarter cup or so of all kinds of other things to a usual pizza dough recipie (decrease flour by same amount) to boost nutrition and flavor: soy flour, ground flax seeds, wheat germ, corn meal, etc. This nutritious super-dough is a hit around here.

It took me about 10 minutes early in the afternoon to mix up the dough before I left to get Rees at school. (Made a fun snack after school.) Then it took another 10 or 15 minutes in the evening while the oven was preheating to shape and fill them. Half-an-hour of baking later, with maybe a salad or other side dish added, wah-lah, we have dinner!

Fill calzones with whatever you'd like or have around, from simple tomato sauce and cheese to artichoke hearts, olives, spinach, and feta. Good as leftovers too and easy to take with you for a snack or picnic.

Come to think of it, the he'll-eat-it-if-he-can't-see-it doesn't work so well with burritos or quesadillas, but perhaps that will change.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Low expectations rewarded

I had zero expectations for Mother's Day. In fact, I was kind of dreading it. Last year Greg was in Italy and I was driving with the two boys from Colorado to Ohio. When I found myself having lunch at a Burger King play area somewhere in middle of Illinois, I realized this was not my idea of the perfect Mother's Day brunch. Luckily there was another mom there with her two young kids. They were driving from Iowa to Michigan. We laughed at our circumstances and exchanged tips for traveling with kids in the car. Maybe not the ideal situation for the day, but a good time was had by all.

This year, Greg was in Italy again. I had images of everyone else getting cards and flowers and being taken out to eat at festive places. That would not happen here, I knew, unless I arranged it and supervised it. I figured we'd just have a normal, mellow Sunday, me and the boys. The usual squabbles, the usual accidents, the usual messes made, maybe do some gardening, jump on the trampoline a bit, pick up a few groceries or get a video if we needed to get out. I'd be nice to myself, but mostly just ignore the holiday. I agreed with a humorous piece I'd recently read that started, "Mother's Day, yeah right, as if a mother could ever really get a break for a whole day…" It’s a tease, one of those holidays that builds up expectations that can never be met, like Valentine’s Day, more annoying than fun in the end, a capitalist exploitation of love. I did have to laugh, though, at the commentator on Weekend Edition who said (to those with mothers who usually cook for them), "If you expect to be fed on Mother's Day, you WILL be disappointed." But of course I would feed the boys, as I always do. It is truly unrewarding to cook for them, but I would do it.

So I was surprised when on Sunday morning I heard the kids wake up and I heard Kadin immediately whisper to Rees, "Rees, it's Mother's Day!" Wow, how did he remember that? The boys came into my room and gave me big hugs and told me how much they loved me. That was just the sweetest, made all the sweeter because I knew they didn't have anyone coaching them in what to say and do.

Then at breakfast Kadin gave me a small green package. On the card he had laboriously written: Happy Mother's Day, I Love You, Kadin. Inside was a candleholder he had made at preschool (but he wouldn't let me light the candle).

Rees gave me a decorated envelope and inside was a book of poetry that he had written at school. [I had seen the envelopes when they came home on Friday, and let me just tell you that if you had a girl, your envelope was decorated with colorful tissue paper flowers and such, but I have a boy so mine was decorated with an interesting drawing that looked like some sort of devil creature, but a smiling devil creature. There is some truth to that snips and snails thing! Boy poetry follows.]

Still, I loved it. It was so refreshingly genuine and innocent for them, not corrupted by commercialism or expectations (only slight prompting by their teachers at school---thank you teachers!). We had a really nice day in the end and didn't even make it to the grocery store (phew!). The big outing turned out to be a long walk where we collected bugs then ran a mile on the highschool track. Boys are truly fascinating. Here are a couple of Rees' poems:

I am
by Rees

I am a loyal friend.
I am a good runner.
I am a human.
I am happy.
I am a Star Wars fan.
I am a boy.
I am a reader.
I am a thorny devil expert.
I am Rees.
I am a spy.
I am me!

