Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Catching up

One of the great things about living in Denver is the convention center. Not that the architecture is that stunning or anything, but it's really really big. Big enough to host a ton of conferences every year that bring people from the four corners of the globe to hotels only 15 minutes from my front door.

Last night a friend from high school was in town for a conference and instead of going out with his work friends to celebrate a 40th birthday, he decided to come over to my house. I was ecstatic. However, between work and the dog and the required weekly, never-ending church planning meeting I didn't get to my house until 8:30 to see my friend.

I can't really describe how awesome it was to shove open my constantly-stuck, old, squeaky front door and see my friend sitting on my couch chatting away with the ear doctor. Is there anything in the world like a hug from an old friend? Not for me...

Instead of being a gracious host and having a delicious 5 course meal prepared to welcome him to our home, we , of course, went out. Me, the ear doctor, a friend who knew me best when I was 17 years old, and our awesome 17 year old roommate all sat around a table at our favorite pizza place. We laughed. We reminisced. We teased each other until laughter-induced tears threatened to jump from the corners of my eyes.

I felt the amazing combination of being that free, unencumbered 17 year old girl and the happy, secure(ish) person I am today.

After eating, and with bellies frighteningly full we walked home as old friends. I thanked him for calling me and reminding me that I do have a past full of amazing people who I will always cherish and love.

And then I teased him MERCILESSLY for having to leave my house in time to make the midnight showing of eclipse.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Best of Missouri

I grew up in Washington state. I attended school in Utah and now I live in Colorado. Aside from the occasional trip to Orlando for my Disney fix I haven't spent much time outside my wonderful little westerner existence.

This last weekend my whole family made the trek out to St. Louis to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday together. From there we all loaded up the cars and drove out to Branson, MO.

Have you ever been there?

It's fantastic.

Sure, it's hot and humid, but I've never seen such beautiful green rolling hills. The Ozarks took my breath away. The people are all about God and family and America...which I thought would seem cheesey but ended up feeling heartwarming and, well, true.

Family IS important.

And America IS pretty rad.

And you know what else they have in Missouri?


I'd never seen these things in real life before. One night we spent a good hour running around my sister's back yard with my family...all of us helping the three year old catch them with her butterfly net so we could trap them in a glass mason jar. We helped her catch those wisps of fire; those bugs who fleetingly illuminate the world with their personal glow.

And it made me think of the importance of moments spent all together. These days our moments together seem so quick, impermanent and beautiful. I find my camera glued to my face when we're together. It acts as my big butterfly net, bundling my family memories together so I can keeping them in my memory-card jar.

These moments light up my life with their incandescence.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


So remember how we have a 17 year old girl living in our basement? She's awesome.

Last night I was home alone, watching old episodes of grey's anatomy while laying on my the dark. About half way through the third episode I heard a key turn in the front door lock. I looked up and saw our boarder come bouncing through the door.

I said hi and turned back to my show.

But she, as always, wanted to talk. She jumped up and sat indian style on the foot of my bed.

After closing the computer and flipping on the lights she proceeded to tell me all about her day. She'd spent the day with her best friend at six flags. She'd never been on a roller coaster before so she told me about her first time. She told me about the jealous, mean girls they'd met while standing in line for a ride and how they'd almost got in a fight. She told me about the cute guy who caught her eye in line and how they tried to find him the rest of the day to get his number, but he was nowhere to be found.

And she made me laugh.

The kind of wild girl-sister-roommate laugh that I haven't had in a long, long time. And it made me remember college. Made me remember staying up late with roommates prank calling people. Made me remember talking about our crushes and taking online personality quizzes.

I am so glad that she is living with us and that I get to relive the stage of life that she's going through right now.

It's made me want to buy a tube of pink lemonade lipsmakers and make a "hot guy" picture collage to tape on the outside of my binder.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

3 down, a billion to go

This weekend the ear doctor and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary! I can't believe I've been married to my best friend that long...then again it feels like we've been together forever. To celebrate we went to the Highlands street fair. I love a street fair. The people, the food, the crappy stuff you can's all awesome entertainment for me. The people from the butterfly pavilion had a both and let the ear doctor hold Rosy, their tarantula.

Gross. But he loved it.

The street fair was in our neighborhood, on 32nd street...which is a really cute street of old shops that has experienced some awesome revitalization over the past 5 years. One of the old Victorian houses on the street has been turned into a day spa. I'd seen it ever since we moved to the area, but never really been inside. Well, the ear doctor surprised me with a couples massage.

I'd never really had a full massage before, but let me tell you, IT WAS AMAZING. It put me into this kind of brainless trance. I left the spa feeling more relaxed than I ever thought possible.

