Tag Archives: Colorado

The Cabin

When a miller-moth commits suicide in my Gentleman Jack, I transform into a huntress like you’ve never seen.

It’s Friday of Labor Day weekend, the last “un-official” weekend of summer in the US and as tradition holds, my family goes to The Cabin. Lucky for me, I am still in the States on my whirlwind vacation and am able to bring Charlie here for her first Cabin experience. I haven’t been to this place in over two years and while nothing has really changed, aside from the motion sensor lights my dad installed last weekend, the raw beauty of this place has stricken me in yet another new way.

All week I have been organizing, making lists, and gathering my supplies for this trip. It used to be so simple. Pack duffel bag: check. Pack firearms and ammo: check. Pack fishing pole: check. Pack adult beverages and cheeky snacks: check. This trip was different, I had to plan how much food I would need for Charlie because Tajmagrocery (King Soopers HGH version) and/ or Whole Foods is a fair distance away. Not to mention packing her 90 bajiollion necessities and trying to remember my own tooth brush is a feat in and of itself. Thankfully, the weather was forecasted to be so ridiculously hot on the Front Range that they closed school because the green movement has halted air conditioning of many schools. I say thankfully because that meant I had my awesome helper, JoLee, all day.

JoJo Beans, aka Auntie JoJo, has been so excited to help with Charlie at any moment. Which comes in really handy when my beloved Lucas goes back to Oz for work. Bath time is easier, I have a diaper changing assistant, and dinner time entertainment has never been better. That sister of mine is worth her weight in gold, even if she is twice and tall and half as heavy as an eight year-old should be. We spent the day lunching, shopping, getting fuel, and driving to The Cabin.

As we wove our way through the hills of the Eastern Rockies in Northern Colorado and Wyoming and Jason Boland played thanks to my iPod, I was taken aback at the majestic quality these peaks have. For many years I had a steadily growing appreciation for their pristine beauty but I realized today; I had been taking it for granted for so many years. This part of America is just like the rest, it’s absolutely different from any other place in the country. From the bright red dirt roads, to the evergreen pines, to the herds of speed goats munching away on grass in the distance, there has never been a place like it on earth. Wait, what’s a speed goat you ask? It’s an antelope.

A twinge of sadness pulled at my heart strings as we made our way to the place I’ve know for more than 20 years. I was sad for all the time I don’t get to spend here anymore. I was sad that I didn’t get to bring Lucas here for Charlie’s first trip. I was sad knowing I have to leave it all again very soon.

What I wasn’t sad about was the 15+ miller-moths I killed.

After we chowed down on Granny’s chicken and noodles, and I finally got that adorable little girl to sleep, I settled in for a bit of reading on my Kindle app and a night cap. If you know me, you know I appreciate whiskey. But never scotch- I have taste buds. Having been out of this place for so long I forgot about the moths. Perhaps I repressed that terrible memory of those shriek inducing creatures. Nevertheless, I overcame my lifelong fear of those nasty little winged devils and I’m pretty sure I’m now widely feared in the moth community. Deeply engrossed in my chapter about businesses that go small again and survive, I found myself being kamikaze bombed by some fluttering assassin. Luckily both Charlie and JoLee were fast asleep and missed out on my myriad of red colored words, which were whispered ever so harshly. I settled back in only to find myself whipping my ponytail around Tourette’s style and checking my little drink for bugs. When one finally appeared in my cup, it was on like Donkey Kong. I may have dated myself with that last bit but if you know what I mean you’re just as old. I marched for the flashlight and fly swatter. In the first few minutes I had successfully exterminated eight of those dusty, wretched, idiotic wannabe butterflies. Nobody messes with my charcoal mellowed fire water and lives to talk about it.

In the morning, 6:30am to be exact, when my little darling roused me from my slumber, I expected the floor to be littered with my casualties of the previous evening. I was surprised that they seemed to disappear through the night, even the bodies I thought I would have to look out for when I’m on my way to the portable crib seem to have vanished. Perhaps I made a bigger creature’s thanksgiving dinner come early- as long as he or she does not crawl or fly on me in the night we are cool.

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The highlight of my morning here at the cabin was first the sunrise rolling over the eastern hills. Although, when I snapped this photo of Charlie, my entire year was made.

