Mostly I just putter.

Doctoral student, amateur cook, beginning sewer.

Mostly I just putter.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just One More

I love Doris Day and this is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Makes me feel nostalgic and content. Enjoy!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We leave in approximately 36 hours so I won't be posting any more during 2008. Hope everyone has a fun, relaxing holiday season!

Photo via spud murphy

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Finished The Last Queen last night. Of the historical novels I've read lately, this was one of the best, even if the writing had moments of pure crap. The story was engaging and didn't have a contrived ending. The story of Queen Juana of Spain is one I was not familiar with which made the novel even more fun to read.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holidays Abbreviated

We're leaving on Wednesday so we're trying to fit in as much family and friend time as possible before Christmas. Last night was quality time with the Nephew (and his parents, but they're just the vehicle by which Nephew is transported for quality time with Auntie), today with Best Friend and In-Laws, tomorrow night with some folks from church. Getting together with Mom and Middle Sister when we return in January. The to do list is getting shorter and the suitcase is getting heavier--almost time to leave!

The photo is from Paddington, the neighborhood with Sister-In-Law lives.

Photo by aschmidt1978

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Heard Around the House

Mister's Cousin: "What do you suppose differentiates a muffin from a cupcake?"
The Mister: "I'd give muffins the freedom to be more savory..."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Camera Fun

The Mister at play

Happy Birthday!

Father-in-Law's seventh birthday was on Pearl Harbor Day. (In a strange coincidence, the Mister's aunt, Mother-in-Law's sister, was born that day.) The family had the radio turned off for Father-in-Law's birthday party so the family didn't hear about the bombing until the next day. Several members of the Mister's family served in the war or have had a lifelong interest in the war. Father-in-Law taught Modern European History (specializing in WW2) at Metro State for 30+ years. His textbook is still in publication. A couple of his brothers served in the war. The Mister's cousin is an amateur historian and has three books published about the war in the Pacific(here, here and here). I have found, on more than one occasion, that my love for history has come in handy at family gatherings!

Happy birthday, Father-in-Law!

New Camera

Our old camera was starting to fade. It was my first birthday present from the Mister (I turned 30!) and it ended up being one of the best presents I have ever received. Although I still love that camera it was starting to be unreliable and I didn't trust it to hold up to the rigors of our trip. I'm planning on taking a lot of pictures! My little stash of teaching money went to a new camera, a Sony Cybershot. It's perfect--small, has all of the features that I wanted, and it takes lovely photos. Examples to come, just as soon as the memory card that I forgot to order the first time arrives!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday night

We got excited that our favorite yogurt is made just down the street from us and the lids are recyclable. Dear heaven, we are boring. What's worse, having the conversation or posting it to your blog?

...May be time to get a hobby.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Have started to think about my New Year's resolutions. I don't really believe in them, but there are a couple of things I want to accomplish in 2009. The most important goal for my professional life is to get into the PhD program at the University of Colorado at Denver. There are several hoops I need to jump through (improve my score on the GRE, take a statistics class) before the April application deadline. It's doable, but I need to get serious in January.

I think I'm posting this to the internet now so that it's out there and I can't change my mind! I've been wanting to do this for a while, and if I'm going to advance in my career I can't put it off any longer. Time to do one last degree!


Still on a history kick...Franklin and Lucy is interesting (I'll probably finish tonight) but it's taking me a long time to finish. Haven't had very many blocks of time to read with the holiday and travel preparations.

Have been debating for weeks about what/how many books to take on our trip. We're flying from Denver to Las Vegas to Honolulu to Sydney (gah!) so I'll have plenty of time to read. One big fat book or several shorter books? What if the big fat book is boring and I'm stuck over the Pacific with nothing to do? What if I finish all of the shorter books that are in the cabin with me and I can't get to the books I packed in my checked luggage? These are REALLY stupid questions (good grief, how self-absorbed can one person be?), but at the root of all of this is my anxiety about being cooped up in a plane for all of those hours. I'm not exactly nervous about flying, but I don't deal well with boredom and being stuck in one place. I think I'm anxious about becoming anxious! I think I'll end up taking the big fat book and buying other books during the layovers as I need them. Could be expensive, but definitely worth it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thanksgiving went off without a hitch! Today I am basking in the glow of a clean house and full fridge as well as the amazing Duck victory last night. Life is good...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a lovely holiday! We're at the in-law's on Thursday and hosting at our house on Saturday. I'll be doing the bird using the Real Simple recipe that has never failed me. The crescent roll dough is in the fridge (homemade--I'm a snob), the pickle assortment has been purchased, and the napkins are in the washer right now. We're just about ready!