Then, the ear doctor whisked me away for a picnic. I had no idea where we were going until we started driving up Lookout mountain. Our wedding reception was at the Boettcher Mansion 3 years ago and Saturday evening we returned. Someone else was having their wedding at the mansion, so we found a bench a little distance away. He'd made the picnic out of all the food we'd had at our wedding, and even remembered to get me a mini eclair. We had them at the reception, but I was so busy talking to people I never got to try a single one!

After eating we took a little hike to appreciate the view of the city from atop the mountain. It was breathtaking.

(I got sap on my fingers, so wasn't that thrilled. Also, hiking in flip flops? Bad idea)

Before we left the mountain we sneaked as covertly as possible over to the mansion to take a picture. I really wanted to get as close as possible, but we were both really worried about interrupting the wedding that was taking place. This is as close as we got to the building:

So for our anniversary the ear doctor 1) got me a massage 2) planned a romantic and sentimental picnic 3) let me take some self portraits (even though he hates taking them) and 4) got me my favorite flowers.

Pretty sure I'm the luckiest girl on the planet.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ummm, thanks...

It's official: the ear doctor has turned me into a BBQ snob.

Before I met him I was perfectly happy to show up to a BBQ where the offered fare is burgers from frozen patties and cheap-o store brand hot dogs. But now? So not the case.

Take, for example, my work summer BBQ which is going to be held at lunch. A few weeks ago an email came out inviting us out the grass for a free lunch and we got to pick what kind of entree we wanted reserved for us. I thought, "oh, that's nice to give us an option." That is, until I saw my options. I could either get a veggie burger or a chicken breast.



I know, I should just be grateful that I'm getting anything at all and overjoyed by how nice it is to have lunch provided, but, really? An overcooked chicken breast isn't really what I envision when I think BBQ.

A BBQ to me is now about a beautiful hand-shaped thick patty of 80/20 ground beef topped with extra sharp cheddar, spinach, balsamic caramelized red onions and a smear of chipotle ketchup.

Or better yet, BBQ is my man pulling out a huge smoked pork shoulder that he's been nursing for 12 hours in his backyard smoker. It is then shredded and topped with his latest BBQ sauce creation and consumed with a heaping side of pure reverie.

See what he's done to me?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I had a oreo cookie blizzard

At lunch time today I got a text from my almost 18 year old bff. She asked what the ear doctor and I had been up to the last couple of days. Like most teenagers, 52 hours is way too long to go without updating her on the condition of my life.

And I responded, "Not much...just working and walking to dairy queen for a treat at night"

I felt so lame and boring.

But I just realized that my response wasn't really accurate because last night I taught a 12 year old girl how to make spaghetti sauce.

Not sure if I've told you this or not, but I've been toying with the idea of teaching some of the kids in our church how to cook. Jaime Oliver has totally taken possession of my soul and made me deathly concerned about the well being and eating habits of the younger generation.

And so I had a 12 year old over last night to make spaghetti sauce. I chopped and she cooked. The look of guilty terror in her eyes when she squeezed the daylights out of a whole canned tomato and the guts inside the fruit squirted all over my kitchen was priceless.

When she clumsily dumped the bowl of chopped onions into the hot oil-filled pot I was bent over in two..the same way I bend when I've thrown a bowling ball and it veers into the gutter. Like my leaning body will in some way change the direction of the ball, or engender confidence into her little insecure wrist.

And the excitement in her eyes when we tasted the sauce to determine how much salt to add at the very end was so pure and genuine. She was so proud of what she'd made. So excited to learn more. So thrilled to have done it with me.

That's the effect that cooking good food has on people. It has this crazy ability to bind the souls of the chefs and warm the hearts of the eaters.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I still can't believe I did it

The grossest thing EVER happened to me at work today.

I refuse to wear my name badge on a lanyard around my neck. Those things rub the back of my neck until it is bright red and raw, so I wear my badge clipped to my side of my shirt.

Well, today as I stood up from going to the bathroom my arm snagged on the top of my badge. Time went into slow motion as the slim piece of plastic slowly flew into the disgustingly full porcelain basin. As it splashed in and started to sink to the bottom the thought of just letting it stay there forever crossed my mind. I did not want to reach in and fish it out. I considered it dead and gone.

But then I thought about me leaving it in there and the next person coming to use the toilet and them seeing my smiling face peering up at them from the bottom of the bowl.

And then I thought about having to tell the security guard what happened in order to get a replacement tag. Embarrassment filled my soul and I just couldn't do it.

So my cat-like reflexes reached down and plucked it out from the one corner that hadn't yet submerged.


You read that right.

Today I stuck my hand in the bowl of a public toilet....shudder

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rockin it

You know what I really love about the summer?

