living alone


I've been cranky around the edges for the past several weeks, less patient than usual, easily irritated and sometimes outright bitchy. I've embarrassed myself with my moods, and wondered more than once where the good-natured me went and who is this out-of-sorts woman currently inhabiting my skin.


Today was road trip day: I drove to Colorado Springs to do city errands, including buying cartridges for my computer printer necessary to finishing my memoir. I've been putting this trip off for weeks; I didn't want to spend a day and the energy required to make the four-hour, 230-mile round-trip drive.

I live in a small house by choice. I like compact spaces and I like living simply. I also want to be comfortable, efficient with energy and materials, and happy in my space. And after living for almost 29 years with a sculptor who could and did design and build anything, I'm picky about details.

So even though my little house and its companion garage/studio were finished last year, I'm still completing a few projects. Today's was a combination of design and whimsy.

It's Wednesday and DIY night on this blog, so here's a recipe!

Weather Report: 22 degrees F, wind howling out of the southeast, no snow yet. Perfect weather for a simple, quick and healthy dinner featuring local winter vegetables and soft cheese. (You can add meat if you want, more on that later.)

Cottonwoods showing autumn's final colors along the Rio Chama. Cottonwoods showing bronzey-gold fire along the Rio Chama.
Deck railings dripping before dawn.... Deck railings dripping before dawn....

I woke this morning in the darkness before dawn and, as I always do, I first checked the view of the constellations—Orion, my favorite, was barely visible, glittering through a veil of high cloud. Next I checked the outside temperature: 49 degrees F, very warm for dawn at this time of year.

The aspens were turning gold on the slopes of Buffalo Peaks in South Park on Saturday, something I saw only because I tore myself away from work to take Red for a drive. Aspens turning gold on the slopes of Buffalo Peaks in South Park--definitely worth the time and gas for a drive in Red.
Molly, Richard and me in Boulder (we had an old Volvo station wagon then) Molly, Richard and me in Boulder (we had an old Volvo station wagon then)
Tomato plants spilling out of their cozy insulated wall-o-waters. Tomato plants spilling out of their cozy insulated wall-o-waters.
New moon framed by utility wires.
'Poncha Pass Red' sulfur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum 'Poncha Pass Red') 'Poncha Pass Red' sulfur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum 'Poncha Pass Red')
My house site before construction. (The boulders are Richard's spare sculpture materials.) The house site before construction. (The boulders--which I saved for landscaping--are Richard's spare sculpture materials.)
Dr. William Austin Cannon, my maternal great-grandfather, out researching the Sonoran Desert near Tucscon, Arizona, in the early 1900s. Photo: Arizona Historical Society Library My great-grandfather, Dr. William Austin Cannon, out researching the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona, in the early 1900s.
Buffalo Peaks, on the way up Trout Creek Pass, one entrance to South Park Buffalo Peaks, on the way up Trout Creek Pass, one entrance to South Park
Richard and me (and our Great Dane, Isis) by the Arkansas River in earlier years. Richard and me (and our Great Dane, Isis) by the Arkansas River in 2003.
Stock tank garden-to-be Stock tank garden-to-be, waiting...

I'm not planting outdoors yet. For one thing, my steel front and side deck, where my kitchen garden will live in two galvanized stock tanks, isn't finished.

Highway 285 across South Park in blowing snow. Highway 285 across South Park in blowing snow.

After last week's post, The Dangerous Power of Thin, I wanted to share two simple recipes. I may have a tangled relationship with eating, but that does not extend to food and cooking.

I love to cook. I revel in playing with the flavors, colors, and textures of fresh ingredients, in preparing food that's healthy and delicious, and visually appealing.

New year, new moon--and long nights.... New year, new moon--and long nights....

This time of year as the long nights of winter yield much-too-gradually to the turn of our hemisphere toward light and warmth, I spend time deliberately tallying my blessings.

Not in a superficial, oh-isn't-life-wonderful way.

Sunrise at 7:52 a.m. near Winter Solstice. Sunrise at 7:52 a.m. near Winter Solstice.

Winter Solstice, the day the sun "stands still" in its apparent journey southward, is the turning-point in my personal year.