Best of 2009- Year in Review

Memorable Moments:
  • Celebrating a quarter century of life.
  • Gran turning 90 in February on Cape Cod.
  • Super speedy drive to Austin with Alysha, then turning around and flying back.
  • Promotion to Program Manager in April.
  • A week in Steamboat with Miss Emma Mrozicki.
  • Leaving the alpacas and becoming a townie.
  • An epic day off with a few of the Aloha Foundation's finest.
  • Sailing a rental boat on Lake Champlain with P & F.
  • Getting my first "real" ski pass for Steamboat 09-10 season.
  • Hiking in the Zirkels with two Bretts.
  • Fabulous dancing at the free outdoor summer concert series.
  • Lovely summer nights of grilling pizzas at the yurt.
  • Van Morrison & driving through RMNP with P & F.
  • My 4th Aloha Family Thanksgiving.
  • Transition period between Executive Directors at YVCF. Getting a taste of leadership, and then relief when Mark arrived on scene.
  • A beautiful Christmas Eve in Montpelier full of tradition and love.
  • Christmas with my family.
Best Books I read in 2009:
  • Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Best Movies I saw in 2009:
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • I Love You, Man (not for quality, but for pure laughter)
  • The Hangover (ditto)
  • Up
  • Away We Go
  • The Reader
Best music I was introduced to in 2009:
  • Kings of Leon
  • Antje Duvekot
  • Joshua Radin
  • Quebec Antique
  • Hmm. I guess I could use a few good suggestions for 2010!
Wishing you all a beautiful 2010 filled with love, laughter, health & peace.


I started a post one morning last week from Vermont. Clearly there was too much fun to be had, and it was abandoned. But here is what was saved--

"I'm in Vermont. My days have been lovely so far-- filled with good time spent with my parents and dear friends. I have missed the past three winters in Vermont (and in turn 4 Thanksgivings and 3 Christmases with my family) and I forgot just what Vermont winter is like. The sky is a hazy grey, not dreary neither vibrant. The trees have all dropped their leaves, and it seems like small snowflakes and have been falling and blowing all week. No accumulation, just a touch of dancing snow. There's about 10 inches of snow on the ground in Montpelier, but Burlington was mostly dry."

My vacation was, to use a familiar word, delightful. The comfort of being with family and friends, of walking up and down the East State St hill, of recognizing former teachers, neighbors & schoolmates everywhere I went was all so wonderful. I was reminded of so many of the aspects of Montpelier's community that I now use as a baseline in comparing other locations.

Highlights of Vermont?
  • Dinner at Sarducci's with my parents
  • Choosing a Christmas tree at Morse Farm & enjoying a maple cremee despite the cold
  • Decorating the Christmas tree. After missing so many holidays, it was like catching up with old friends as we pulled the ornaments out of the boxes. Egg Nog & holiday music favorites, too!
  • Cocoa & catchup at Langdon St with Cayla and Alaya
  • Picking up Jenna at the airport and enjoying Burlington (esp a delicious Red Onion sammy!)
  • Cross-country skiing at Morse Farm with Jenna
  • Lunch with Daddy-o
  • Silk Long Underwear
  • Last minute shopping with Mom
  • Hunger Mtn Co-op
  • Christmas Eve Service at the Unitarian Church, particularly the lighting of our candles and the reflections in the chandeliers
  • Quality Xmas Eve time at the Kidneys with neighbors
  • Cozy present opening & Pamela's pancakes on Christmas morning!

And then we were off to Hartford for 3 days to spend time with the Dodds. Grandmommy was so thrilled to have us there for Christmas, and we had a wonderful visit. It was also great to see my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins. I got a new camera for Christmas and enjoyed using it while there.

Leaving seems to get harder each time. Why do my trips always go too quickly?

I returned to Steamboat early on Monday and settled back into work on Tuesday. I'm glad to say that I didn't dread returning to work and that things are going smoothly. Town is hopping with visitors & snow is falling! I'm missing Vermont terribly but am happy to be back, and to actually have friends here to welcome me.

I hope the holidays have been wonderful for each of you, and hope 2010 brings you many blessings and happiness!


"I knew a man in college who grew up in the inner city of Chicago & what he was doing in Iowa I never did figure out. But whenever he would see a jet trailing across the sky, he would stop everything he was doing & he would watch. Once, after a jet was gone & there was nothing left but the white line disappearing like a scar into the blue, he turned to me & said, An airplane is a miracle & I didn't give it much thought, but now & then, when I am ready to give up hope for human beings in general, & for one or two of them who are bugging me specifically, I will look to the sky & there will be one of those miracles & I will remember it's all about concentrating on the right thing." -storypeople

Here I come!