The magic in this place is held in my heart and the hearts of my family. Our simple place, made with a huge amount of sweat, blood, and over eating, is so special we rarely share it with outsiders. I’ve seen my father, grandfather, and uncles all work until their backs were sore and their brows dripped. I’ve seen my grandmother sweep the floors of this place until she needed a new broom. I’ve watched as we raced toward Laramie after a lightening strike burned my family and electrocuted the dog. I’ve seen where that lightening blew a hole out the back side of this cabin. I remember when my Dad cried out after a face to face encounter with a little cinnamon bear. I remember my own encounter with a large bull Moose, and when my friend wrecked on a motorbike. I recall the drama of my new jeans being dunked in the black mud of the creek bed when I fell off my cousin’s four wheeler, and when a bumble bee and I went fisticuffs. I remember when we trailered the horses up here to round up a few renegade cows in October- I have never been colder and more like Encinio Man in my life. I remember the dirt tracks for our hot wheels, and the copious amounts of Tang we all drank. But most of all, I will remember the feeling of this place. The way the sounds echo off the trees down below and how the screen door sounds.

As I waited for my Dad and Grandma to secure the doors and get in their trucks, I took a moment to drive around the property and soak it all in. Nothing has changed here, but so much of me has. I’m ever so grateful that I can still recognize this place and it’s magic.

xxOHM

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Not American Anymore?

On more than one occasion now I’ve been told I’m not American anymore. Or I’ve been told I’m an Aussie. While I’ll take the latter, I will not take the former. I had to conduct some personal research as to why I felt this way. Why, after each instance of someone attempting to strip away a piece of my evolving identity, I felt so defensive and ready to rumble like a back alley cat over the last scrap of chicken. I’ve narrowed it down to a few reasons.

I love my country. Sure, the US is a functionally dysfunctional shit show at times. But she’s also full of diversity and ingenuity. Sprawling cities and small towns, both of which are filled with incredible people. A plethora of nice neighbors, and acquaintances you love to hate. A smorgasbord of political ideas, religious differences, and people either seeking or running from enlightenment. There is a Miranda Lambert song I love, “All Kinds of Kinds”, and not just because Stoney Larue also sings on the track. My interpretation of the song is that this circus of a world wouldn’t go ’round if we didn’t have all kinds of kinds. People who work their whole life in the same grocery store, or people like me who go out into the world, take a leap of faith and hope it all doesn’t go pear-shaped. I didn’t leave the US because I didn’t like it there anymore, or I was tired of the glorious Colorado sunshine. I left because it was the best decision for my daughter. She could have the best life her father and I could offer her at the present time in Australia. In all of my One Hot Mess glory, I found myself making the hardest decision I’ve come across in my short 28 years, and while I put on a brave face, it was scarier than watching Freddy Kruger at age 7. Selling just about everything I owned and jumping on a plane at 5 months pregnant with two suitcases and saying goodbye to my family seems almost unreal to me now. Thankfully, I have been welcomed into this beautiful country by an incredible family and some amazing friends. Now, let’s get back on track and I’ll tell you about my second reason.

I used to know who I was. Then, the sweetest, screaming, squishiest, little miracle known as Charlie graced us with her presence. Anyone who has become a parent, and especially the moms know, your identity changes when that time and date is forever stamped in your memory. I say especially the moms because not only do people start referring to you as Mommy, (who me?), your clothes don’t fit anymore, and you don’t recognize that puffy faced woman with the bags under her eyes in the mirror. Not to fear, you do begin to look like yourself again but on the inside you’re totally different. Scary! There are risks I won’t take anymore that I wouldn’t have thought twice about in the past. For example, eating cookie batter is a no-no. Not only because I’m not about to have time to make cookies, but I’m not eating raw egg. Who will watch the baby and take care of me if I am calling dinosaurs? Last time I checked I was only married to one man and there’s no nanny! Ok, bad example but you get the gist. I also haven’t done some of the things that used to be staple activities in my life in quite a while. Part of leaving the US was leaving behind the cold steel of my firearms, and the cozy leather of my saddles. Luckily, I still have my yoga pants and mat. Phew! I will ride again, and soon, but even then I will have to take up a different style of riding. Change, a necessary evil.

My last reason is this: I do what I want, you’re not the boss of me, and as long as my passport is issued by the good ol’ US of A, and I have to file taxes, I’m an American! One day, hopefully, I will carry dual citizenship. It’s a long and expensive journey but worthwhile. Just as one day, Lucas will become a dual citizen. When I moved out of my parent’s home at the age of 18, y’all didn’t quit calling me a Huffaker (maiden name, have fun trying to pronounce it if you’re new here). I posed the question of renouncing citizenship to a group of Americans living in Oz and the large majority of them said they would never give it up. I deduced from their reasons this, being an American is something we are born with, we become, and we (hopefully) take pride in. Now if we could just get the government to do that… Oh wait, that’s a whole other topic. I see myself as a representative of our great nation. When I meet new people, the first thing they ask me is where I’m from. Just as your mother isn’t perfect, you still love her, and that’s how I feel about my country.

I have no doubt that my little family will live in the US in the future and when we do, I will have this rich experience under my belt. Hopefully, that will only stand as something even greater I can offer my homeland having lived abroad. It’s a great big world out there, and it’s a short life.

xxOHM

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