Mostly I just putter.

Doctoral student, amateur cook, beginning sewer.

Mostly I just putter.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Plant Heaven

I placed our orders for our fruit, vegetable, and flower seeds/plants tonight. So much fun! Names like chickadee, brandywine, jazz, and cherokee purple have been stuck in my head for weeks. I ordered dahlias, roses, tomatoes, squash, beans, and a variety of perennial flowers that are also drought-tolerant.

We haven't had much moisture this winter, so I'm hoping we get pounded during March--typically one of Colorado's snowiest months. I often joke that the state motto should be, "We need the moisture..." since every weather report ends with that phrase. I guess I'm ready for March because I know that springtime comes right after the snow.

New Year's Resolution

The Mister and I had two resolutions: 1. Have more fun and 2. drink more wine. This is the first time we've been serious about keeping our resolutions! Here are three of the wines we have discovered are tasty AND affordable.

I'm working my way into red wine, but migraines make that tricky. Even the wines that haven't been that good have been fun to try.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend In Review

Still mulling over the school problem, but I'm feeling much better about it. Spent some quality time with Nephew this weekend and his drooly grin makes me feel better instantly. It's exciting seeing all of the developmental changes that happen almost overnight. He's crawling, feeding himself Cheerios, and pulling things off shelves.

This weekend I posted my final grades for the Methods class I taught, and it feels good. Taking teaching contracts on top of my full-time job is rewarding but very time consuming. Time to relax a little bit more and enjoy my weekends again! I'm not on the calendar to teach until May/June.

The Mister and I discussed our vegetable garden last night--what we want to plant, when to get started, etc. We marked off an area in the back third of the yard (known as "The Dead Zone") last fall and put down layers of newspaper and mulch so the soil can be easily amended this spring. It's a trick I learned from Martha. So far the only plants we've agreed on are pole beans, tomatoes, and squash. In addition I will be planting a couple of rose bushes, dahlias, and perennials that have not yet been picked out. It's an ambitious plan, but if you've seen our backyard you'll understand our sense of urgency--we have an area known as "The Dead Zone"! The soil back there is like concrete; even the weeds find it unwelcoming.

What spring/summer projects are other people planning, garden or otherwise?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

School Blues

Well, my plans, they must change. I was originally hoping to get accepted into a doctoral program at the University of Colorado at Denver. I knew they'd shut the program down for a year so they could reorganize, but I never expected that the reorganization would turn the program into something that is completely uninteresting and not applicable at all for me. This information wasn't posted in time for me to re-think schools I had previously rejected because their deadlines have all passed. what? To say that I am disappointed is a huge understatement. My heart was all set and ready to go to school in June. Now the deadlines have passed (the other programs weren't as appealing, anyway) and I am stuck. I am seriously considering asking the Mister if we could rent out the house and move to a city that has one of the programs I'm really, really excited about. When I floated the idea to him this afternoon he wasn't totally horrified, so that's a start.

I am trying to be positive about this and accept that the program at UCD wasn't for me. I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to find a program that would be a better fit. I am trying.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What I'm Reading

I heard Sir Ken at a conference last year and he was so good I listened to him give the speech again on the TED website. A co-worker bought his book and loaned it to me, so I started it the other night. I'm only 30 pages into it but I'm already intrigued. Do you ever worry that the changes in technology happen so rapidly that you'll be left behind? Is the fact that my husband is a JAVA programmer and I am still not really sure what that is going to keep me from being a qualified employee in ten years? Do you worry that the education our children are receiving is completely inadequate for the kind of thinking they MUST be able to do to be able to be contributing members of society? So far this book has only made me more concerned, but I'm optimistic that Sir Ken has some good ideas about how to handle the future. One thing I do know...this book has already challenged me to be a much better teacher.

Steamboat in the Winter

We went to Phippsburg/Steamboat Springs this weekend to visit Sister, BIL, and Nephew. On Sunday the Mister and I went snow shoeing and stopped at the ranch to take a few pictures.

The cows in the meadow.
This colt was born 2 weeks ago.

One of the many old cabins on the property.

The schoolhouse - BIL's mother attended school in this schoolhouse (when it was on the other side of the valley) until the 8th grade. When the district stopped using it they sold the building to the ranch. It is now storage for the oldest, most decrepit white pickup you have ever seen. It's literally held together with baling twine. Photos of that may never be posted!

Further up the canyon, from our snowshoeing adventure.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Don't Bother

All of this recession talk makes me want to do something proactive rather than dwell on the doom-and-gloom that seems to permeate the news these days. Yes, times are tough, but how can we make something positive come from this? I purchased this book after skimming a few chapters thinking it would help me be more proactive about our finances and optimistic about the future. Unfortunately, the book was completely worthless to me. The budgeting information was standard fare, the tips for saving money were the same as everyone else's, and the completely random relationship advice was heinous:

"During a weak economy, expect that your man will be hit on by other women with alarming frequency. The vultures will be hungry and looking for a meal ticket from any man with a pulse and a steady income...Stay alert and aware of your husband's whereabouts, his social schedule, and with whom he associates" (p. 118).

The relationship advice only got worse from there. I should have stayed away from the book when the title made me wince, but there are so few books out there that take the approach that I'm wanting to believe: things are bad, they might get worse, but there are things we can do to come out OK on the other side.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Restaurant Review

India's Pearl: Yum. 'Nuff Said.

We are not very knowledgeable about Indian food, but I am now completely in love with garlic naan and chicken tikka. The bottle of wine we shared didn't hurt, either! I've been wanting to re-try Indian food after seeing Slumdog Millionare when we were in Sydney. The movie is attracting a lot of controversy, and I won't attempt to review it here because that's definitely not my gift, but I liked it. The Mister and I don't watch movies very often, but this was a movie that did not disappoint. In the interest of full disclosure, though, my tastes do tend to run toward movies that end in musical numbers!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm Also Reading...

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle has been the perfect book for where I'm at right now. Thought-provoking, but not too deep. Inspiring, but not so inspiring that I feel inadequate (if that makes any sense). This is Kingsolver's account of her family's attempt to eat only locally grown food or food they grow themselves. It also details the impact that our food choices have on the environment and developing countries--for instance, eating strawberries in January means that a lot of oil was burned transporting them for our consumption.

Her description of the asparagus growing in her garden makes me want to move asparagus to the top of the list of vegetables we plant this spring:
"The shoot emerges from the ground like a snub-nosed green snake headed for sunshine, rising so rapidly you can just about see it grow. If it doesn't get its neck cut off at ground level as it emerges, it will keep growing. Each triangular scale on the spear rolls out into a branch until the snake becomes a four-foot tree with delicate needles... (p. 39)"

What I'm Reading

One of the realizations I had on vacation was that the Mister and I have come to rely on meat too much for our protein. My blood sugar is dicey so protein is very important for my diet, and meat is easy. It's what I was raised on, familiar with, and easily obtained. Besides that, is there anything tastier than a New York strip? A recent trip to the library allowed me to pick up several vegetarian cookbooks to start experimenting with. This 15-Minute Vegetarian Recipes book has been a good place to start. This weekend we'll be trying our first recipe!