December In Vermont- Diane Zeigler

"When the snowfall lays her cover
The silence can pull you under
And that shroud can make you wonder
How you’ll make it through
But on a night so cold and long
I know how a heart stays strong
You can travel all the earth
To find out what a place is worth

Where would you rather see
Snow on the evergreen
Softly and tenderly falling down
Songs on the solstice sing
Prayers for the traveling
Ever returning to December in Vermont

See the blazing yule before us
Strike a harp and join the chorus
But do you see the folly
When everywhere the sounds implore us
To deck the halls and ring the bells
Calling everyone to buy and sell
But through the crowd and through the noise
May you know a greater joy"
- Diane Zeigler

My favorite word right now is DELIGHTFUL. I find myself using it at least a dozen times a day. Why? It is a fun word to say. Deeeeelightful. Delightful! DeLIGHTful!

And, simply, life feels delightful right now.

Faith has been staying with me for almost a week, and the comfort of having a female friend in town is delightful.

I went down to Stagecoach for dinner on Tuesday night with Ken & Carol and their son Cyrus and part of Carol's family. We had a delicious feast, and great laughter. I miss my regular time with K & C, and it is always just so nice to go over there, feel right at home, and enjoy their company. Plus they have a Newfoundland puppy named Oliver who somewhat resembles a baby black bear. Adorable. Time on Spindrift Ranch is always delightful.

Faith helps to encourage the social side of me, and so we've spent most of our nights enjoying the company of John and Nick. We are literally living across the parking lot from each other, so it is the best possible combination of not being roommates but enjoying all the benefits of being roommates. We had our Sunday night family dinner, two nights of cookie making... I enjoy both of those boys so much and it's great to have them in town and so nearby. They are delightful.

Having friends in my life is delightful. I love all of you who are far away so much, but this week I'm particularly greatful for the ones I've got right here.

Tomorrow I'm off to Vermont (!!!!!) to see a few of the beautiful faces who are typically so far away. This will be my first holiday with my family in 4 years. I cannot wait.

Love to all.


Oh hi.
I know, I've dropped off the blogging-train again. So sorry :).
In summary:
  • Another beautiful Thanksgiving at the Walker home with 12 members of the Aloha family. Followed by a fun weekend in Steamboat with my friends Kat & Ben enjoying some quiet cozy time, hot springs & a waffle party.
  • Three ski days. I am loving my "new" $40 skis, though they are slightly long. I skied on them for the first time on Saturday and it was a world of difference to be on a wider ski. I feel more aggressive and confident (both huge statements coming from this cautious little ski bunny!). We. Need. More. Snow. We did get a good little storm over the weekend, but there is still a layer of ice underneath.
  • My new boss is terrific. I am very excited about working for him and all that I'm going to learn. I'll definitely be challenged at times, but it should be great.
  • I'm getting into spin classes. I realized long ago that my internal motivation is not strong enough to push myself through intense workouts. If I leave it up to me, I'll just toodle through the elliptical, stroll on the treadmill, pound out some reps with small weights. Being on the crew team for 4 years brought out the "teammate" in me and I find I am much more motivated if I am with others and have a coach/instructor commanding. So between spin classes & kickboxing, I'm just whipping right into shape!
  • More and more reasons why being on the East Coast for Christmas this year is important. I leave in 5 days and I cannot wait for quality time with friends and family.
  • A long-time Aloha friend has moved to Steamboat from Boulder for the winter. Faith and I have been camp friends since 1999 when we were invited to go on a co-ed pack trip in the White Mtns with three very immature Lanakila boys. I'm psyched about spending many a day hitting the slopes, drinking tea, cooking & adventuring with her for the next couple of months.
  • My "seasonal" friends John and Nick have also returned to town (about 3 weeks ago) and are living across the parking lot from me. So far we've initiated Sunday night Family Dinners as a tradition and I am just so happy to have them both back, both living in town, and both as my neighbors.
  • I moved this past week. I left my luxury condo at "the Pines at Ore House" and moved less than .2 miles around the parking lot into "the Pines Condominiums." So basically my new place is about 1/2 the size, 30-40 years older, and $400 cheaper. But still the same handy location near work and the grocery, and the same landlord. I think it's a win-win, though I'm finding a few things that don't work in the new place... And discovering, once again, that living in the same town for almost 4 years has made it way too easy to accumulate an unnecessary amount of belongings.
  • It was frigid last week. I understand, it is winter. It is Colorado. I live in Ski Town, USA. However, negative temps, cold winds, and a lack of sunshine is not what I signed up for when I agreed to spend my winters here. I'm sure looking forward to Christmas for that long down jacket I asked Santa for...
  • I've loved the comments on my not-s0-recent blog posts. It's wonderful know that people I love really do stop by and read my blog. That's the whole purpose of it, after all. To keep in touch with you all. So keep on leaving the love.