Let's think

What should we do? asked the Juboo.
Let's write, said the knight.
No, we should walk, said the clock.
We'll sing a tune, demanded the goon.
We'll do all, said the ball.
With what? said the hut.
Ugg, groaned the bug.
We will not! screamed the pot.
I agree with ball, said the wall.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Birdsong á la Gary Larson

Came across cartoonist Gary Larson’s book There’s a Hair in My Dirt! A Worm’s Story today in the boy’s room and it made me think again about what it would be like if I spoke bird. Here’s Larson’s take on birdsong as narrated by Father Worm (and need I say Father Worm does not have a very charitable view of birds?):

[human character] then heard a magical sound from the canopy of trees above. “Oh!” she cried skyward. “Listen to the songs of those happy, happy birds!”

“Yew, taw-kin tu mee? Taw-kin tu mee?”

“Git owda heer, buh-dee…git owda heer, buh-dee.”

“Yew en whut ar-mee…yew en whut ar-mee.”

Well, if those birds were happy, may the garden gods cut me in half with a rusty shovel! Birds sing to communicate, and what they were communicating was mostly an array of insults, warnings, and come-ons to members of their own species. (In fact, all baby birds are taught by their parents not to even smile, or their beaks will crack.)

That really clarifies what is going on in our backyard right now. It is a jungle out there I tell you. Thanks to Kate and Bart for introducing us to this funny, irreverant book about the science behind nature. Let’s just say that in this book (unlike others we own), the mama bee is not singing her baby bee to sleep. The foreword is by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson and it’s worth a read.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I wanted to do a post about birds, and since I was going to have the oil changed in the car, I took The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America along with me. Then I left it in the car, so had to go and ask for it back while I was sitting and waiting. "What are you reading?" the man asked. "Uh, The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America," I reply lamely, thinking it is not much of a conversation starter. Not like the latest novel.

Car was done sooner than I thought, but when I went to pay the cashier, she said, "Are you a birder?" "No," I said, "I am just interested in all the black birds around right now.” She proceeded to tell me about her recent trip to Texas and how cool the grackles were. How they made really interesting sounds and made loud noises with their wing feathers and different noises with their tails feathers. She said she got really into watching them and told me where to see grackles in a park outside of San Antonio in a town called Castroville (can't remember exact name).

In addition to finding out that a field guide to birds can in fact be a conversation starter, here is what I have learned from my morning's study of birds that are shiny, iridescent, and black but not necessarily blackbirds.

First, I have to report the sad news that the flickers (read the whole saga starting with this link) have been usurped. Haven't seen them for a couple of weeks. Instead, starlings occupy their house. Starlings are the super common black-colored birds with the yellow beaks. Starlings must be very tough. They were introduced from Europe in the late 1800s and now have spread everywhere in North America and are very common wherever people live. (I remember learning in graduate school that the European Starling was introduced by a group of Victorians who wanted to import to America every bird mentioned in Shakespeare. If the introduction of the starling was intentional, it was a big mistake.) Anyway, starlings, like many of the species introduced from Europe, seem to be an invasive weed species, very aggresive, that thrives on disturbance.

I personally found the flickers to be formidable birds, large (12.5in), with long, powerful beaks. I would certainly back down if one pointed its beak at me. I saw what it could do to our siding. But apparently the starlings, though smaller, are even more formidable. They seem to have been aggressive enough to intimidate the flicker. I read in Sibley's that starlings also have powerful beaks but use them in a very different way from the flicker. "Starlings have a straight tapered bill, which they force into soil or vegetation and open with powerful muscles, creating a hole and exposing prey." Sounds like a pretty effective weapon to me.

According to my field guide, the starling is "distinguished from all other birds by shape and habits." I, for one, confuse them easily with blackbirds, except that they have a yellow bill. Now that I have studied the field guide, I also see that starlings have a short, square tail and pointed wings. The blackbirds that we also have in large numbers around here have black bills and longer, rounder tails and wings. Blackbirds are also apparently less aggressive, evidenced by who is occupying the bird house.

Also looking like blackbirds are grackles. I learned that the great-tailed grackle is "common and increasing" while the common grackle is "uncommon." Go figure. (By comparison, the flicker, the blackbird, and the starling are all "common and widespread.") The great-tailed grackle is also a pretty large bird, 15-18in long, (the blackbird and starling 8-9in). And the cashier at the car place was right, grackles live mostly south of here.

