Saturday, December 31, 2005

Explosions in the Distance

We are currently in Breckenridge, Colorado, enjoying the snow and the scenery, and a little time with the kids. Yesterday I went out skiing and did pretty well for being away from it for three years. At least I didn't crash.

Breckenridge is getting a lot of snow this year. There is a boundary line, set up by the jet stream, that divides the wet and snowy parts of the country from the dry lands. Just over the mountains, the lands are cold, but bare. Here in Breckenridge, there is record snowfall.

Record snowfall means great skiing. It also means that the avalance conditions increase. Every morning, and many times through the day, the windows of the condo rattle with the sounds if explosions from the peaks. The crew is out there setting charges and keeping a dangerous buildup from happening. Yesterday, skiing while it was snowing, it sounded like thunder from the clouds. Buffered by the trees in all directions up there on the slopes, the rumble was gentle.

Today, the weather is interesting. Here in town, it's sunny. Snow melt is providing a muddy wash for the cars to splash through. There are dribbles from every roof. The air temperature was a comfortable 37 F as we walked over to MiCasa for lunch.

But on either side of the valley, mountains towered overhead, covered in clouds, with the snow coming down on the slopes. And the sounds of explosions continued.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wildlife is Out!

The March 2006 issue of ANALOG, currently on sale, has my story Wildlife in it, beginning on page 60. Since my paper mail is being delayed, I am not sure when it hit the bookstores, so if you want a copy, you'd better get it soon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Dash Home

I never intended to take the RV into the cold country during the winter. I didn't trust the winterization. But this trip to my parents was begun with no planning. We made the decision and were on the road within an hour.

So when an arctic cold front slammed into the Amarillo area with several days below freezing, and one night hitting -5, I wasn't too surprised when we froze a water line. It was a day or so later before the icycles began forming on the RV, where the water was leaking out, since the floor had to thaw enough to let the leak have its way.

Independently, my sister Martha decided to come up for a week's visit to help out, so it made the perfect time to take the RV south, where freezing water lines are a curiosity, not an inevitability.

Hutto had it's own issues, like a heating system that had burned out its motor. So, after a few frantic days, (three so far, maybe four) we'll be heading back north, hoping to see Mary Ann's museum exhibits, and to take a few pictures at the wild-life refuge before heading back to Amarillo.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Deer of Tanglewood

The days here in Tanglewood with my parents have settled into a new pattern. Mary Ann handles a lot of the daily chores as we work to help them settle into a new, if more restricted, pattern. My father's mobility is very restricted, limited to a few feet of travel with a walker. Mary Ann is doing her best to help my mother with meals and medicines and helping him.

Yesterday I got new telephones for the house. They had been making do with a couple of old dial phones, but the cords were too restrictive, especially now. Dad wasn't able to use the phone, because they couldn't stretch to the chair, and he was regularly getting calls from his children. Since then he's used the phone more than any time in the past couple of months. The only peril is that, of course, these new Panasonic phones have tons of menu items and there is always the risk of technical overload. One day, people will be able to custom order consumer electronics with only the features desired, but we're not there yet. Already we've already pestered Walter with several mistaken calls because I accidentally reversed his cell phone number with Mary's in the handset phonebook.

At nighttime, Mary Ann heads back to the RV parked a couple of blocks away at sister Mary's house, and I spend the night in the den in case of problems. When she returns in the morning, I walk over to the RV for extra nap time.

It's in these walks to and from the RV that I'm getting lots of close encounters with the deer.

Tanglewood is a gated community around a lake, down in a canyon. The deer and the turkeys are protected, and their populations have soared. On my regular walk, I'll see two or three deer every time. Groups of a dozen or more are common. This morning, when I came back to the house, the front yard was populated with turkey. Just before starting this blog, a doe walked past the rear of the house, and just this instant another one walked by.

For years, my parents had dispaired of gardening, since everything becomes forage. For me, a short time visitor, the deer are fascinating, but they are like guests, they wear out their welcome. I hope I can get my parents' elder care support systems in place before they start to think that of me.