merry christmas!

i hope you all had a merry and wonderful christmas. i had a nice quiet christmas with brett. our friend nick came down for the night and we had a feast with our landlords, ken & carol, their children, and another friend, anita. i felt thankful to be surrounded by such lovely and kind people! it made celebrating a third christmas away from my family so much easier.
my computer has gone kaputz so i haven't been able to be much of a blogger. i promise to post photos of my christmas, and my early dodd family christmas, soon!

sending hugs and love to each of you.


Must Be All That Granola...

Kudos to the homeland for being the healthiest state in the nation for the 7th out of 8 years. Credit is given to the high public health spending, low obesity rate, low child poverty and violent crime rate, and more. My theory is that there is such a high value on the quality of food in Vermont- from the abundance of farmers market and local food to the high number of health food stores and co-ops.

Howard Dean said it best:

"While I ran for president I often said that America would be a better place if it was more like Vermont. I still firmly believe that to be true." -Dean


May Each Birthday Be A Mirthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PETE-FIRE! I hope you have a terrific day. Amy is probably my most loyal reader, so I hope you like the post&pic :). And a little love to all of the Quints, who have not been reunited as a group in three years. I love you!


i headed into town early this morning to go to the gym before work and caught the sunrise on my way.


What to Read Next?

I've been reading Obama's "Dreams of my Father" and several other books off and on since early November, and while "Dreams" is engaging and interesting, I am in need of a good novel. The snowy days and dark evenings allow for plenty of reading time, and I want to read something I can curl up with... so if anyone has a good book recommendation or two, that would be awesome. Leave a comment or shoot me an email!


another aloha thanksgiving!

this was my third year of thanksgiving in colorado, which has a lot of potential to be a day filled with missing my friends and family gathering and giving thanks in new england. while there is always a bit of that, thanksgiving in colorado has also become a terrific tradition. colby walker's family has been kind enough for the past 4 or 5 (?) years to open up their family, home and turkey to any aloha orphans living in colorado. this year was my third appearance at the aloha turkey reunion and it was another memorable and heartwarming holiday.

this year we held the feast at colby (and gaffney)'s new place in leadville rather than at his parents house in dillon where we usually are. they are living in a huge, cozy home with several other copper patrollers. we had 17 people for dinner, ten of whom were alums of the aloha foundation. there are actually even more aloha folks in colorado-- in boulder, colorado springs, castle rock, and other little pockets of the state... it is amazing what a crowd there is living in colorado who all have ties to camp.

i am so thankful for all of these friends who do live in colorado. since colorado is far bigger than any new england state, we are scattered at least a few hours apart... but we do manage to see each other every month or two, and those adventures are simply fabulous. i appreciate having a camp family out here, when so many of our families are thousands of miles away.

so, thank you to colby & fam for hosting another delicious and generous thanksgiving.
and thanks to my 'aloha west' family for a fabulous reunion.

mom & dad, don't worry- i still miss you and the family holidays.

i'm thankful for all of you.


november 19th celebrations

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAYLA! hope you enjoyed a terrific vermont birthday complete with cake and cabot.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELLEN! sending you all sorts of spunky love and best wishes for your final months at vassar.


Meet Peabody!

the trip to SLC was a success! i am pleased to introduce you all to my new road buddy, peabody. peabody was a california rental car in its previous life. i'm not yet sure if it is a mr. peabody or a princess peabody. so far we are enjoying our time together very much- peabody is so fast and so smooth! who knew a mid-20s girl would be so excited about a 'grocery getter" aka station wagon? but i am loving it. in the first 400 miles, peabody has averaged 28.2 mpg (300 of that was highway), which is similar if not better than garby's mileage.

why the name peabody you ask? i've had my eye on the "willow green" color for about a year and a half and didn't know what it was called for a long time. brett once called it a "pea" green, which triggered the PEABODY. you see, peabody is actually a family name on my mother's mom's side of the family. her name was rosamond peabody hamlin before she was married. growing up i had a t-shirt from some sort of family event (details are totally fuzzy?) that read
and i used to race vanessa (v) and probably other friends in who could say in quickest... like a tongue twister. i practiced the same little twister while test driving the cars in slc. :)

so, i look forward to more drives ahead with all of you in a new ride and on new roads.


“Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
Imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty
Or the gesture of a fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don’t wait another minute.”
-Judyth Hill


vroom vroom.

it's the end of an era, folks. my days with my trusty volvo are coming to a close. many a mile, many a road has been travelled, and while i am eager to get a new car, it is certainly bittersweet. along with the end of my volvo days comes the end of my vermont license as well as my vermont plates! i'm a bit overdue, as i have lived in colorado for 2.5 years already... but it still feels significant.

the volvo has been named garby for about five years... after several names that didn't stick, he was randomly named garby (short for garbanzo) in colby walker's kitchen on my first ever trip to colorado. most likely colby doesn't even know that. it was certainly years before garby ever came to colorado!

garby and i have driven approximately 110,000 miles together. we have experienced one minor accident, one minor speeding ticket and several parking tickets in various cities. we have driven across the country three times, and have driven an average of 50 miles a day for the past year.

in my first month at my current job, my boss (who is also a volvo owner) came into the office one morning after parking next to me. she said "eliza, i have never seen a car that so accurately represented its driver." and it is true- the assortment of stickers that somehow ended up glued onto a car which i once proclaimed would never have stickers represented my values and places important to me... an aloha foundation sticker, vassar college, NOLS, AMC, tree decal, and of course my crazy rowers.

i wanted to write about garby on here because i know that most anyone who would be reading my blog has some sort of tie or memory to an adventure that occurred in the volvo. perhaps you drove to school, to barre (with the base pounding), around lake morey or even across the country in it. perhaps we held hands, or sang loud songs or listened to books on tape.

despite his leaky tire, his front wheel drive, and his fading controller, garby has been a faithful, powerful and comfortable transporter. not to mention his extreme safety, his handy tape player (i sure will miss that), and his heated seats. i can only hope that my next ride will be as smooth, safe and successful.

tomorrow we are off to salt lake city, where there seems to be a colony of my hard-to-find dream car. with any luck, my next post will be welcoming a new co-pilot to my highway!



This post is way overdue, but I feel like I can't write about anything else until I at least touch on the subject of BARACK OBAMA-- both my experience seeing him speak in Denver as well as the recent election!

On October 26th, Brett & I awoke at 4:30 am to drive to Denver for an Obama Rally. We met up with a lovely assortment of my friends & headed into downtown Denver to the rally. The line was massive... but luckily Kat had an in through a group she had been working with! We ended up jumping to the front of the line to join a group supporting green jobs... that happened to be organized by an 08 Vassar Grad (Eleanor Fort, for you vc folk out there)! Nearly as soon as we met up with them, we got to enter the park. After a lot of standing, some group photos, a bit of singing, a lot of laughing, and a touch of dancing, hearing from most of the Colorado Democratic Politicians.... OBAMA came out. His speech was, of course, mainly stuff we have all heard before in debates, speeches, and emails... but it was still inspiring, energizing and exciting to see him in person! As you will see in the last photo, there was a little bit of an issue with the stage set up, but luckily we were able to laugh over it rather than be tooo frustrated. We found out later that there were over 100,000 people there, which was his largest rally to date. All in all it was a memorable day of renewing hope for this country as well as appreciation for friendship.

For Election Night, we went over to Ken & Carol's (our landlords) with our friends Rob & Anita... we had watched all the debates together so it seemed only right to watch the big night together as well. We cheered as blue states came in, held our breath for Colorado's results, and drank champagne when Obama was declared the winner! I certainly cried when he gave his speech (as well as twice earlier in the day b/c i was so nervous!).

I am so so happy that Obama won. My hope & faith in this country has been renewed and it was such a memorable event in history. There is certainly a lot of work to be done, but I am so thankful that Obama will be the one to work on it.

I am going to try to post some photos of the Rally (wish me luck)-- and camera credit for the actual Obama pics goes out to Alysha because I had a little camera battery incident right at the crucial moment...


"I'm for best friends
Long drives and smiles
Nothing but the sound of thinking for miles.
For the unconditional love of dogs
May we learn the lessons of their love by heart.
For therapy when you need it
And poetry when you need it
And the wisdom to know the difference.
For love and the fragile human heart
May it always grow and heal
stronger than it was before.
For walks in the woods themselves
By which I mean the trees
Definitely for the trees.
Window seats and locally brewed beer
And love letters written by hand
with fountain pens
I'm for all of these."
-Taylor Mali



oh hello.

