30 August 2010

Samantha Too

I promise to stop posting cat pictures after this... at least for a while. My little halloween kitty with the orange eyes captured by my iPhone - and annoyed that I woke her up for a picture.

24 August 2010


Meet Samantha. She's not a fan of staying still for a photo.

She's meeting the neighbors slowly. Tony is the larger cat on the other side of the glass. I'm pretty sure he fights with the neighborhood raccoons at night.

Sam is about a year old and pretty much full grown at 6 lbs. We took her to the vet today for some tests torture. It took three people to hold her down to draw some blood. She's healthy, and pretty scrappy it turns out. Maybe she can stand up to one raccoon? At this point, we're just hoping she doesn't take revenge on us for the vet trip by peeing on our pillows.

20 August 2010

Mt Hood

I took this photo hiking in Oregon in 2003 or 2004. Probably one of the rare-ish summer weekends when our hiking plans were not thwarted by rain. Hiking in CO is much more predictable, as long as you go in the morning.

On another note, it's starting to feel like fall here in the early mornings. I love fall, and am looking forward to cold crisp days in the mountains.

13 August 2010


loot from the garden

11 August 2010

31 Things...

I turn 31 today. I wish I could go kayaking on the ocean like last year, instead I will go for a quick hike, see a movie, maybe get a pedicure, and spend the evening with B and some friends (B is making desert, it’s apparently still a secret though). Not a bad way to start a new year.

Every year on my birthday I used to write in my journal about the previous year, things I wanted to change or do in the coming year, or just what was on my mind after another year. I don’t remember when I stopped doing that each year. I like to think I do it on a more regular basis now, but that’s not always true.

This year, since I’m a list freak anyway, I decided to borrow an idea from other blogs and make a list of things I’ve learned. Here they are in no particular order. It’s nothing mind blowing, or particularly important to anyone but me (and maybe those who have to live with me).

1 - Plans change. It’s easier to go with the flow than fight it. You can also spot interesting opportunities if you are not glued to a pre-set path.

2 - Learn to quit, and quit often. Try new things, test ideas. Sometimes they’re shit; the key is recognizing the shit ideas sooner and moving on.

3 - You can’t please everyone. Someone will always hate you no matter what you do. I struggle less and less with this every year.

4 - Community does matter. It’s important to have a support network of people who inspire and encourage you.

5 - I don’t need as much money as I thought I did to be happy.

6 - Experiences and relationships are more valuable and fulfilling than possessions.

7 - Sometimes all you can do is laugh. Shit happens, it’s no one’s fault, and there is nothing you can do about it.

8 - It’s OK to accept your fears. In fact, it helps me feel more comfortable with taking risks. If I can come up with solutions to the worst possible scenarios, there is no longer a reason not to take the risk.

9 - The risks I’ve taken have made me happier than following the more practical path.

10 - Trust people to be who they are, but also give them the chance to fail - they might surprise you.

11 - Walk away from a problem, for a little while. Some distance, some focus on something else, will often reveal the solution. And, there is usually more than one good solution to a problem.

12 - Perfection does not exist and searching for it will only slow you down.

13 - Don’t go into debt for school, or if you do, pay it off quickly. Too many people get stuck in jobs they hate because of crippling school debt. I have the freedom to do what I want now because I paid off my law school loans quickly and saved as much as I could.

14 - Listen to your critics. They might just be right, at least consider the possibility.

15 - But also evaluate your critics and their advice. Their motivation might not be your best interest, or they might not have all the information to accurately call bullshit.

16 - Stop complaining and do something about it. Stop blaming someone else for your problems. Sure, you might be a certain way because your mommy didn’t love you enough, but, at some point, it’s your choice. You are in control of your life, not something that happened 15 years ago.

17 - Spend time alone. Have your own life, interests, and friends separate from your spouse or partner.

18 - Ask. Otherwise, the answer will always be no. If you never ask for what you want, you’ll never get it. Most people are not mind readers.

19 - Don’t overanalyze or research something to death. Learn as much as you can, test the theory, and move on.

20 - Eat real food.

21 - Thank people for the small things, the things you take for granted.

22 - Learn how to make budgets, realistic budgets that account for all of your expenses (including coffees out and fun money as well as insurance and monthly bills). And, stick to the budget.

23 - Shoot for the stars first, and then get practical about it.

24 - Learn how to meet people outside of school or work. It will make relocating your life easier and less scary.

25 - Don’t wait for anyone to make you happy - it’s your responsibility.

26 - It’s OK to say no, even if they hate your for it.

27 - It’s OK to ask for help. I am still quite bad at admitting that I need help, and still horrible at asking. But, I'm working on it.

28 - Pay to get a skill in school. Like many liberal arts majors, I went to law school because it was the practical thing to do after I graduated.

29 - Don’t overload expectations - it usually only leads to disappointment.

30 - Focus on creating new habits instead of eliminating the old. It’s easier to work something good into your life than trying to quit something.

31 - Throw out assumptions. I’ve never been a beach person, so I never wanted to travel to islands. Turns out, I love island culture, kayaking, and the sea. I’m ready to move to the Caribbean tomorrow (but only if I can still go skiing every year).

06 August 2010

Key limes for key lime pie, of course.

August 3rd usually means key lime pie in our house. It's B's birthday. Sometimes he requests a different birthday treat (tres leches layer cake with a spicy Meixcan chocolate frosting, or German chocolate cake), but most years are key lime pie years. Not a bad way to start a new year.

I make it with fresh key lime juice (not the bottled stuff), a regular pie crust (they didn't have graham crackers in the Keys back in the day), and a meringue topping (so much better than whipped cream).

Have you seen Dexter's search for the perfect key lime pie for Camilla? This is it:

Key Lime Pie
pre-bake a 9 inch pie crust

whisk together:
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup key lime juice
the grated rind of a few key limes

pour into the pie shell and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes, then chill it for a few hours or overnight

for the meringue topping:
whisk 3 egg whites, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form
whisk in 6 tbsp of powdered sugar until stiff peaks form
bake at 400 for 10 minutes until well browned

in sliced form

On a side note, Dexter has quickly become our new obsession.

02 August 2010

A Great Bartender is Hard to Find

I have not found a great bartender in Fort Collins. Maybe one or two decent ones - maybe. While I may have been spoiled with great bartenders in Key West, I don’t think my standards are too high. It’s more than simply making drinks and collecting money.

The best bartenders like to drink a lot of different things. They know their alcohol. If the bar stocks something, they know the story behind it, the flavor profile, and how to coax the most flavor out of it. They can recommend wines and beers intelligently - more than just saying it’s light, hoppy, or fruity.

A great bartender plays host, makes eye contact, and can talk intelligently on a lot of different topics. The best bartenders also facilitate conversations among the rest of the bar. They ask questions and are good story tellers - all while still being fast and efficient.

Great bartenders always anticipate an empty glass and take orders in rotation, never leaving anyone waiting. They know the regulars by name and have their drink ready by the time they sit down.

Seriously, it’s not asking too much. On the other hand, since we haven’t found great bartenders here in town, we’re going out less frequently than in Key West (which turned into every night for at least a pint) saving our livers and waist lines.
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