Just a few of the things I am grateful for:
  • The Mister, who has been my rock during a very difficult year.
  • My family.
  • The roof over our heads--after years of moving it's so nice to know that I don't have to stockpile copy paper boxes! Although, I am finding it's a hard habit to kick...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Danish Dinner

Tonight we're having the In-Laws over for a "traditional" Danish dinner. My people are five generations removed from the Old Country so I'm not sure how traditional it really is, but our family has been making aebleskivers and frikadeller for as long as I can remember. Aebleskivers seem to very trendy now that Williams-Sonoma has them featured in their catalogue. In my opinion, if you're not making them in an old cast iron pan that used to belong to your mother, they're not real aebleskivers. Pumpkin filling? Pecans? No! Just butter and raspberry jam with a side of applesauce.

Image via ssplam

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Madness

Thanksgiving is just around the corner...I have tomorrow off so I will be spending some time grading papers and the remainder of the day prepping to have two celebrations in three days. Fortunately I am only hosting one of them.

Less than four weeks until our trip! The list making madness has started. I started packing about a month ago when it was time to take the summer clothes out of the closet. The Australian dollar is tanking (sorry, Australians!) so our penguin-seeking jaunt actually got a little cheaper. More than anything I'm looking forward to quality time with the Mister, our family, and gazing at the ocean for long, thoughtless stretches of time.

Image via Suburbanbloke

Monday, November 10, 2008

Histories and Mysteries

That's all I've been reading lately, it seems.

I'd give them all a B+. Bennett's work is always well-researched, whether you agree with his politics or not is another issue. The Johnson mystery was a strange mix of Asian, American, and Native American cultures but he made it work. Kanafani's story gave deeper insight into Mid-East politics (which I badly need), and Redemption was a scary trip into the future. It emphasized post-9/11 politics and civil liberties.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Math Hasn't Gotten Any Easier

My math phobia is well-documented. My high school algebra teacher told my mother in a parent-teacher conference that I was "mathematically fragile". He was being generous.

Looks like I'll be re-taking the GRE in the spring as my quantitative score wasn't quite high enough. I'm disappointed but not at all surprised.
I hate math. Somehow I think the test could sense my hostility and decided to punish me for it.
Photo by Akash K.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tasty Treat

The Mister bought one of these chocolate bars for me for Valentine's Day a couple of years ago. They've since become a staple of our diet and it doesn't feel like a special occasion unless we have one to celebrate with. They're made just up the road from us in Boulder so I like to think we're doing our part to support the local economy when I eat one. If you have a Whole Foods or King Soopers near your house, run out and buy one right away. You will thank me. They are excellent snacking when you are bogged down in a book.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Great Pumpkin

Who's the cutest Halloween baby? Why, Nephew is, of course! Love, love, love this picture.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

All To Myself

I have the house all to myself in...I can't even remember how long. The Mister and his cousin are out for the evening so I'm headed to the library to get books, then the grocery store for some ice cream, and then home to spend an evening spoiling myself. Maybe even paint my toenails if I get ambitious.

Man, did I ever need this.

Photo by Chris Gen

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Accessories Make the Outfit

This season's hottest fashion statement? An "I Voted" sticker proudly displayed on a University of Oregon t-shirt. Early voting is awe-sum!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Side Trip to Tassie

We're taking a 3 1/2 day trip to Tasmania. I have a co-worker who just moved back to the States after 3 years there, so she's given me lots of recommendations. It looks like we're going to be spending most of our time in Hobart and Port Arthur. Port Arthur was one of the penal colonies, now a museum. Our day at the museum includes a 20-minute harbor cruise and a ghost tour!

One of the big draws in Hobart is the Salamanaca Market. This website has several pictures. There's also the Sydney to Hobart yacht race--our plan is to watch them depart, then fly to Hobart and maybe catch their arrival.

Less than two months to go! Mentally, I've already checked out. In a rare moment of self-preservation I ordered my swimsuits and am now awaiting their arrival.

Photo by Nathanael B

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pictures from the Summer

Big goofy dog named Gus. Part Lab, part St. Bernard, part big slobbery mess. I wish I could claim him as my own, but he belongs to the Mister's aunt and uncle.

Sunflowers, goats and pumpkins at Miller Farms. I have a fondness for all three, but especially goats.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Instructional Methods

Wow! Word gets out that you want more teaching experience, and contracts start coming out of the woodwork! Starting in January I will be teaching Instructional Methods. It will be good experience but also a good reminder--my methods are rusty! I'm also co-teaching another Educational Research class starting in 2 weeks.