Well, there are tons of things to love about summer: my birthday, eating popsicles everyday, awesome pop songs that get stuck in your head (ie that new Katie Perry song), yada, yada

What I'm really loving today is wearing white pants. I just can't bring myself to wear my white pants any other season. Which is a real shame because nothing else in my entire wardrobe makes me feel as awesome as wearing white pants. I always feel put together and sharp when I wear white pants. Every single day I wear them people look at me in wide eyed amazement that I dare wear something so easily ruined, tarnished or damaged.

And I stare right back at them and proclaim loudly and with great confidence that, "yes! I dare to rock these white pants come what may!" All the while my confidence-filled soul beams with the kind of radiance that the cruel winds of fortune can not even dream to mar.

That's the kind of affirmation I get from wearing white pants.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heads up

This weekend it rained. It rained and rained and rained.

That almost never happens in Colorado.

As a result we stayed in. We napped, I baked, we watched movies and I read. I'd been seeing this book everywhere so I picked it up at Costco and dove right in.

Have you read it? Why didn't you warn me that it was scary and suspenseful and creepily graphic? I was totally freaked out last night and couldn't get to sleep until I'd watched the end of The Blind Side at 3 in the morning.

This book should have the following warning on the title page: "Crazy engaging book about creepy, scary people that should not be read if you can't even handle watching the dumb movie I am Legend all the way to the end."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alaskan Cruise day 6 and 7: Victoria and returning to Seattle

Our last port of call was Victoria, BC. We were only there for about 4 hours, but I totally, utterly love this place. After our honeymoon we spent a long weekend on the island and I just fell in love. As we took the bus from the ship pier to the Butchart gardens I stared out the window and day dreamed about getting some land and starting a bed and breakfast on the island. A place where I work all day in the garden grown fresh gorgeous food and then serve it up on a platter to my charming and interesting guests that come to visit me everyday.

When we got the garden I was pulled from a day dream into a waking dream. If you've never been to this garden you should put it on your list of things to see before you die. It used to be a gross old mine for a concrete producer. After they'd dug huge trenches out of the ground the family who owned the company, the Butcharts, covered their mining with the most stunning garden.

After touring the place by twilight we boarded the bus, drove back across the island and got on our ship for our last night at sea. In the morning we woke up to the Seattle sky line. We packed and disembarked. It was a sad parting between us and the beautiful Golden Princess!

We spent the whole day around Seattle. We went to the market and saw that both the Copper River Salmon and the gorgeous peonies were in season! Two of my favorite things in the world

My mother-in-law saw the German Chocolate doughnuts and thought they were something special.

As luck would have it, the city was hosting the Folklife Festival at the Science Center so we got to see tons of musicians getting the bluegrassy/street performing acts on.

I've never seen someone who is better at playing the washboard than this character!

All in all, a pretty perfect trip!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Alaskan Cruise Day 5: Ketchican

By far, Ketchican is my favorite port of call. It's a small little pier and both times I've been there I've had an awesome time. We only had about 4 hours to check it out, so we decided to just do some shopping and see the lumberjack show.

A lot of people do a LOT of shopping at the ports of call on a cruise. Usually I don't really get into shopping on vacation. I can never really find anything that I really want to buy. And then i always kick myself because other people seem to get the COOLEST stuff while on vacation.

However, in Ketchican something strange happened. I saw my mother-in-law standing in front of a jewelry case eyeing some raw gold flake jewelry that had been panned out of Alaskan rivers. When I looked down I just knew that was what I wanted.

So I got me some earrings. And I LOVE them. You can't really tell from this picture, but they're rough and look like two perfect little corn flakes dipped in gold. I've worn them almost every day since I got them.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Alaskan Cruise Day 4: Tracy Arm

The fourth day of the cruise was spent entirely on the boat driving up a very narrow waterway to a glacier at the end. Steep mountains rose up out of the water to either side of the boat and were so close I felt like people on either side of the boat could almost reach out and scrape moss of the sides of the rocks. It was so beautiful I made myself dizzy spinning around trying to see everything at once.

As we got closer and closer to the glacier the water filled up with huge icebergs that had recently calved off the face of the blue monster. It was amazing to see our boat effortlessly skim through all these submerged behemoths.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Alaskan Cruise Day 3: Skagway

Last time the ear doctor and I went up to Skagway my awesome cousin got us tickets to ride the White Pass railroad for free. It was a beautiful trip and I loved it, but this time we wanted to do something different.

We decided to take an off-road tour of the forests above the Chilkat mountains near Haines, AK. If you try to drive from Skagway to Haines it's a 300 mile trip with 2 border crossings between the US and Canada. We decided to take the 30 minute ferry instead.
When the boat pulled into Haines I gasped. It was so beautiful!

