...We have snow!
Not as much in Durango as up in the mountains, but man, were we worried when we landed at the Durango airport and it was raining! There was no snow on the ground, and it was about 40 degrees at night. I thought, "We could be in CA still for all I know!" Luckily, Nanny and Manny live at 8,000 feet and it's a little colder up at their cabin than down on the mesa where the airfield is.
So... out of the car and into the snow we went! Wet, heavy snow, but snow just the same. Perfect snowball snow! So perfect that Manny didn't even make it through the front door without receiving a gentle little THUMP on his leg... snowball courtesy of yours truly. C'mon, do you know how long it's been since I threw a snowball? We had snowball fights on tour in Greece and Colorado in '06 and '07 with my college choir, and before that, it must have been '95!
Travel went well today; crowded in Long Beach getting out, but calm in Phoenix and calm here in Durango. People were mostly in a decent mood. I busted out my guitar and started playing some classical guitar and Christmas Carols in Long Beach as there were a few flights that were severely delayed and the frustration index was running a bit high. Plus, there were just A LOT of people crammed in not a large space, and you know that we Americans need our space. There was a really cute little girl (outgoing and cute just like Ali) who came up to me and started singing Christmas Carols and I followed her on guitar. It was cool because I didn't have the music to either, but thanks to my theory training at Chapman, I could figure out what key she was singing in and what the chord progression most likely would be based on traditional western song structure. It was nice to use my skills so that a little girl could hear herself sing. Good stuff.
It is GREAT being together with family. We haven't seen my nephews Jake and Harrison or their dad since the spring of '07. Their dad, Jon, plays a MEAN guitar. I am a singer who plays guitar, but he is a true blues guitarist who sings. Man, is it fun listening to him and playing with him. Tonight, he taught me "The Rain Song," by Led Zeppelin. I know that song BY HEART, but could never figure out how to play it. Turns out it is in a really, really weird tuning. Again, I really give thanks to my training at Chapman, because I was able to follow him faster than the last time he and I played together in '07. It was amazing to hear me and my guitar create the magical notes and chords from that song that I have listened to since I was 16. If you have never heard the song, it is DREAMY and relaxing. So good. Once I get it under my fingers, I'll start playing it on my classical guitar and turn it into a relaxation piece at the hospital. It is so smooth and peaceful.
Jake and Harrison are HUGE! They have grown SO MUCH since we saw them last. They are the sweetest kids. I look forward to horsing around with them in the snow these next few days and going on the Polar Express with them Friday night! It's just great to be up here. I'm sure my mom is delighted as well to have us all together under her roof again. She loves to entertain and she loves having her children together around her, so this is a double bonus for her - for all of us. It's gonna be a good vacation I can tell!
Possible bad news on the skiing - Purgatory is SOLD OUT of lift tickets. We are going to investigate another place called Wolf Creek Pass tomorrow for an afternoon session. If Tracy and Jon can get the kids in a afternoon ski school, we're in, if not... I'm gonna have to find a way to get myself there! Wish me luck, and of course wish for some fresh snow to fall tonight as well!
Thank you to all that responded last night. Again, it means the world to us when you comment, even if you just say, "Hi Ringgold family, I/we are still here with you." As you think about what you are grateful for this holiday season, would you share your favorite "Bella Moment or Bella Memory" with us and the rest of the blog family? It would be so nice to hear how Bella put a smile on your face or touched you in some way. That would be the greatest Christmas present to us.
Thanks for being here.