i haven't been a very good blogger in the past couple weeks, but all sorts of crazy, interesting, exciting and strange things have happened! i will do a quick update right now and then write more soon...
  • the aspen have glowed & the leaves have dropped... we had our first snowfall and i survived my first extremely icy drive to work.
  • i have had quite a few people interested in buying my car, but no offers.
  • i continued my quest to find a hairdresser in steamboat, and had a successful cut at a place called "hair on earth." i think this is the shortest it has been since college!
  • brett & i took care of a young alpaca that was choking/vomiting. many of you know how poorly i handle people puke, so i was impressed with my ability to handle this...
  • brett was attacked by a dog at the animal shelter- he is fine but has a couple painful bites and is pretty angry.
  • i am planning an east coast trip for the first week of february. my grandmother is turning 90 on cape cod on the 7th of february, and i am trying to build a week-long trip around that. so far it looks like i will be flying into nyc the weekend of jan 30, possibly scooting up to VC, seeing grandmommy in hartford, and being on the cape for gran's big party before flying back to colorado! it should be a bit of a whirlwind, but if anyone can find a spot to insert themselves into that week, i would love to see you!
  • and last but definitely not least, I SAW BARACK OBAMA!!! i will post about the full story soon (with photos!), but it involved an early morning drive to denver, benefitting from kat's connections, a texas visitor, a lot of standing, a vassar grad connection, and a speech by barack obama. it was an empowering, exhausting, and exciting day.

more soon.


a very special day...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LONGEST FRIEND! i wanted to send my biggest birthday wishes over to new york city for jenna's birthday. she is 25 on the 25th! jenna and i have been friends since our mommas were carrying us in our bellies, and we've been sisters ever since. here is to many years of long walks, cookie baking, movie watching, cuddling, skiing, adventuring, hiking, biking, sailing, and cooking! i wish i could be there for your birthday today (i did look into tickets to surprise you!), but i know your parents, alex, and awesome friends will take good care to help you celebrate. eat some delicious cake today for me. love ya!


i just wanted to send a little HAPPY BIRTHDAY shoutout to my dear friends liz & rach! their birthdays were on friday and saturday, and they spent the weekend in boston at the head of the charles regatta cheering on our former rowing team. i wish i could have been there to celebrate with you girls and watch the boats speed by. how about next year? hope you had a great weekend. i love you! (and hi to annie, the fourth face in the photo too!)

the yurt.

i spent most of the day today up at the yurt helping ken & carol and their friend jan put some more layers on the interior wall. it was amazing! the yurt is made of straw bales, and coated with a cob mixture (sand, clay, straw). ken & carol have been meaning to finish the layers, but with the house on the market they weren't putting as much time and effort into it. now that it looks like they may be sticking around for a while, they decided to try to finish it up. their friend jan does this sort of stuff for a living, and helped carol build their house as well. yes- the house we live in is straw bale!

so ken called me up and asked me to come up and sift sand. the sand got mixed in with clay, water, and cottontails! ken and i got elbow deep mixing it while jan gave us guidance on texture and thickness. carol and jan worked on smoothing a layer of the mixture onto the wall of the yurt. the interior used to be a smooth plaster but with a lot of hay showing through, so the layers we put on today cover the hay. eventually jan invited me to try smoothing on the plaster- i wasn't sure if carol would trust me to mess with her walls, but she did! it was so cool. my section wasn't quite as smooth as jan (the expert)'s or carol's, but i would say i did pretty well. we did a lot of spreading, and then ken and i mixed up some thinner clay for the final coat.

brett had checked out some books on cob cottages, straw bale, and other organic & natural structure systems from the library, so i had some background info on what exactly we were doing... and i've learned a lot also from ken just talking about their home & their philosophy on straw bale homes. it was very empowering to be a part of the experience today & also made me think a lot about home construction. a straw bale home is very green & natural, and can be made with local products. it requires less energy and is naturally well insulated. the ingredients are cheap! the experience of building it literally with your hands is so special- you are building your home out of love (and hay, and manure, and sand....).

i went for a walk later this afternoon and walked past two other houses that are currently being built in the extended neighborhood. one of them has gone up just in the past couple weeks. the digging and foundation happened in about a week,and then the frame of the house went up in the following week. the walls have come in pre-cut and pre-constructed pieces that so it has popped up quickly. i'm sure they are trying to get it all up before the snow comes in force, but it feels a little unnatural for it to pop up so quickly! this house is right on my drive, so i see the progress daily.

the other house is on the next street over. one day i went for a walk and noticed that they had flattened out a field. apparently i haven't been walking enough recently, because today there was an entire house sitting in the space! i'm not sure if it was a prefab house that came in on a trailer or if they just built it insanely quickly. it is a simple ranch house, but it seems very fast.

both of these homes feel a bit unnatural both in their construction and timing. i value the sturdiness, slowness, and organic aspects of the straw bale house. if and when i find myself considering builingd a home, i will certainly consider straw bale.

