Mostly I just putter.

Doctoral student, amateur cook, beginning sewer.

Mostly I just putter.

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.

Friday, April 10, 2009


On March 30th I sat down at my computer to register for my first class toward my doctoral degree. The fall schedule opened that day and I wanted to jump right in. Picked my class, went to register, found out there was a registration hold. Already?!? I haven't even started yet! Turned out I needed to submit proof that I'd had an MMR immunization before I could register.

OK. I know I was probably young when I had this shot, so the first course of action is to call my mom. Her response: "You're 35 years old, the pediatrician died 20 years ago, I have no idea where your immunization records are! Who would have guessed you'd need proof NOW?" Good point, Mom. It does feel a little strange to be asking the question.

Long story one knows when I had my MMR, but it had to have been done because they were required when I started kindergarten. My insurance provider can draw blood and submit a letter that I have the immunity to those diseases, therefore I must have had the shot. The University of Wyoming will accept this as good enough. I'm already cheating on grad school!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Big Boy

A few days old and seven weeks premature, then one year later with his great-grandma.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


A couple of weekends ago my friend and I took a container gardening class at Echter's Garden Center. I wish I'd taken more pictures of their displays, but I did remember to take a picture of our handiwork.

Something about this spring has made me absolutely crazed, desperate for green and moisture. Denver is so brown and dead (ugly) in the winter and lately it's been getting to me like never before. The late spring rain/snow showers have been nice, but our yard is greening up so slowly that I can hardly stand it. I've never been known for my patience, and this year is no exception. I guess containers of flowers are going to have to tide me over for a few more weeks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Donna Hay

SIL was in the States a couple of years ago and brought me a copy of Donna Hay's magazine--I liken Hay to a cross between Ina Garten and Martha Stewart. I loved the magazine but couldn't (easily) find it in Denver. Of course I forgot to buy the most recent issue when we were in Australia (ack!) so I've been without Donna for quite a while...until the other night at Barnes and Noble! They had one copy for $10, hard to justify for a magazine, but I'm going to think of it as an investment. The recipes are wonderful, but my favorite part is how elegant and simple the staging of the photographs is. A lot of magazines are doing layouts that are busy and it's hard for my eyes to focus in on individual elements. Hay's magazine balances nicely between the overall effect and the beautiful details.

Monday, April 6, 2009


We've had the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling a couple of times--at home and at restaurants--and it's never disappointed me. The label is boring (bah!) but the wine is good. It's my current "go to" wine when I'm unwilling to take a risk in a restaurant.

(As an aside, I rarely take risks on wine when we go out to eat because I know I'm shelling out for one glass what I could pay for almost a whole bottle at the liquor store. I'm very adventurous at the liquor store because whatever I don't like will get frozen and used the next time I need wine for a recipe. You're supposed to use wine when you cook that is good enough to drink, but I'm cheap.)

I bought a bottle of the Michelle Moscato Frizzante in preparation for my birthday and it was excellent. The Mister and I both enjoyed it immensely and now I'm contemplating buying a case to have on hand for a couple of special events coming up this summer. Actually, now I think I'm going to have to stop at the liquor store tonight on the way home...I can't wait for the next special occasion!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Trying to keep my pretty alive in the house until May when she'll be ready to go in the flower garden.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

'Roo Spotting

(Part of my ongoing trip down memory lane--our trip to Australia over Christmas)

On our night in the Hunter Valley we jumped in the car to go 'roo spotting. They're much like deer in the States--they wander into people's yards, are a menace to drivers on the highway, and are most easily spotted at dusk. We saw our first 'roo within two minutes of getting in the car. These are the two best shots.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We have no budget for travel this year. None. (Well, maybe a little bit of money for a side trip for me and my BFF)! Nothing like a lack of funds to make you want to plan another trip, so here are some destinations at the top of my list:

Italy - This is a no-brainer, in my opinion. Good food, lots of wine tasting, sunshine, and long stretches of beach. I don't require anything more than that on vacation.

Brazil- I spent a summer when I was 16 and I'm desperate to go back. The Mister is not so enthusiastic. I'll keep working on him. Or maybe go without him?!?

Germany/Denmark - He's German, I'm Danish, time to go check on "our people".

Poland - I had a slight obsession with Marie Curie when I was a kid and I've always wanted to go to Poland as a result (Grandma had given us a set of Value Tales books and she was the subject of one of them).

Image found here.