Next we boarded a little old school bus and drove out to the tour site. I was really stoked!

The ear doctor hopped in the drivers seat and we took off. We drove through dense Alaskan forest for a few hours and saw some of the prettiest landscapes imaginable!

The weather was amazing. I even got a bit of a sunburn! The day was really perfect in every way. Even the clouds in the sky were giving us the thumbs-up!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Alaskan Cruise Day 2: Juneau

On our cruise the entire first day was spent all day at sea. We had to get really far north, so we were going really fast. The water was choppy and I got pretty sea sick. Yuck. I didn't take many pictures because I didn't really think I'd ever want to remember how much I ate that day.

It was scary.

But how can I turn down hot cookie and ice cold milk hour? I'm only human.

Juneau was awesome. We berthed the boat really early and tried to get off as fast as possible. In my opinion, the docks at Juneau aren't that awesome. Really touristy, totally geared toward the cruisers...not really my thing. It's the perfect place to get out and do a great excursion. We decided to go whale watching and tour the Mendenhall Glacier.

First we got aboard this beautiful little catamaran and hit the water. The scenery is pretty amazing.

I've been whale watching before and usually you only get to see their top fins and the fluke as they swim by. Well, we were SOOOOOOO lucky because the day we were out all the humpback whales were surface feeding. They'd come up to the surface of the water on their sides, open their mouths wide and take in all the little floaters at the top of the water. This means we got to see right inside the huge beasts' gullets.

Literally one of the most amazing things I've ever seen! The ear doctor was excited...

Well, really, we both were!

By the time we were driving back my eyes were aching from all the sunlight glaring off the water. The ear doctor lent me his sunglasses, so in return I posed for this picture making his favorite face. We affectionately call it "little mouth."

Because we went so early in the summer, the salmon weren't really running yet. Which means that the bears hadn't really come down out of the mountains to the water yet. Which means this specimen at the Mendenhall glacier visitors center is as close as the ear doctor got to seeing a live bear...

The glacier itself was amazing; so big, so blue, so powerful. It's the kind of thing that pictures simply can't capture.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Alaska Cruise Day 1: arriving in Seattle, getting on the boat and first day at sea

Last time I went on a cruise I totally forgot to write anything about it here on the ole blog and now I'm really bummed I can't go back and see everything that I did.


You get to see a bunch of pictures of my trip. If that kind of thing bores you, come back in a week when I'm done with the recap.

Our cruise departed on a Saturday afternoon, so we flew into Seattle Friday just to make sure nothing strange happened with the flight making us miss our cruise. We woke up Saturday morning bright and early. And what do you do when you're downtown Seattle on a Saturday morning?

3 words: Top Pot Doughnuts

Then we headed back to our hotel to pick up our luggage and get our booties to the pier to meet our beautiful ship. Does it look like we brought enough stuff for 4 people adventuring for a week at sea?

We hopped in our shuttle ride and scooted out to the water. When we saw our big white ship we were ecstatic.

She sure was Yar

The view of Seattle as we pulled out was breathtaking! And we handed a stranger my big beautiful SLR to take a picture of us on the railing, trusting they wouldn't just run off with it.

The ear doctor was really excited about the posh-ness of the hallway outside our stateroom.

And to end our first day at sea I made the ear doctor take our first obligatory self-portrait. I was thrilled. Him...not so much.

But no trip is complete without self-portraits, right?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Oh, I just realized that as of today I've been blogging 6 years! Which means that since I started this blog I have:

-lived at 7 different addresses
-worked for 2 companies
-attended 3 different church congregations
-met, dated and married the ear doctor
-got a dog
-bought a house
-been to Disneyland/world 5 times
-gained a niece, a nephew and a bunch of second cousins

Thanks for reading and making this whole blogging experience the trip that it is!

Ushering in the season

How do you like your strawberry shortcake?

Because, for me, really, there is only one way to do it. Forget those gross store bought sponge cakes, and get your dry biscuity saucers away from me. This is how the dessert is done.

First, make a fresh angel food cake. No need to get some fancy recipe or anything, just your average box mix will do quite nicely.

Next, slice up two heaping mounts of strawberries. Mash the first pile into a pulp with your potato masher and then add the second. Cover liberally with sugar and let the glorious white crystals do their macerating magic.

Third, whip up heavy cream, add powdered sugar and just a few drops of almond extract.

Last, cut yourself an embarrassingly GINORMOUS slice of cake, cover with strawberries and cap with a silly amount of whipped cream while you sit and admire your fresh-for-your-garden cut lilacs.

That's how I celebrated Memorial day. You?