in the meantime... my arms are so tired! it certainly felt productive and exciting to see my progress, but now i am totally exhausted. i have been lying on the couch reading ever since i got back from my walk. i suppose it's time to cook some dinner!


a taste of heaven.

when i was in college, my dear friend and roommate liz let me in on one of the tastiest pleasures in this life. she had discovered the levain bakery, a tiny bakery on the upper west side of manhattan that makes the most delicious cookies i have ever tasted! her parents sent us some as a gift, and we savored those cookies for a week!

since then, i have passed on the delectable delights to jenna. i went with her to the bakery when i visited her in nyc a couple years ago and then she brought me a big bag of them when she came to visit last year! brett now loves the monstrous cookies almost as much as i do.

last week my co-worker lisa headed off to new york for a conference for our cooperating collection. she had not been to nyc in nearly 20 years and coming from small town steamboat was a bit nervous to say the least. i did my best to prep her with directions, activity suggestions, and a map. needless to say, i marked levain bakery on the map and told her to go eat the best cookie of her life.

today she returned from the big apple with a little white bag in her hand for me! she brought me two cookies- a dark chocolate choc-chip cookie and a dark chocolate pb-chip cookie. she knew the pb chip was my fave. it was the most wonderful and delicious treat.

and so while my mouth and mind is filled with this piece of chocolaty heaven, i wanted to share the secret of levain bakery with all of you! the website is www.levainbakery.com and it can be located at 167 west 74th street in manhattan. i highly recommend a journey to this spot to any of you visiting or living in the city.

each cookie weighs six ounces and there are four flavors:
chocolate chip walnut
oatmeal raisin
dark chocolate pb chip
dark chocolate choc chip



"Our falling places are many: we tumble feetlast into disaster, stumble upon random blessings, sink into pessimism, slip into love, and sometimes even let our knees buckle under us in laughter. I like the last one best. Enjoy."
-Edie Carey

flattops wilderness area

several weekends ago we hiked the devil's causeway trail. the foliage was peaking on the drive up to the hike, and it the trail was beautiful as well. we had been wanting to explore the flattops area for a while, and this is a very famous hike in colorado. it was wonderful!

technical difficulties.

can any of you bloggers out there teach me how to post text? i am trying to cut and paste text into my blog entry and it doesn't seem to show up when i publish it. kat? mush? a little assistance to a newcomer, please....


oh hi.

so i've decided that it's time to invite my good friends to be readers of my blog.  i waited a bit to see if it seemed like something i might actually use, and i've chosen to keep on trying it out.  i haven't become an incredibly active blogger in these past couple weeks since i started it, but i still like the idea!  i'll try to share news, recipes, book & movie & music recommendations, and photos on here, so check back soon. 

welcome, my friends!  thanks for stopping in & i hope you enjoy.

love to all.


fallen flurries.

the first snowflakes fell at my house this morning. right as we were getting into the car to drive to work, i noticed some white speckles hitting the windshield. winter is definitely coming. last night the frost was so strong that it even killed my everlasting cilantro "trees." they had lasted through the first several frosts, but this one really knocked them over.

the ski area also got their first snowfall over the weekend. check out the front page photo of today's paper on the left...


a well informed voter.

i took the plunge today.
i joined john mccain's email list.

fear not, my dear friends, i have not made any rash decisions, or swayed my voting intentions.

for months, i have been receiving a multitude of emails from both barack obama's email list and moveon.org.  after watching last night's debate in mississippi, i received a swarm of emails from both sources. today i wondered what john mccain's folks were saying after last night's debate.

so, i visited www.johnmccain.com for perhaps the third time ever. i entered my email and zip code, and i immediately received a 'welcome' email from john mccain. i explored the page a bit, but couldn't get it out of my mind that the entire website looked like a saturday night live spoof. 

i am hoping to continue to be an informed and conscientious  voter, and i am hoping that the duel email lists will add insight.  if i can stand receiving emails with the heading "thank you for joining my team" and end with "i am honored that you have chosen to stand with me at this very important time and i am truly grateful for your friendship and support" coming from john mccain! 

i'll keep you all posted on how my email membership goes. 


a fresh page.

I have been pondering the possibility of starting a blog for the past few weeks.  There are so many wonderful people out there who I have been terrible about keeping in touch with- so this gives you all a  glimpse into my world and mind! 
I have also really missed writing over the past few years since college, and this seems like a good forum for general thought and free writing. 
So while this post may not be too captivating... here are few topics you might see when you check back next time....

The Challenges of Local Foods in NW Colorado
The Life and Adventures of my volvo, Garby
Friends Far and Wide

So come back soon.