Now for their calls. I became fascinated with the description of their calls in the bird book. I find bird calls very difficult to describe. To me, the blackbird call is a sort of harsh call that sounds like a combination of breaking glass and a high-pitched squeaky wheel. But the bird book says of the blackbird, “Song a short, high, crackling t-kzzzz or t-zherrr with buzzy end. Flight call a hard dry ket." That would be four z's in t-kzzzz and three r's in t-zherrr.

In contrast, the starling's song is described as, "relatively quiet and disjointed: a mushy, gurgling, hissing chatter with high sliding whistles; often includes imitations of other birds' calls. Common call a harsh chatter. Flight call a muffled dry wrrsh." That would be two r’s, this time, in wrrsh.

But the grackles have the most interesting description of all. No relativism here. It is pure human bias. The great-tailed grackle’s song is "a series of loud unpleasant noises: mechanical rattles, sliding tinny whistles, harsh rustling sounds, and sharp hard notes. Flight call a low hard chuk or kuk." Not a flattering sentence or phrase to be found in that description. The common grackle doesn't fair much better and has an "unmusical harsh kh-sheee or khr-rezzh. Calls include short, harsh, toneless, wheezy notes. Flight call a low dry kek deeper than blackbirds." I don't speak bird (and I certainly wouldn't be able to spell it), but if I did, I'm not sure it would be fair to characterize a particular accent as unpleasant, mechanical, tinny, toneless, or unmusical. It is probably quite attractive and pleasant to grackles everywhere.

It is true, though, that birds sound different in different areas. In England they all sounded so sonorous and beautiful to me. In New England they were slightly less beautiful sounding, but still pleasant. The farther west you go, the harsher sounding the birds seem to become. Maybe this has to do with climate. It seems the sounds of the birds go with the harsh, leathery, thorny, and weedy-looking vegetation where water is scarce. It is not rounded and lush like the vegetation in England or New England where the birdcalls are also rounded and lush.

Anyway, from the description in Sibley's, I was thinking that the grackle was not a very pleasant bird. Certainly not the kind of bird you would want as a neighbor. I was glad that the cashier told me otherwise. Sibley's also did not mention the way they apparently communicate with their feathers. Now I am curious to see and hear one of these large, rumored-to-be-tuneless birds.

So there you have it. Don't bother to get the latest recording of any of these birds, but now you might be able to tell them apart and figure out whose harsh call is whose. In short, the news from here this spring is: flickers out, starlings in, blackbirds all around, and grackle yet to come.

Update 5/14: Starlings now have babies. Mom and dad are flying back and forth often and we can hear the babies' needy chorus at each arrival and departure.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

All back to normal now

Beautiful sunny morning with the sound of running water everywhere as the snow disappears. Grass is green, flowers are blooming once again. Ahhh, sweet relief. Sunny, warm morning followed by a cloudy afternoon with a chance for rain. That is more like it.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Colorado weather

Before we moved here, I was concerned about the weather in Colorado. I wondered if it would suffer that most horrible of continental weather patterns where everything is too extreme. I was told that it is actually fine. There are 300 sunny days a year in Boulder. I was told, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.” And up until now, I have found this to be pretty accurate. Variety seems to be the rule here. Extremes, yes, but also variety, so that any one extreme just doesn’t seem that bad because you know it will go away soon. Just as one weather pattern starts to get you down, relief comes. And the vast majority of the time (300 days a year), the weather is great.

And that is why it is so strange that now, at the beginning of May, it has been SNOWING for 5 DAYS. Yes, right in the middle of spring, 5 days of snow. It’s unreal. It is not so odd that we have snow in May, just extremely unusual that we have the same weather for 5 days in a row. In winter, if it snows for more than 48 hours people start to get antsy and wonder what it is up. But now we have been waiting 5 days and things are not changing.

Spring was here. All the flowers and the pollinators were blooming and busy and now that has come to a screeching cold halt. And not just for a little blip, but going on a week now. Actually, I am starting to get used to it, and not waiting for the inevitable change anymore. I’m remembering that sort of resignation to bad weather that I used to manage just fine.