No word from the student from the previous teaching post. I had withheld her grade so she would be more motivated to call me. Unfortunately, she's disappeared from the class. I've followed up with an e-mail to see if she's OK.
Image via h-e-d

Monday, October 20, 2008

Teacher Quandary

Huh. How do you handle a student who uses a racial slur in their history paper? For reasons of confidentiality I can't go into the details, but I believe this student used the word out of ignorance. Still. It is common sense to avoid using a word in a paper if you don't know its meaning. My other thought is that she might have quoted an historical figure and didn't cite the source--in sum, she plagiarized. What's worse?

I have asked this student to call me but haven't heard back from her. The disadvantage to teaching online is that you are at the student's mercy to respond to your requests for communication.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Perfect Dinner

After a hard day of work in the yard, in the Mister's opinion there's no better dinner than...

...pancakes and Reduced-Sodium Spam.


Image by Lotse

Friday, October 10, 2008

Australia Update

Everything's booked except a rental car in Hawaii (we have a layover) and purchasing a new swimsuit. Ack! I'm putting that off until the very last moment when I'll frantically order 4 on the internet because I can't find one in December in the stores. None of them will look good, but one of them won't look too bad, and that's the one I'll be self-consciously wearing on Bondi Beach.

I know myself well.
Image by Molecule Mike.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I'm A Slacker

I've been reading a lot, just not posting much. Several projects/dreams are starting to come together this fall, both personally and professionally, so there probably won't be a lot of time to post. Either that or I'll be the most faithful poster ever because sometimes my compulsion to do everything can't be tamed.

Finished three excellent books at the end of September: unChristian, Eat, Pray, Love and The Bell Jar. As of this writing I've finished 48 of my 52 books for the year.

Friday, September 19, 2008

L'Engle Contradiction

I often list Madeleine L'Engle as one of my favorite authors. Upon further reflection, though, I'm very particular about which types of her books are good. I love her young adult fiction, but not her adult fiction. I love her non-fiction autobiographies, but I can't stand her poetry, except for one piece that has more sentimental meaning than literary value for me. Certain Women had its moments, but for the most part I think I'll stick to L'Engle's fiction for children.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good Times

Our weekend was jam-packed! Friday night we went to a concert at Swallow Hill (my anniversary gift to the Mister). Swallow Hill is Denver's folk music society. The venue was tiny, just 40 people, but the performance was a lot of fun. We'd been wanting to see a concert there since we moved to Englewood and this was the perfect introduction. (image via Stelling Banjo)

On Saturday I went to Miller Farms near Longmont to participate in their end-0f-season produce clean up. For $12 they drive you around their fields and at every stop you hop out and pick organic vegetables to take home. I went nuts! I came home with 15 lbs. of potatoes, 10 lbs. of onions, 6 lbs. of tomatoes, 5 lbs. of green beans, 10 ears of corn, 6 lbs. of red and golden beets, 1 kohlrabi, and a small sunburn. I'm canning the green beans and tomatoes, and the potatoes and onions will go in our basement for storage. Not sure what to do with that many beets, but whatever we can't use will be distributed to friends. I've never canned before, but the dilly green beans look good in their jar. The tomatoes are going to become marinara sauce and get canned later this week.

Saturday night I went out with my dear friend to our favorite Vietnamese restaurant conveniently located just down the street from our house. We had an excellent dinner and a long evening of conversation. She is currently in the middle of adopting a sweet girl from Kyrgyzstan, so if you have a moment please say a prayer that the adoption moves along quickly. Winter is coming and they are expecting rolling power outages. We don't want our girl to get cold!

More updates on my reading later this week...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Four Years

The Mister and I were married four years ago today. It's hard to believe that we've been a couple for almost five. We've been together long enough that I'm having trouble remembering what life was like before him. It's been good--really, really good.

Tickets for a concert have been purchased and we have reservations this weekend at Solera (a restaurant we've never been to). I'm ready for a nice relaxing weekend to celebrate us.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Weekend In Review

Sister-In-Law and Cousin-In-Law were both in town. SIL is visiting from Australia and is getting married at the Oxford Hotel in September 2009, so there were lots of wedding preparations this weekend. We got a chance to see the ballroom at the Oxford on Monday and it is beautiful.

Didn't do much reading, but did get some good recommendations at the family gathering on Sunday. The Boss came in to work with a stack of 20+ doctoral dissertations that he offered to let me read, but I took a pass. I'm bored, but not that bored.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Non-Laboring Day!

