Mostly I just putter.

Doctoral student, amateur cook, beginning sewer.

Mostly I just putter.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Life in Bullet Points

Summer is slipping away from me...and not in a "we've done lots of fun things" kind of way. The Mister and I will be sitting down with the calendar soon and blocking off weekends where we don't schedule anything except "FUN!".

On a positive note, my flowers are blooming and going outside to check on them every day brings me a lot of joy.

Remainder of summer resolutions:
* Have my morning coffee in the backyard every weekend.
* Do at least 3 more hikes.
* Hit the farmer's markets at least 3 more times.
* Pray more, stress less.

Can you tell I've been grading lesson plans this morning? My objectives are specific and measurable!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Life in Bullet Points

  • Flowers are blooming in the yard!
  • Almost done with my marathon of working weekends. I'm on the home stretch!
  • Finished Brain Rules, using it for a class I'm teaching next weekend.
  • Sun tea is awesome.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What I'm Reading

Brain Rules is fascinating. I'm only about 1/3 into it but I can hardly put it down. This book came highly recommended by a fellow educator during a discussion about multiple intelligences and differentiated learning. Medina goes into the current research into how our brains work and how to improve our cognitive abilities. The best part is that he explains the science in a way that a non-science person can understand. I'm excited to incorporate some of what I've learned into the next class that I'm teaching this weekend!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I was tagged a long time ago by Kimberly but I'm finally getting around to doing my part:

I am to list 7 awe-summm things about myself!

1. I am persistent--if there's something I want to know/do, I keep at it.
2. I am a good teacher. I work at constantly being better.
3. I am a good gift giver.
4. I read a lot. Research is my passion, so that helps.
5. I am making good use of my gifts/talents.
6. I'm a good wife/friend. I work at the relationships that are important to me.
7. I strive to focus on the positive - I'm not always successful, but it is always a goal I am pursuing. In the last 6 months I've really been working on contentment even when life is stressing me out. The Mister and I are incredibly blessed.

Monday, June 8, 2009


Hastily shouted instructions during the hail storm yesterday:

Me: Mister! You move my car under the carport! I'm going to try and save the tomatoes!

Mister: It takes two people to move the cars--you have to help me!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pastoral Scenes

In that last picture it almost looks like the cow was posing for me. It was perfect!
Life is crazy right now so blog posting is light. Teaching two graduate classes and working full-time seemed like a good idea in February but now I'm not so sure! However, I hate to pass up opportunities to hone my skills and the reward has been truly delightful students.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Springtime is when the calves get vaccinated. Both the mamas and the babies put up quite a fuss about being separated. We were careful not to mention that during the fall they castrate and brand!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bottle Feeding

This baby was one-half of a set of twins. It was obvious that the Mama was not going to be able to take care of both the calves, so this one has to be bottle-fed. He is a very persistent, knock-kneed little fellow and I fell in love with him. I let him suck on my fingers and I don't think my wedding rings will ever be the same!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Letter Regarding Adoption

Dear Senators Michael Bennett and Mark Udall:

I've written e-mails (more than once) and I called both of you today, but I am hoping that whoever monitors your names on the internet will see this blog post, too.

Please attend the CCAI meeting on Friday, May 29th and advocate for my friend Kimberly (resident of Centennial) who is one of the 65 waiting families who is trying to adopt from Kyrgyz. Her sweet girl has been waiting to be adopted for two years. It's time for her to come home to a loving family in Colorado. Both Kimberly and Moonbeam need you to step up and start pressuring for these adoptions to go forward.

Thank you for your assistance in this very important matter.


Fish Creek Falls

These are Quaking Aspen, known as "Quakies" by every Colorado native except
The Mister, who had never heard the term. The two non-natives in the group (Little Sister and I) gave him a hard time about that.

This is skunk cabbage. It really does smell like skunk, which is too bad,
because it's a very pretty plant.

This little fellow had no fear. We were within 4' of him and he was not phased at all.

