365 Days & Counting

Well, I can’t believe it, but 5 days ago marked my 1st complete year in Colorado!  Man, time sure has flown by … guess that means I have been having fun, right?  🙂  I wanted to use this post as a reflection of my life so far in CO … what I have learned, what I miss, what is new, and pretty much what hasn’t changed much.  So let me get started.IMG_4281-2

I don’t want to frighten anyone by sharing how long it was that I lived it FL … but let’s just say that it’s been since I was 3.  Deciding to make the BIG move to Colorado was quite the adventure, as many of you can relate to.  For me, it was Tom and I, along with my mom and her husband … so the challenges were many.  Oh, and how could I forget my “live outside” cat … just getting over the plane trip was enough to fill most people’s quota of adventure.  LOL

For those of you who don’t know me personally, we decided to move to the small rural mountain biking town of Fruita, CO.  So I started out with the culture shock of moving from a large metropolis (Hollywood, (south) FL – population of ~ 150,00) to the rural community (Fruita – population of <13,000).  While we do have gas stations, grocery store, downtown shops, and even a hospital … most of our services are obtained about 15 miles away in the “big” town of Grand Junction, CO (population of ~ 62,000).  It took me 10 days before I heard a horn honk … and even then it was someone waving as they drove by to their neighbor.  LOL.  After about a week or 2 of being in Fruita, we had business to take care of in GJ and I told Tom I needed to get out of town, because it was too crowded.  Funny how quickly perspectives change.IMG_5713

Early on I learned that the year did in fact include seasons … and the colors changed and leaves were lost and snow may or may not fall.

I learned the sounds of farm animals, which I now call “neighbors”.  Changes of season were a welcome change for the better.  I learned that flights around the country often involved 4 hour drives to either Denver or Salt Lake City … both beautiful places so it could be worse.850_1084

I also learned just how precious water is … for it was something plentiful in south FL and I realized that my appreciation for it will now be forever changed.  IMG_4434-3

I learned that while I didn’t have to worry about hurricanes as much ….IMG_4808

…. I did have to pay close attention to wildfires.IMG_7896

One of the reasons why we wanted to move out west was the abundance of wildlife living there.  In Colorado, we have been treated to mountain goats, bighorn sheep, badgers, marmot, and pika as real treats … and also for birds, I was treated often to golden eagles, greater sage grouse, and Northern pygmy owls.850_6326-Edit-Edit-4DSC_8358-Edit-Edit500_1718

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Landscapes of mountains scenes are abundant and I have taken full advantage of indulging in them.

Some things never change and I find that I still get to photograph coyote, deer, fox, bald eagles, great horned owls, and screech owls (albeit western versus eastern species).

DSC_8740-2DSC_7876500_9375-Edit-Edit-4500_1291500_4553-4_DSC9055The above image showed a pair of eastern screech owls that called our neighborhood home and used our back yard to raised its young.  The image below is just one of the many western screech owls which call Grand Junction/Fruita home.  Actually, GJ/Fruita have the highest number of WESO in the country!  At least, on bird count days.  Yes, we take them quite serious here.DSC_2554-Edit

All of those subjects, whether species that are now new to me having in my home state, or those that I still have available to me, make me quite excited to be here.

I would be lying though if I said that there weren’t things that I do miss out here though.  No, it’s not really the beach, though sunrises on the ocean do pull at my heartstrings a bit._DSC1375-2

When I peruse the photographs of my friends still in Florida, I find myself myself missing things such as the grace of swallow-tailed kites …DSC_5426

… the beauty of the roseate spoonbills …20150501-DSC_9839

… even the red-shouldered hawks.  OK, I know I have red-tailed hawks galore, as well as other species, but it’s funny how your mind goes to things that you don’t have.  LOL._DSC2671-4

Such as the crested caracara ….

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Crested caracara surveys its surroundings during a rain shower – Kenansville, FL

… barred owls …._DSC2711

and alligators and crocodiles._DSC7989-4

Don’t even get me going with the burrowing owls and the sandhill cranes.  OK, most of you know that Colorado does have those birds, but it’s quite a bit different.  Let me explain … CO burrowing owls are quite timid and much less animated and social than our Florida ones.  Also while they are tons of sandhill cranes that migrate through here in the winter, finding them breeding and nesting here is so much more complicated.  How I long for shots like these ….

So, as they say …. sometimes you tend to want what you don’t have.  I don’t necessarily agree with that, for there are so many things that I really appreciate about being in CO.  There are just those few things that I wish I could see again, but I guess that’s what visiting home is all about.  😉  Least I forget, I do miss tremendously the family and friends that we left behind.  If anyone heads out to CO, please be sure to let us know.  🙂IMG_5455IMG_6696

I’ll leave everyone with another benefit of CO life … dark night skies, offering up gorgeous starry night skies like this …850_4473-Edit-4

Hope that everyone enjoyed this look back at 365 days of living as a Colorado resident.  I’m proud to be here.  🙂  Lastly, I want to thank Tom, my husband, for his support in this move and for all of his hard work in making the transition as smooth as possible.  ❤IMG_6689

Next up:  Local sights and sounds

© 2017 & 2018 TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy

http://www.tnwaphotography.com             http://www.tnwaphotography.wordpress.com

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A Final Act Of Kindness

As we approach the Thanksgiving Day holidays, I have been spending some time thinking about all of the things that I’ve been thankful this year … of which there is many.  Sometimes things that you’re thankful for are happy things, many of which have given you great joy or satisfaction.  Sometimes they are bittersweet memories that, though sad, have enriched your life nonetheless.  I’m sure that I’ve lost most of you by now with my rambling.  Let me explain.

