Global Big Day 2020

May 11, 2020

Saturday was the Global Big Day bird count, in which birders all over the world try to spot as many bird species as they can in a 24 hour period. I’ve participated for four years now. I really look forward to it, even though every year I end up feeling like I’m not a very good birder.

This year, I was worried about going to my usual birding spots, which are popular public parks and likely to be crowded. So in the interest of social distancing, I picked a spot on private land that I’ve been wanting to birdwatch at for awhile:  the farm where I ride horses. It’s got a stand of cottonwoods along an irrigation ditch, which is excellent bird habitat. I got up early, was out there with my binoculars by 7:30 am, which is virtuously early for me.

It was a good plan. Then the wind started blowing. Then it got cold. The sun was shining, but I was shivering and battered within an hour. And the birds just don’t come out when it’s that blustery. Only logged 14 species, and I was a bit disappointed. Highlights:  western kingbirds and a blue-gray gnatcatcher.

I seem to be doing worse and worse at this each year. But hey, at least I got out there at all, right?

I’ve just about decided not to wait for the next official Big Day, but at some point pick a nice, warm, sunny, beautiful day and do my own personal Big Day, no pressure.


adventure ho!

January 16, 2020

Check another thing off the bucket list:  I’ve been snowshoeing. Twice, even.

I should have done this ages ago, because I really like it. Hiking, in snow. Generally, I don’t like the cold, but the snowy world is so beautiful and engaging it’s totally worth the extra prep and attention. Rocky Mountain National Park, one of my favorite places, is different in winter:

Bonus:  The first trip up was right after I finished watching The Terror, which added a certain zing to the adventure. This is up at Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park. This picture is me actually on the lake, which is very frozen right now. How cool is that?

Seriously, I look like I’m about to dive into a James Bond adventure.

snowpocalypse part 2!

November 27, 2019

Final snow count for my area:  13″.  Just enough to shut everything down and throw a monkey wrench in the week, but not enough to be record setting or break the top count of Colorado snowfalls. (For me, that’s still Oct 1997 when I lived in Palmer Lake, which got 52″ in one storm. That was something.)

I really hope I don’t have to run to the store today. We lost a shopping day, two days before Thanksgiving. Grocery stores today are going to be a nightmare.

*stays home, sips cocoa*


November 25, 2019

We’re due to get 18″ of snow overnight, so the area is in full-on snowpocalypse mode. Combine this with the usual Thanksgiving prep madness, and shopping for basics is kind of a no-go. Seriously, I almost had to duke it out with a woman for the last cans of kidney-health formula prescription dog food. Then she said she has a Great Dane and I’m all, here, have it all, Lily just needs, you know, a can or two.

So, I think Lily and I are set. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, here’s the long version of my very angry review of Ad Astra for Lightspeed. I really only get this angry when a film thinks it’s smart, and is so proud of how smart it is, when in fact it is dumber than a sack of bricks.

Rapid space baboons. Really.


the trees have eyes

October 28, 2019

In the category of “do something that scares you,” I signed up for an online nature journaling and drawing class. I’m looking for ways to be more engaged with my birdwatching, and also to practice art — I haven’t really done anything with the visual arts since I was a teenager. So, I’m dipping my toes in.  It’s been a little frustrating and slow going — the class started in early October, the same month that I had trips/conventions for three weekends and I’m on deadline for a novel revision. And the weather turned utterly crappy, so I haven’t been able to get outside to actually, you know, nature journal.  But slow going is still going, and my backyard is pretty cool. The juncos are back at my feeder, so some time this week I hope to sit by the window with a cup of tea and my sketchbook and see what I can record.

One of the points of the class is that through observing, journaling, and sketching, you’ll notice things that you wouldn’t otherwise. By taking time to really observe, and really look at and record details, you’ll see things you wouldn’t by just taking a photo and moving on.

For example, I did a sketch of some of the aspen trees in my backyard. And discovered that my aspens have eyes. This whole time they’ve had them. I can’t not see it now.


autumn into winter

October 24, 2019

Here on the Colorado Front Range we had a hard freeze before the leaves really got a chance to change color. They just shriveled up and fell, like that. Total bummer. Last night we had our second snow of the season, and there’s one week left in October, which means if I’m going to knit holiday presents I really ought to get started. This year dragged so slowly, until right about now, when it seems to be on a hard burn for the end.

I’ve been badly oversleeping. I need Daylight Savings to end so the sun will hit my window earlier and I’ll actually haul myself out of bed. This is part of why I can never have a real job ever again.

I’m wrapping up a big rewrite of a novel I’ve been working on off and on for years. It’s under contract, this one will actually get a release date. I’m holding off on saying the title because we’re still working on that.

I’m already thinking about what I’m working on next, and then what I’m working on after that, which is probably more than my brain can really handle and I ought to just take a nap…. Argh, this time of year….


I just got back from a much-needed camping trip in Buena Vista, where I slept by a rushing creek, went rafting for the very first time, discovered a nice local whiskey, spotted a red-naped sapsucker nest, and got sunburned sitting in hot springs.

It all sounds lovely, and it was, except that my friends and I are also mourning the loss of one of our own. Our friend Andro passed away from leukemia a week ago. He was a good guy and way too young and I haven’t found a good way of talking about it so I’ve mostly been quiet.

It’s been a rough few weeks.

And now it’s time to get ready for the Ireland trip and Worldcon, which is in a month.  I’m looking forward to more travels and adventures. Will I see you there?



May 24, 2019

This is a picture of the sky this morning.

I needed this so, so much. I came home from Winnipeg on Monday night to 4″ of snow on my car. It rained here the next three days. I bundled up in wool sweaters and turned on the fireplace. I spent most of yesterday crying. I’m solar powered, and I had nothing left.

This morning, finally, we got this. The Colorado blue sky. I frequently try to describe this blue in my books. The pictures can’t ever get the depth of it. This sky goes on forever.

I need this.


recent walk

April 8, 2019

I’m trying to get out and walk more. Here’s a scene from this weekend — you can just make out Long’s Peak, covered in snow. I like the way the light and sky and water all converge in this picture.


March 28, 2019

The crocus are here! The crocus are here!  They’re a bit late — I blame the giant blizzard we had two weeks ago. But now they’re here like gangbusters, and one of my clematis is sprouting, and the aspen have buds on them, and, and…


I even went out in a T-shirt and no coat yesterday.

Of course, we’re supposed to have snow this weekend. But that’s okay. Spring is here. Can’t stop it now.