On Friday we picked up Nephew from his sitter's house and drove into town to meet Little Sister and BIL for dinner. BIL was delayed (always) so we had some time to kill. Little Sister had never been to Fish Creek Falls so we grabbed a snack and drove over. Nephew has just learned to walk so we needed a short trail--he gets heavy to carry and we didn't have a stroller with us. It was just as well that we had to take it slowly, because the scenery was worth the extra time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Steamboat Springs

We had a delightful time in Steamboat this weekend. I will be posting pictures/stories for the rest of this week.

Whenever we go to the ranch I feel a compulsion to take a lot of pictures. Steamboat Springs has changed so much just in the last 10 years that I've been going, and it feels like there is a way of life that is being lost. More restaurants, hotels, and traffic and fewer glimpses into the agricultural origins of the town. Skiing and tourism have run out most of the family farms and ranches. BILs family has been in the valley since the late 1800s so they have deep roots, but the way they run their business will eventually have to change. There's no way around it. So every time I go I try to document their life as it is now so there's a record.

I'm no Pioneer Woman, but I'm doing my part to maintain an account of ranching life in the Yampa Valley.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


We're in Steamboat this weekend with Nephew, Little Sister, and BIL. Pictures and stories to come! Hope you all have a delightful weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thinking in Bullet Points

  • Class was awesome. Students were a real joy. Second half at the end of this month.
  • Bought a new sewing machine. Aaaiiiiyyy! Very excited. More to come...
  • Headed to Steamboat this weekend to see Little Sister, BIL, and Nephew. Weather should be gorgeous, hoping to hike Service Creek.

Friday, May 15, 2009

No Time

No time for blogging...teaching my class this weekend! Aiiyyyy! I'm still in the "I'm going to make a total fool of myself!" phase which will drive me to perform Herculean feats of instructional design until 2/3 of the way through the Saturday session when my adrenaline will wear off. I always design a group activity for Saturday afternoon because that's when I mellow out. When I finally relax and enter the "OK, this is going well, I'm not an idiot, these students might be getting their money's worth after all" phase. This teaching business, it's an emotional roller coaster.

Encouraging image for the weekend--the flower pot I put together a few weeks ago at Echter's is blooming and looking gorgeous.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Nerdery Increases

My dad was at our house this weekend and suggested going to the Star Trek movie. There was an awkward pause after this query because just the week before I'd been mocking the movie. Relentlessly. Specifically mocking The Mister and his desire to go to the movie. I believe I said he'd have to take his other wife if he wanted a spouse to go with him. Dad suggested it and we had nothing else to do, so I swallowed my pride and went to the Star Trek movie. In fact, I waited in line even, because it was opening night (oh, the shame) to see the movie that I had made fun of.

And I liked it.

A lot.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Recent Conversation

The Mister: You have a problem.

Me: I do?!?

TM: Yes. You do. I was in the shower this morning and couldn't figure out why there wasn't any room in there. I realized it was the abundance of bottles I started counting.

Me: Yes?

TM: Yes, I started counting. I counted four bottles for me, which came as a surprise. That's too many. Then I started counting your you want to know how many bottles you have in the shower right now? Right at this moment?

Me: I'm not sure I do.

TM: SEVENTEEN! You have SEVENTEEN bottles in the shower!

Me: I don't see how this is a problem.

TM: How do you have seventeen bottles in the shower?

Me: I'm a girl.

TM: mutter...mutter...Can you maybe get rid of some of the bottles?

Me: I'll do what I can.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Peony Heaven

The peonies have really taken off in the last week. We might actually get blooms off them this year! My little flower garden is showing promise, even after a couple of late snows that definitely damaged some of the more delicate plants.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Saturday morning was the opening day of the Cherry Creek Farmer's Market! Of course I did not take a single picture, but still, it was great fun. Produce was scarce, but the abundance of pecan sticky buns at the various bakery booths made up for it. On the way there I had a moment of pure bliss--the spring air coming through the open car window was cool and fresh and reverberated with the classic sounds of Boston's "More Than A Feeling". Frankly, I don't think life gets much better than that.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Springtime in the Rockies

These are all from our neighbor's tree. She teaches youth piano and voice lessons, so as I was taking these pictures I got the pleasure of listening to a youngster trying to play Neil Diamond tunes on the piano.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Even More Progress