See, all of my growing up years, I had been surrounded by dogs. My parents bred show dogs (miniature schnauzers and Norwich terrier).  For that matter, I even took their Championship status even further by showing them for obedience as well.  When my daughter was young, she begged me to get a kitten that Brownies leader had found.  That cat, Kahlua, was brought home and lived 18 years in our home.  We loved her, though she was far from a “needy” cat.

We had our fair share of strays pass through our yard … dogs and cats (bunnies too) … many of whom also were brought into the household and loved dearly.  Then there was a black cat, we creatively called “Blackie”.  He would hang outside under our RV and seemed to like being there.  On Halloween, 4th of July, and New Years Eve we would bring him into our porch, since you always hear those horrible stories about black cats and how mean some people can be to them.  Once in a while, he would get in a fight and injured and I would gather him up and take him in for treatment.  He was always very calm about it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAimg016We grew to love him too … well, the rest of my family did, but probably not as much as I did.  See “Blackie” and I had a special bond… something that I can’t explain.  We often wondered where he came from and if anyone knew where he belonged.img015dsc_0024After some time, we came across a flyer for a “missing cat” in our neighborhood.  Lost was a black cat, Malarky was his name, and he was easily identified by his extra dewclaw on both of his front paws.  By then, I had fallen in love with this little guy, but called the number to report that I might know where it was.  The owner was grateful, came over, picked him up, and got his shots renewed.  Before nightfall, there he was again.img_2566Eventually, the owner told us to keep him since he was always hanging out at our house anyways.  So that’s what we did.  He became a real member of the family and his name was  honored as Malarky.  He was such a character too.  Always finding himself a nice little cubby place to cuddle up in.  Whether that be the sink …img_0234… the “cuddle cup”…img_2405… the laundry basket…img_0452… or the arms of anyone who ventured into the house.  Little did they know that they were going to be his next “loving victim”.img_0204He also had a love affair with water.  Can you imagine that?  This cat would actually join us in the shower!  He just loved the way water would drip off of your hand and would lap it up.  LOL.  Of course, he often hung out in the garden area as well.img_0455img_0456He just LOVED to drink out of the water sprayer and would just get covered in the spray.img_0694But when he was in the house, he was my boy, always laying in my lap while I worked at the computer.img_0469As he got older, he actually learned to love other cats, even my daughters two dogs when they would come over to visit.  I’m sure that they didn’t understand why all of a sudden, after years of trying to be his friend, he succumbed to allowing them to get close … without a gentle swat of the nose.img_0853I can’t explain why but he became my “soul kitty” … with his unconditional love and incessant purring … so very loud!  When we would go away on trips, he would only last about 2 minutes and 3 pats on the head before it would start.  I loved it so much I have recordings of it.  🙂img_0825Over the years, Malarky became slower, thinner, less cognizant of his surroundings … other than his desire for my lap and love.  His eyesight began failing, his hearing was impaired, and his mobility was weak and limited.  He could no longer jump into the sink, the laundry basket, though he would still jump into my lap, but without my assistance he would fall and sometimes I never saw him trying.  I was devastated at watching one of my best friends, my feline soul mate, and my source of unconditional love, struggle so.  I had to make one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.  I made the dreaded phone call to Lap of Love – an in-home veteranian hospice where the process could be dealt with as much love and security as possible.img_0992img_1051-2It’s been 6 months tonight.  It was a sad, but honorable, heartfelt emotional moment.  I haven’t been able to talk about it since then, and honestly I still can’t without tears filling up my eyes.  I know that he wouldn’t want me to be so sad, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.  I still feel as though a piece of my heart is missing.  I hope that he knows that I did the right thing … I think that he does.  They say that it’s the final act of love that you can do for your “best friend”.  So glad that we can do that for our pets … I wouldn’t have wanted him to suffer.  Our pets are like an extension of our families … the “furry” ones.

Coming full circle from the beginning of my post, one of the things I’m most grateful this year, and for the last 14+ years, was having Malarky in my life. There’s a reason he chose me to live with.  He taught me many things and filled me with much graditude.  I’m so glad that we have so many wonderful and happy memories to call upon.  I hope that this blog post helps me in celebrating his life, rather than mourning it.  As he runs freely, without pain and suffering, having crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I know that we will find each other again when the time comes.  Until then MooMoo, know how much I loved you and miss you everyday.  RIP Malarky ❤fullsizerender-2If you ever find yourself in the difficult position, I fully endorse Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, Inc.  They were highly professional, kind, compassionate, and understanding.  I couldn’t have done it any other way.

Next up:  More from the Butte

© 2016  TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy

http://www.tnwaphotography.com