Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Frickin' Stock Show

OK, the sheep is a sheep and we all think that's pretty cool, but "pretty cool" is the tip of the iceberg in describing the blistering cold that comes with the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo.

Every year. Every SINGLE year. It's like some weird childhood myth all bulked up on reality 'roids.

You know how you remember every afternoon that year you got a swimming pool it rained -- not just rained, but thundered and lightninged^ -- but if you actually talk to your parents or check the National Weather Service charts, it only rained once every two weeks in that rainy, rainy year, and was, in fact, considered one of the worst drought years in the history of your history? 'Cause all you can remember is the days you couldn't swim because of the thunderstorms? Even though there were only apparently two all summer?

This is like this, only everything you remember is true. You can have a fairly balmy November, a downright mild December and *BAM!* The second the Stock Show comes to town, the mercury plummets.

And by "you," I mean, "I."

[SUMMARY: Global warming, my ass.]

Those of you who live in the midwest or eastern seaboard know cold. And it's that moist, creepy cold that worms its way in through the very stitches in your clothing. It's a cold propelled by winds off the lake.@

But that's a relatively warm cold. If there is water in the air, it's warm enough that it hasn't all gone to ice. Not necessarily warm, but warmer than.

Here in the high desert, it gets bitter. Not the good bitter, like 70% cacao chocolate, but the nasty, biting bitter of a 40-year-old with no sex life, no romantic prospect and nothing but a spoiled cat to keep her company in these, her twilight years.§

Dry cold will hurt you.

Dry cold sands your eyes and turns your lungs to styrofoam when you try to breath. It frosts your nose hairs and aches your ears. Your face shrinks instantly like like time lapse photography of mud after a summer cloudburst in the desert. You go, "Waaauuuggghhhh!!!" when you exit your car.

[SUMMARY: Take that, dead horse!]

It gets too cold to snow.

So many people think I'm makin' shit up again when I say that, but it's absolutely true. A simplified version, but true. The colder the air temp, the less the capability of the atmosphere to hold water. Now, you can have snow at very low temperatures, but uplift factors and upper atmosphere issues come in.

In Colorado, we have no upper atmosphere. We have precious little atmosphere, period. So it gets really cold and the water that already wasn't there isn't capable of hanging around and it doesn't snow.#

Or it spits these minute, stinging ice pellets.††

Damned unpleasant, that's what it is.

[SUMMARY: Someone got up on the cold side of the bed this morning.]

I did wake up to a newsletter from The Brown Palace in my email today:

A Bull in a China Cabinet at The Brown Palace,
Friday, Jan. 25

Well, not really a bull, or a china cabinet, but this is as close as it gets. The National Western Stock Show's 2008 Grand Champion Steer will walk down a red carpet to be put on display during Afternoon Tea in the hotel's lobby. From 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., catch a close-up of the steer and have complimentary photos taken with him.

[SUMMARY: Every fucking bitter cold winter cloud has a silver lining.]

In even brighter news, I did go to the mailbox this morning% and send many thanks to Cheryl, for rewarding me -- simply for having the most tasteless neighbours$ -- with a shiny copy of "Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair."

And to Annie B, my new best friend at Interweave, for gifting me a book of my own choosing from the Interweave library for all my hard work‡‡ on Sticks 'n' Stitches. The "Knitted Tams" book bears closer scrutiny at a slightly later date, but let me tell you I'm excited about the principles it illustrates.§§

Speaking of principles, I also got Barbara Walker's "Knitting from the Top," and I'd like to thank Taos Books for not thinking just because other people are charging upwards of $100 for the book, they have to jump off that building too.¶¶

You'll also be pleased to know I brought my camera AND yarns and knitting books to the office to photograph them in daylight. You know what this means: I can knock off a thousand words for every photo I post.##

[SUMMARY: Tomorrow may be a better day.]

Besides, knitting pictures always make it all better.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Dude, I should write for Parade or one of those low-quality anti-journalistic fluff additions to the Sunday paper. Did you see that stilted opening? The tortured segueway? The bad, bad pun? Of course, I meant it all *ironically*...

^FOOTNOTE (careted): Yes, I'm pretty sure that's a word.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Well, not so much an ass as a sheep.

@FOOTNOTE (atted): There's always a lake.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Maybe I'm projecting.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Which I did. And scared the nice, normal guy waiting to cross at the light next to me.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): It has to be really, really cold to actually be "too cold to snow," according to my research, but I've also been in 40-below cold. See: Gunnison (my home town and college stomping grounds). Also? "Uplift" might not be a technical weather term. I think I got it from a Victoria's Secret catalog.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): No-see-ums for the ice age.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Yea, me!

$FOOTNOTE (moneyed): I'd like to thank the Academy and god and my parents and the Kislings...


§§FOOTNOTE (twister! ): And the pretty pictures.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (gophers): As in, "If all the other bookstores jumped off a building, would you jump off a building too?" For the record, it was a very reasonable $18.50, deemed to be in "very good" condition and is actually in brand new condition.

##FOOTNOTE (pounding like a Stock Show wind): I said, "can," not "will."

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