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My not-so-little brother joined a new team of fire fighters and our Grandpa had the honor of pinning his new badge. It’s taken an incredible amount of time, training, and dedication (and will continue to be), and I could not be more proud of him. And these pictures, such sweetness!

This photo is a double entendre. Rough, rocky, bumpy, crumbly as all get out. Our life at the moment. A wee glimpse: the one mostly working sink (the cold water doesn’t always turn off) in the house is in the basement bathroom. It is too small to put dishes in, so we fill cups with water to wash in a giant bowl in the shower that doesn’t work. The refrigerator is in the dining room, but our makeshift kitchen is in the guest room in the basement, so we have to cart everything down stairs and from our pantry in the laundry to make any semblance of a meal. Not all of our necessities are unpacked because we lack space, so I must improvise – glasses as bowls, paper as coasters and trivets, plates as lids. The window in the living room is boarded over until the new one gets installed later this week (we hope!). The plug nearest to the television is broken, so we have to snake an extension cord from the dining room and hope we don’t trip because there isn’t any light from the window being boarded over and the fact that there isn’t a fixture in the dining room (soon!).

But, getting to that double entendre, there IS light, too. The oak floors are refinished and positively beautiful. The bedroom is painted, and we have the luxury of sleeping there! After more than a month of having clothes in the basement and the garage (cold underpants!), they are all in the bedroom. My shoes are lovingly organized on a rack the hubster installed and not in a jumble on the floor. The hubster’s office, the absolute winner in the gross category, is painted. It took me three days of prep and two days of actual painting to get that job done, filling with spackle, I kid you not, more than a hundred nail holes, washing the walls, and covering some very disgusting stains with four coats of primer. The plumber comes tomorrow to install a basin in the laundry room and move the pipe for the sink under the soon-to-be window (also boarded up). The drywall gets installed at the end of the week. Fingers crossed for kitchen flooring the following Monday, then cabinets after that! A real kitchen! A fully functional sink! Stove and dishwasher to follow!

Oof, that’s a lot, but I could not be more grateful. I could be a refugee wondering about my next meal. I could be in a rotten marriage. I could be sick. But I’m not. I’m in a city filled with kind strangers and natural beauty of such exquisiteness that I shout near daily, “I live here!” I have the best man I know by my side. Life is good.

And fear not, I am taking lots of pictures and will share them when all is finished and looking lovely and fine.


A final look at our Pittsburgh house. It was that first glimpse of the fireplace in the living room that made me want it. I was house shopping without the hubster, and he, much to my great wonder, is a rather big J.R.R. Tolkien fan. He’s read all the books, in English and in French, and seen the movies, too, even “dragging” me to the first fil-um in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, during which I was so bored that I read a magazine in the half light of the theater – different strokes for different folks, dear peeps. Anyway, one glance at that Tolkien-esque metal work and I knew he would love it, that it was the place for us. And it was!

We loved it as best we could in the time we had, with light fixtures, paint and plants, odd repairs and new doors, while squeaking around on century old floors (it’s a rhyme!). We spied birds through wavy glass and marveled at the solidity of the stone foundation, the sturdiness of brick. This great house has seen so much.

And my prediction, that it would all feel like some strange dream, is already coming to fruition. Out walking together, we laughed aloud, “Wow, Pittsburgh! That really did happen!”

And home, again. The Front Range capped in snow and those bewitching Colorado skies. Not for a moment realizing the adrenaline that was keeping me fueled, it took a good few days for me to recover from the trip west. There were many long naps for this non-napper and even longer nights of sound slumber. Thankfully, I am more myself and inching my way out into the world. Maybe I’ll see you around. I’m the one with the camera, gawping at mountains and blue skies like they were only recently invented!

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May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.

Apache Blessing


It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season – like all the other seasons – is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them…

Lemony Snicket

Two of my favorite people live here!


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