Friday, November 5, 2010

Colorado on the Brain

It has been a long week. I have been super busy with projects at work, my best friend's husband (who was travelling for his new job) stayed two nights at my house (without giving me hardly any warning), I hosted my brother-in-law last night for dinner, I have to go to Richmond this weekend to get groceries for my parents' house (they have been in Europe for two months), and then on Monday, I have to take a day off work and pick up my parents at the airport. I know I am whining, but I am tired. I have not had a real break since late January.

It is crazy times like these that make me long for snow-capped, steel gray peaks dotted with lush green pines. I would do anything to smell the fresh, brisk air that tingles my skin. I want to close my eyes and sense the stillness and calm of the Colorado High Country. Just for a moment, I visualize myself skiing down Lower American on Peak 9. The skies are crisp and blue. The wind kicks up puffs of champagne snow and the mountaintops appear to be steaming against the backdrop of the electric blue sky. My skis leave gentle tracks in the opalescent snow that glitters in the bright afternoon sunlight and all is well with the world.

What is it about the High Country that intoxicates my soul? It is the beauty of the landscape? It is the laid-back nature of the local populous? Or, it is the placid energy that permeates everything from the trees, the snowfall to the mood of the residents. I am not sure. 

What I do know is that when I am in Colorado, I am a different girl. I am happier, calmer, and more peaceful. I tend to forget about long, traffic-clogged commutes. I ignore my tendency to worry. I let go of my usual anxieties and I just smile. I simply love being there. It feeds my spirit and fills my heart with joy. In Colorado, I am truly complete. It is my nirvana.

Here in the DC Metro Region, I tend to get cranky, stressed out, and tired. Just the other day, my good mood was ripped away when a rude SUV driver took it upon herself to drive like a maniac in a grocery store parking lot and then have the audacity to honk and flip me off! I was slowly pulling out of a parking space and then and all of sudden, this woman turned wildly into the lot and slammed on the brakes.  Let me tell you, she SLAMMED on the brakes. For a split second, I was sure she was going to hit me. Nevertheless, the SUV brat honked and flipped me off. I was floored. I wanted to call her a b*tch but I simply shook my head and said, "Wow." SUV brat angrily scowled and drove off like a madwoman. I admit there was a part of me that wanted to find her car and key it but I took a deep breath and let it go. I mean, it is just food shopping! It is not like the panzers are coming! Moreover, if I ever vandalized someone's car, aren't I no better than them? I have never road-raged and I do not plan to start! It is not worth it! Besides, whenever someone honks at me or acts rude, I actually feel rattled. My heart pounds and I get nervous. I hate conflict. Period.

Living in the DC Metro, there always seems to be bad drivers, rudeness, stressful situations, overcrowded stores, and traffic. I know DC is not special. There are many cities that have all of these characteristics. I think my perspective stems from me living here too long. I am over this place. If someone told me that I could move to Colorado tonight, I would rush home and pack up everything, get the cat, get the man, and head west!

One day, more than likely in the next couple of years, the husband and I will move to Colorado. It is not a matter of "if" but "when." Both of us want out of the DC area badly. We just need to get our business in order, get the house ready for the market, and have a viable moving plan. He and I actually looked at several High Country homes a couple of years ago and we were greatly inspired to make our moving dreams reality.

Until I live in Colorado, I have to focus on the positive and "keep my eye on the prize." I need to start saving money and cut back on my vintage purchases. I also need to take a deep breath and remind myself that all of this is temporary. The husband and I will be there soon enough.

(Above is an acrylic painting I did depicting North Main Street in Breckenridge, Colorado. I know it's not that great, but it hangs in my office and it reminds me that everything will be fine.)


  1. Lady Betty: I feel for you. Years ago, we escaped the city and headed to the mountains of New Hampshire, where I spent most of my adult life. It's like a mini-Colorado, with smaller mountains, of course. From NH, it took a long time to find a place to re-locate. We ended up in laid-back St. Augustine, which is a little warmer and a writer's paradise. But the city? Can't do it! My wife and I never regretted one second of our move. If I told you what we gave up, you would think we were nuts, but the quality of life was so much better that the trade off was not even close. My friends are still dying at their desks. Want some unsolicited advice from a virtual friend? Escape!!

  2. Nice painting! It really does look like Breck.

  3. oh I know that feeling so well. I haven't been on vacation since I started my business nearly 3 years ago now, I NEED a break but it's not going to happen any time soon, time wise or financially :o( So I feel your pain!

    We don't live in a particularly fast paced environment although we don't live far from London so experience it often. I'm in that phase of my life where I want some change, I think we need to do some planning too!

  4. I feel the same way living in London, I find myself becoming a much harder person than I ever used to be. You make me want to escape to Colorado too.