My plan for the weekend? Sit around and watch this video!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Don't Waste Your Time

I'm embarrassed that I picked it up, more so that I read it. I had ten minutes to pick up books at the library and I just grabbed it. The worst part? This was the best book in the bunch!

One realization that's come from my 52 book challenge is the sad acknowledgment that there's very little good fiction out there. It's been so long since I've read something that inspired me. I love to read non-fiction, but sometimes it would be nice to read a novel that makes me sing a little bit inside when I finish it. They're few and far between, that's for sure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I've been spurned by the Obama camp. Maybe because I'm an Independent?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The DNC is coming! I'm not a political person (registered Independent for a reason, thank you very much) but this is a big deal for Denver. I'm glad my adopted hometown has the opportunity to host an event this big. I have put in for tickets to see Obama give his acceptance speech and I'm supposed to hear by Friday if we got them. Brother-In-Law will be insanely jealous (hee, hee!) as he is also running for political office. Downtown is going to be an absolute zoo, but I told the Mister we had to go at least one evening. The people watching is going to be superb. We don't live that far from the Army-Navy surplus store, so we'll swing in and pick up a couple of gas masks and be ready for our evening of revelry!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sewing And Other Nonsense

Finished a skirt from this book two weekends ago. It turned out pretty cute, which made me sad. I didn't expect to do so well so I bought cheap cotton fabric to make it! Now that I (sort-of) know that I'm doing I'll spend a little more money next time on the fabric.

This has been a busy week. I spent two days in Vail for a conference for work--tough life, I know! For whatever reason it was really hard to get back into my routine when I got home on Wednesday night.

The weekend holds a lot of promise: my peach mule is delivering 18 more pounds tomorrow. Huzzah! We're also going to Colorado Springs to visit the Mister's cousin and see a movie.

Happy Friday, all!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Yampa Valley Beauty

Today we approached the ranch from the south which took us past Stagecoach Reservoir.

The ranch property includes several homesteads in disrepair that date back to the 1850s to 1890s.
There's also a graveyard of old farming equipment.

BIL is in the middle of haying season. Here's the "finished product" before it gets stacked for the winter.

The Yampa River provides irrigation for the hay and water for the livestock.

It's always relaxing to visit this oasis in the mountains.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Home on the Range

The Mister and I are off to Steamboat for the weekend to visit Little Sister and BIL. We have a hectic weekend of nephew-cuddling, hiking, BBQing, and sleeping in planned.

BIL's family has been ranching in the Yampa Valley since the late 1800s. His Grandma is the Grand Dame of Steamboat and is regularly profiled in magazines and newspapers. BIL's family is committed to preserving the ranching traditions in an area that has very quickly become a popular tourist destination and a town where you have to have at least a million dollars to get into the housing market. Here are a few pictures:

Little Sister and BIL got married in the meadow. This is where they had their ceremony.

The cows live on some very valuable and beautiful real estate.

This is the original homestead (built in the late 1800s). It's known as "The Bunkhouse". Little Sister and BIL lived there for a year before they bought their house. You can see the chinking in between the logs. It's heated in the winter by a cute little cast iron stove.

This is one of the barns on the property. It's in a bad state so they use it only for hay storage. BIL hangs Christmas lights off of it during the winter because you can see it from across the valley.

I will take more pictures this weekend. Grandma's house (the main building) has a wonderful story and history, too. Then of course there's the hot springs, the marmots, T-bone the crazy ranch's a good thing our camera holds lots of pictures!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I ate the last peach this afternoon for a snack.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our House Is A Land Of Plenty

We ate our first home-grown tomato last night. There was no time to photograph it--after the first amazing bite we demolished the poor thing in about 10 seconds. Good thing it only took 2 months to grow! There are several more tomatoes on the plant so we should be able to harvest more in a few days.

On my way back from faculty training in Grand Junction last week I stopped at the fruit stands in Palisade and bought a whole box of peaches. It's been so fun to deliver a few here and there to family and friends! You have to stand over the sink to eat them because the juice runs down your chin. It's absolute heaven and we've been eating 3-4 per day per person. The huge box that I thought we would never get through is emptying quickly.

The Bing cherries were on sale at the grocery store, so I bought 2 pounds and took them to a breakfast meeting this weekend. The combination of sweet and sour makes me so happy. I love this time of year--our trip to the farmer's market on Saturday yielded sweet corn, green beans, beets, and more tomatoes to hold us over until the next batch of our own are ripe. It's so easy to eat healthy food when it's abundant and flavorful. Besides good food, the farmer's market also provides me with prime dog-watching! There's an English bulldog that attends regularly that, if its parents don't watch it very carefully, might end up coming home with me.
Photo via hamron

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thoughts On America From A Former Canadian

Reading A Reporter's Life reminded me of how woefully ignorant I am of world politics and events. My respect for Peter Jennings was cemented during 9/11--his calm and steady presence as he reported the news made it easier to digest what was happening. On the rare occasion I watched World News Tonight the amount of research he obviously put into his broadcasts was compelling.