The top image is a corner of our yard from last summer--it's hard to tell, but that area is completely dominated by pampas grass (bah!), mint, and the grape. Earlier this spring we cleared out the grass and grape, and I've been slowly pulling out the mint and other weeds. Last weekend I was able to get 10 bags of mulch to start covering the exposed soil with newspaper and mulch to keep the weeds from returning. I ran out of bags before the job was complete but I'm so happy already with the way that corner is looking. Not sure if the pampas grass will survive, but with the mint pulled out at least now it has a fighting chance.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tres Chic

On Saturday we went to Tres Jolie, a tea and gift shop in Old Town Littleton for an early Mother's Day, late birthday party with my Mom. The sandwiches and scones were delightful, and as you can see, so was the atmosphere. Very girly and very fun!


Spent about four hours in the back yard this weekend pulling mint and composting (more to come on that). To reward myself I picked up some annuals from O'Toole's and got one of my new Brandywine tomato plants into a pot. I had a lot on my mind this weekend and several hours of hard work went a long way toward restoring good mental health.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


The Mister's birthday is a few weeks from now and I like to start planning early. For the last few years I have gone with a theme for his party--usually Star Wars. He still has the poster on his office wall, why shouldn't he have a Star Wars party? This was last year's Darth Vader cake. The Death Star was made of fondant.

Yes, we are that dorky.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I first read Parker Palmer's The Courage to Teach a few years ago at a conference--the conference was boring but they had a nice bookstore, so I made good use of my time. I'm teaching Studies in Education next month and this is one of the required texts. It has received mixed reviews from the student in the past for being too "touchy-feely". I can appreciate those comments, as sometimes Palmer gets a little too sensitive for me, too, but I really appreciate his passion for having authenticity in your teaching. When I was in the classroom I felt very fractured--there was a disconnect between what I loved doing and what I was having to do in the classroom to meet state standards. Palmer has the guts to come out and say that it damages our students, but it's just as damaging to our teachers.

I believe I will open my first class in a few weeks with this Palmer quotation:

"When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are. I will see them through a glass darkly, in the shadows of my own unexamined life—and when I cannot see them clearly, I cannot teach them well."

Monday, April 27, 2009

How I'm Feeling This Week

(Letterpress print can be purchased from clementinepress if you're feeling the mood that strongly you need it on your wall.)


SIL is hoping to use these bird vases for her wedding in September. I liked them so much MIL bought me one for my birthday. They will look beautiful this summer with my red and pink dahlias!

Guitar Practice

This one came out rather dark, but it's my favorite.

The Mister has a classical gig (his first in a long time) coming up on 5/8, so there's a lot of practicing going on at our house. It's a very pleasant way to work in the evenings.


Woke up to 6" of snow this morning. Colorado in the spring = crazy.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Ballatore Gran Spumante: We had this at Easter and it was just too sweet. After reading a few reviews I had to agree that it probably would have been very tasty in a mimosa.

Ravenswood Zinfandel: This was recommended by a co-worker as a good "starter" red wine for someone who is just starting to learn about reds. While it was tasty, I still wasn't able to drink more than a few sips before it just got to be too much. After poking around on their website, though, I think it would be fun to visit their wineries! When it comes to red wine, it seems like I'm just going to have to keep trying until I acquire a taste for it. My BIL would be thrilled if I could learn to like reds--he's starting to develop quite a collection in the basement.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Hey, did you know that you're supposed to have an MMR booster every ten years? I feel like an idiot, but I did not know that. Got my blood test results back and the nurse practitioner said I had no immunity to those diseases. Yikes! The protocol is to have a shot, then wait a month, and have the second shot, which puts me in June/July before I can prove I have immunity to those diseases and can register for school. The fact that I've had doctors appointments every 6-8 weeks for the last 18 months (long story, nothing serious) and no one ever mentioned this makes me more than a little bit annoyed, but what can you do? I'm on the docket to get the first shot next week...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Follow Up

I posted a few days ago about purchasing ollas, but this article gives instructions on how to make your own. Granted, they don't have the elegant round shape, but they're being buried in dirt.

