Joanne Palmer: Mother Nature gives unexpected gifts |

Joanne Palmer: Mother Nature gives unexpected gifts

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

Everyone loves a bonus, and this fall we have Mother Nature to thank for giving us an extra big bonus of warm weather.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I think Mom Nature is kissing and making up to residents of Steamboat Springs for the wet and wild spring she unleashed after an exceptionally snowy winter.

Apology accepted.

Thank you for giving us a golden fall. It has been nonstop gorgeous for weeks. The leaves are incredibly beautiful, and there still are yellow patches lighting up the hillsides. The dog is sunbathing happily and rolling in the grass and leaves. The leaves seem to Velcro themselves to her coat until she shakes them off inside the house.

Nothing could make me happier.

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As I sit at the dining room table typing this, I can look out my window and see a beautiful yellow aspen tree in my backyard, and my sliding glass door is open. My two garden hoses still are out and ready for watering the grass seed we planted last weekend (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it grows next spring).

The countdown is on.

By the time you read this, however, the weather will have changed. And it's a mere 27 days until we transition from Bike Town USA to Ski Town USA. Is there any chance that Monday's Downtown Halloween Stroll will not be held in snow?

I'm feeling particularly nostalgic about Halloween this year. My son, 14, is too old to trick-or-treat downtown, and therefore, he has not issued his usual mock restraining order against me to stay away from his candy.

To keep my blood-sugar levels from plummeting, I found myself buying a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups at the store last night. I rationalized it as preventative medicine.

The memory of his first Halloween, when I zipped him into his green pea costume and carried him downtown, is so vivid to me.

It was freezing cold, and he had no idea what was going on, but I was thrilled for him to experience his first Halloween.

If I was a more organized mother, I suppose I would have a scrapbook of all of his Halloweens neatly organized and be able to refer back to them to remember his costumes. There might be a file on my computer labeled "Halloween" with all of his pictures in it.

I am not that organized.

If the photo isn't on my refrigerator, it might be buried in a shoebox in the back of a closet forever.

I do recall he was never anything traditional like a ghost, ghoul or goblin. His costumes always seemed to revolve around a battle theme, and he loved to carry plastic swords or nunchucks twice his size.

Instead of painting pumpkins at the Optimist Club event on Saturday, he helped me do the recycling. He is almost as tall as I am, and it's easy for him to drag the containers out of the back of the car and hoist them into the Green Machine.

We drove past all the kids painting pumpkins beneath sunny skies, and it made me smile.

"Didn't you win something one year?" I asked him.

"Second place."

I think I detected a brief smile before he said, "Are there any extra speakers around I could use for my iHome?"

Any time I get to spend with my teenager is a bonus — an unexpected gift, like long, warm fall weather — that I treasure and remember, whether it's in a scrapbook or not.

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