It reads like a biography, but it is a compilation of interviews with over 80 of his friends, colleagues, family members, politicians, and professional rivals. There's a deep respect for his high journalistic standards and thorough understanding of world affairs.

My favorite quotation came after he became an American citizen:

"I aspire to be a good American. And I aspire to stand for the best American values. That's not easy. It takes work. I know of no people on Earth who are more generous, who are more open, sometimes to the point of distraction. I know of no people who mean better...So I aspire to be a good American means to see the best of America, but it's also to see the bad, and to work in a responsible way to try to make that which is bad better, and to relish the best in the country. It is an exceptional country... At its best, it's a joyous experience, a really, truly rich experience" (p. 260).

He was also apparently vain about his appearance (from an interview with John Leo):

"Peter loved ties. He particularly loved ties his friends were wearing. You'd go out to dinner with Peter and he'd admire your tie, and you'd say thank you and try to get back to the conversation. No, no, Peter would extravagantly admire your tie over and over until you took it off and gave it to him. And that's how he acquired a great many of his ties. At his fiftieth birthday party, we dummied up a slide show of all the events of his life that were likely to be embarrassing...The one that got the biggest laughs was--he turned fifty in the Dukakis year--was of him stripping the tie off Dukakis during their interview. Everybody roared over that because every man in the audience had lost a couple of ties to Peter. He did send me six ties one year, to apparently make up for it. They were the six most hideous ties I've ever seen in my life" (p. 240).

Stories like that are why I like biographies so much. The public persona is very rarely interesting to me--I like to see the goofball, dorky, and just plain strange sides of people.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mostly Unpacked

Now that we've been in the house for a year and we're feeling (mostly) settled, I thought I'd post a few pictures of my favorite features.

I'm pretty sure I got the idea for the fabric/embroidery hoop display from Alicia. Everyone on the internet has done it--I also saw it on the Martha Stewart show--but it fit two criterion for me: 1. it was inexpensive and 2. it used up some of the scraps that I had accumulated.

Don't tell the Mister, but I really like the neutral color of our paint. My heart was set on painting but the Mister's heart was set on leaving well enough alone. Although the color reminds me of every rental and flipped house we saw on the market, it does make the room feel really warm. It also makes our black picture frames pop.

The big picture window in the living room still manages to make our tiny Christmas trees (real tree = expensive!) look big and beautiful. The wood floors have a lovely honey color to them.

All right, enough of the real estate lovefest. I don't dare show you the downstairs or the backyard!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Finished on Sunday

I'm glad I didn't read the fly leaf of Out-Takes from a Marriage until after it was finished. Ann Leary is married to comedian Denis Leary, and that information would have changed my perspective while reading this book. The main character (Julia) is married to a famous movie star, lost in his fame and never really establishing her own identity.

Although I don't know anyone who is married to someone famous, I know a lot of women, including myself, who struggle to find their place independent of their husband. When do my needs become more important than his needs, and vice-versa? If we're on opposite sides of an issue, at what point does compromise come into play? Are there times when compromise should not be an option? Leary does a good job illustrating the dangers of not thinking carefully about decisions made as a couple.

Finished on Friday

I have never been a fan of Chris Farley. I thought his "Matt the Motivational Speaker" character was terrible. His humor just never did anything for me. The Mister has the opposite reaction to Farley's "work", so I checked this book out for him. After reading the introduction (and crying a little) I was hooked. His sense of humor may never have resonated, but the struggles and pain he experienced certainly did. Even as jaded as I am about Hollywood, fame, and movie stars, I'm always struck by how troubles don't skip over the famous but instead seem to latch on.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Open House

We've been in our house one year! Tonight we're finally have our Housewarming/BBQ. I took this picture on the day we closed. We signed the papers, grabbed our keys, swung by Chipotle to get some dinner, and then had our first meal in our new house.

The last year has been incredibly difficult--we've lost and grieved so much. I've never experienced anything like it. Working on the house and the yard has provided a much-needed distraction. We already have good memories and many, many reasons to be thankful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yucca Yucca Yucca

Huh. So that's what it looks like when it blooms! This is in our front yard. Good to know...