  5. are quite the artist! I love your painting. I think it captures Colorado beautifully.

    Second...don't ever hesitate to whine with us. We've all done a bit of whining ourselves in our blogs, and it's so therapeutic.

    There's nothing more stressful than being in an environment that just doesn't fit who you are as a person. So I get your pain. Thankfully, both you and your husband are in agreement that you want out! Hang in there...
    - Susan

  6. Thanks, everyone, for your lovely comments and support! Also, thank you for letting me vent! I really appreciate it!

    JJ: I hope the husband and I are able to "escape" sooner rather than later! That is great that you have been able to live in neat places! I have been in Virginia my whole life and I am done!

    Nicole: Thanks for the compliment!! I had taken a picture on Main Street in Breck about 14 years ago and I decided to paint it about three years ago.

    Straight Talking Mama: It sounds like you can relate about needed a holiday! I, for one, am done with living in a fast-paced, busy area! I have been here since 1993 and I am getting weary of the traffic, the grouchy people, and the stress! I hope you can at least do a weekend mini-break one day soon! Sometimes just getting out of your local area for a day or two can be refreshing!

    Penny: I TOTALLY know what you mean about being "harder!" For example, I went to my hometown this weekend and I found myself getting easily annoyed whilst shopping and driving. My best friend told me "Girl, you gotta get out of Northern Virginia! It's making you edgy!" We both laughed and I relaxed but in the end, she is right!

    Susan: Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words and compliment! I love painting and I think I do okay but I want to improve my skills! Thank you also for being so understanding about me venting! I try to keep my blog super positive but the past week was madness! And you are right, I am lucky that my husband also wants to move! I can only imagine how I would feel if he wanted to stay! I will "hang in there!" I just need to be positive and focused!

  7. Colorado is a great place. I only moved here about 6 years ago but I really like it. The people are nice, the city is clean and its safe. I am not a snow bunny (I'm more of a beach bunny) but it is kinda nice to have snow for Christmas. And as for horrible drivers---my hometown was known for them. Here, they are so nice that even if someone does something illegal, like drive the wrong way on a one way, no one (but me of course) will honk at them because it would be rude. I find that kind of annoying but I guess its better than being surrounded by road ragers!

  8. Holly,

    Every time I visit Denver or the High Country, I get so sad when it is time to leave! I dread coming back to the East.

    As for the rude drivers, people here honk for the littlest things! If the light turns green and you do not "burn rubber" RIGHT AWAY, the driver behind you honks like crazy! You could delay for just a second and it's "HOOOOOOONNNNK!" I was cut off twice today on the highway and I did nothing. Let the buttheads be buttheads! I do not like honking or getting annoyed! There is too much of that already!

    Denver drivers and high country drivers are nice. I also like the fact there is less traffic in Denver! What a refreshing element! DC is number two in the nation (behind LA) for the worst traffic. When the man and I move, I will not miss it!

    As for snow, my friends in Breck told me is was snowing today and tomorrow they are getting more! Lucky ducks!

  9. I just love your painting! Thank you so much for sharing - and honestly, the first thing I thought when I saw it was "that looks like Breckenridge!" followed by wondering what gallery you bought it at :) I'd say this hobby is a keeper, and the only way to get better is to keep painting.

    I tend to get frustrated living in a small town in Iowa, but there are so many positives too and I tend to forget those!
    I can get anywhere in a matter of minutes.
    (Generally) people are tolerant of the fact that I drive like an old lady.
    We tend to forget to lock our doors at night and yet we are all still alive and not vandalized or stolen from.
    People are really really nice and polite.
    Thank goodness for the internet though, or I probably would go crazy!

    It's all a matter of perspective though. Talking to my Dad the other night and he is just miserable about the impending four-lane making it's way towards Breckenridge. He still laments the addition of stoplights and yes it's been snowing for awhile now, but that also means so much snow that eventually you may have to crawl up and shovel your roof!

  10. Thank you for your comments and compliment, Moxie! I need to make more time to paint. I enjoy it and it's very relaxing!

    I would rather live in a small town than here! It is too busy, too many people in a dense area, and too much traffic. People are not very friendly either. I am from a small town just outside of Richmond, Virginia and I prefer a slower pace.

    So, your Dad is in Breck!? Lucky! I have friends who live there and they have been telling me their worries about the roads. Apparently, Dillon Dam Road was closed for a while due to construction a while back and my friends were lamenting the presence of traffic! I tell them, "Traffic!? I got some REAL traffic for you!!" Imagine going only 1 mile in 25 minutes on any given day! Not fun! I would give my eye teeth to have Breck's "traffic!" Lol!

  11. C'mon back! I'm in the Springs and I've always loved it out here. My family used to vacation out here (western slope and the Springs) and I've always felt like it was home. Now I'm actually living that dream!