5 Loves and a Dud!

Lorrie at Big Burn Snowmass 2018-19.JPG

We just got back from skiing in Snowmass, Colorado. The snow was fabulous and the weather was single digit COLD, but I was still smiling as I skied down all the Big Burn runs. It was a dream come true to share Snowmass with my husband and daughter.

Yes, the Big Burn ski lift dumps folks onto some of the best ski runs on the planet. I LOVE those big wide open spaces that beg for huge turns and high speeds without feeling like I’ll crash into someone or fly off a cliff and kill myself! Skiing is one of my greatest loves — thanks Mom and Dad for getting me on the slopes at a young age.

Another one of my loves is teaching Family of Writers. 2019’s Family of Writers starts this Thursday so in addition to washing lots of long underwear, I’m also prepping materials for the class. This means I’ve got to DO all the writing that I ask kids and parents to do, too.

Last month, I stumbled upon a fun writing invitation from lizandlisa.com. They ask writers to describe 5 loves and one dud. Brilliant. That’s what I’ll be doing with my writers this week. I can’t wait to hear all about their loves and duds.

What are things YOU love?

What are some big ole duds?

Here’s my list of buzzkill duds:

  • People who text while driving

  • Breaking the yoke when I’m frying an egg

  • Forgetting coupons

  • People moving my knickknacks out of their perfectly curated spots

Here’s a quick list of my loves (if I do this every year, it will be fun to see how my list of loves and duds changes over time!):

  • Skiing in Snowmass

  • Looking for our resident hawk every morning

  • The crook of my husband’s neck (right side!)

  • Over easy egg on sourdough toast (runny yolk required)

  • Driving up HWY 395 to Mammoth

  • The sound of wind in a pine forest

  • Snuggling with my daughter on her bed, and then getting smothered when our golden retriever joins us

  • BIC Roller Glide decor 0.7 pens

But the love I chose to write about for Family of Writers is the hill behind our house.


The hill behind our house is a slice of wild smack dab in the middle of California suburbia. Recently, as I’ve discovered bird watching in my own backyard, I’ve come to love the hill that begins just beyond our backyard wall, rising steeply to a row of homes that line the entire top edge. I’m terrible at judging distances, but when we see people standing on their decks, they seem to be about an inch tall, and I’m never worried they can look down into our dining room and see what we eat for dinner.

Our hill looks like an ordinary plot of dirt and rocks and weeds, but whenever we pause and act like urban naturalists doing field research, we almost always witness fascinating moments – coyotes, gophers, raccoons, skunks, bunnies, hawks, owls, doves, and songbirds doing what they can to eat, drink, and raise babies.

But most of all, I love our hill because it makes our backyard silent.  Since we live in a compact, 50’s track home neighborhood with LA’s skyscrapers in the distance, and a big high school just down the street, I’m always surprised by this modern day miracle. 

Yes, I hear cars bottoming out when they go over speed bumps too fast.  Yes, I hear the gardener’s lawnmowers, but for decent stretches of time, I can sit in our backyard without hearing a man-made peep.

It’s quiet enough to hear the wind whispering through my neighbor’s pines, echoing the same sound I remember hearing in Yosemite forests.  It’s quiet enough to hear blue jays telling the song birds to flee the feeders so they can dine alone. And even though we don’t have a view of the ocean, the fog rolls over the top of our hill like waves, reminding me the sea isn’t too far away. 

Sometimes I long for a home with an ocean view, especially when Facebook is littered with pictures of perfect Palos Verdes sunsets, but on clear days, when the sun is setting and the weeds are tall, they shimmer in the light, becoming waves of prairie gold.

And that is always enough for me.

Always writing,


P.S. 5 Loves and a Dud is the writing recipe for this month, and I’ll be posting the official recipe next week.