Hmmm...maybe a weekend project?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Summer To Do List

I am starting to make a list of activities for our summer stay-cation:

Cherry Creek Farmer's Market: This is my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning. I like to get there by 9 to get a parking place. I will finally remember to bring my camera this summer to take pictures!

City Park Jazz: We always say we're going to go, then by Sunday night we're too tired. This year we are going to make it!

Hike Hanging Lake: I have lived in Colorado for almost ten years and I still haven't done this very popular hike.

Rockies Game: I don't like baseball very much, but it's fun to go to a couple of games in the summer. I like to sit in the Rock Pile, eat a hot dog, and watch the drunk people. The sunsets at the evening games are awesome, you just have to be careful of the afternoon thunderstorms Colorado is famous for.

Film on the Rocks: Head out to Red Rocks Amphitheater and watch an old movie with hundreds of very enthusiastic participants. I've seen Braveheart with be-kilted fans and Monty Python movies surrounded by coconut-clackers.

Elway's Summer Concerts: Summer doesn't officially start for me until the first Wednesday night concert. The Cougars are out in force and the people-watching is spectacular. Last year I tried to keep track of the number of pairs of tasselled loafers and I lost count.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I'd never heard of Schmaps until they contacted me through my Flickr account. Apparently they liked one of my pictures from Australia and they asked to use it for their new guide for Sydney. I received notice this weekend that mine made the final cut!

Friday, April 17, 2009


This year I would like to purchase a few ollas for the garden. Ollas are unglazed clay pots that you bury in the ground (leave the neck above the soil), fill with water, and the water seeps out of the pot slowly to keep your plants continuously watered. This article has a great description and pictures of how they work. It looks like you have to re-fill them every day, though. I don't water that often, but maybe I should be?

This gardening business is tricky...
Image from here.

Wash Park Walk

Recently we went on an afternoon walk at Wash Park, one of my favorite places in Denver. You can see from the photos that spring has definitely not arrived even if the weather was beautiful. In a few weeks, however, it will be one of the loveliest places to take The Mister for an ice cream and a stroll.

An example of the posh real estate that borders the park.

The flower beds are lovely in the summer. The park also attracts a lot of very large bats at night. I've never seen them anywhere else in Denver.

Can't wait to sit on this bench when the trees have leaves!

The Boathouse--the Mister and I were to have our reception there, but they don't book it for holiday weekends. Bah!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Florists in Denver

SIL asked me to do some research on flowers for her wedding as she's not coming State-side for another 2 months. I guess the florists I've contacted don't know that we're in a recession, as they're not good about responding to e-mails or even showing up for appointments! You'd think they'd want the business? We were supposed to meet with someone on Friday and she didn't come. I called and e-mailed her while we were waiting and she still hasn't responded. Another flower shop had ridiculous hours for appointments that were not remotely manageable for people with jobs. So far we've met with two that seemed competent and professional, but I'd really like to get a third bid. Any suggestions?

Image via Whimsical Chris

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Images From Easter

The cupcakes are Ina's recipe; I added the jelly beans to the top to make them festive.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pizza Pizza, Vegetarian Style

Last week we made homemade pizza as part of our ongoing vegetarian adventure. I used this recipe for the crust, then we topped it with caramelized onions, fresh tomatoes, and basil. The pizza was very, very tasty but we were a little disappointed that the crust was tough. I'm guessing the problem was that I didn't let the dough rest long enough. We'll definitely be making this again. The sauce was also homemade: mix together crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. It makes enough sauce for two pizzas, so I put the other half in the freezer for another day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

MIL's Birthday

I have been trying to find an old-fashioned metal watering can for my MIL for over a year. Most places sell those crap-tastic plastic ones, and they're not cute at all. I recently discovered O'Toole's Garden Center and fell in love. Not only did they have the old school metal watering cans, they had them in a wide variety of colors! I may have to go back and get myself a sassy red one...


Top to bottom: Parrot in the lobby of our hotel in Hawaii (we had a lay0ver); penguin in Bicheno, Tasmania--very trick little buggers to photograph; wallaby at Freycinet National Park, Tasmania; unknown bird in Sydney; unknown flower in the Hunter Valley; unknown bird in the Hunter Valley; kangaroos in the Hunter Valley.