6:15 am.
23 degrees below zero. A very loud car start, a whirring belt, a frigid breeze.
6:29 am.
Storycorps on NPR. I've missed it for nearly 6 months. Such a sweet story today!
6:31 am.
Late to yoga class due to the car's challenge to warm up.
6:33 am.
Arrive at yoga class. Only three other brave souls toughed the temp.
My yoga mat, which lives in my car, is frozen into a solid roll.
I attempt to quietly shake it out.
Take a seat. Brr.
6:33 am - 7:45 am.
A heavenly session of gentle yoga. Delicious stretching of the shoulders and hamstrings, which are tight from spinning and kickboxing. A solid balance in tree pose. Yum.
7:45 am.
A balmy 15 degree below zero. Car warms up with another whine.
Home for a quick shower and breakfast before the workday.

Brr! Stay warm, friends.


my friend pat (upper left) posted this photo on facebook today. it's always been a well-loved and amusing photo... i am the tiny red ball in the lower left (kudos to franny's permed hair!), celebrating colleen's birthday. i'm almost one month old. center to the pic is plump babydoll jenna, who remains one of my dearest friends. love you dear!


"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John F. Kennedy

Giving Thanks

So many things to be thankful for today on Thanksgiving, and every day...
  • I am grateful for my family. For my loving parents, for two strong and amazing grandmothers, two uncles, two aunts, two cousins, and for the memory of each of my grandfathers.
  • I am grateful for my friends, scattered from west to east, and north to south. However rare I may see them, I feel their support daily.
  • I am grateful for a job that keeps me learning & challenged, and covers my expenses. I am also grateful to have holidays off from work.
  • I am grateful for my local family-- Ken, Carol, Brett & the alpacas.
  • I am grateful for a boyfriend who loves me.
  • I am grateful for Aloha Camp. For my 12 summers spent learning both skills & about myself as a person, and for the influence that has impacted how I approach each day. I am grateful for the hundreds of people that Aloha has brought into my life, and particularly for those who remain a close part of my life. Today I am grateful for my Aloha family in Colorado, and for our annual Thanksgiving celebration.
  • I am grateful for my health & wellness.
  • I am grateful for the ability to choose where I live and what food I put in my body.
  • I am grateful for the music and activities that fill my time.
  • I am grateful for the bold blue skies of Colorado, the clouds of Vermont, for the snow and the rain and the fog. I am thankful for the mountains which I choose to keep near.
  • I am grateful for the life I live.
  • I am grateful for each one of you.


"Over the last year I have imagined my life as a game in which I am juggling four balls in the air – Work, Family, Health and Friends; and I am trying to keep all these in the air. Quickly, I have learned that work is the rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But other three balls, “Family, Health and Friends” are made of glass. If I drop one of them, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, damaged or even shattered and they will never be the same. Today, I finally understand this and now strive for balance in my life." – Chris, VP Finance of Annie's Naturals
Such a lovely Sunday.
  • Oregon Chai. The cartons were buy-1-get-1-free. What a treat. The slightly sweet variety is delightfully filled with spices and the perfect hint of sweetness.
  • Glee. It is cheesy, enjoyable & fun. I'm still catching up on past episodes since discovering it.
  • Brett made it safely driving to Indiana, and is having all sorts of fun surprising each member of his family.
  • Breakfast Tacos. Refried beans, scrambled eggs, cheese & a dab of salsa in corn tortillas.
  • Yoga. A challenging, muscle-firing & balance-practicing class. Full of variations on tree pose, warrior & chair pose.
  • Family dinner with Nick & John. Garlic bread, salad, homemade sauce, twirly pasta & vino. Two wonderful gentlemen I've known for three years- now living as neighbors (for 2 weeks, at least). Fun reminiscing about our Vista Verde experience & friends, laughing over photos from last winter's dance parties and getting excited for our new tradition of Sunday Family Dinner.


Lots to be thankful for this week...
  • Bold blue skies every day this week
  • Friends coming back into town with the change of seasons
  • A new boss, beginning December 1. Just the man we had hoped the committee would select. He will be both visionary and fun to work with. I think he'll take the Foundation in some new exciting directions, and I expect to learn a great deal from him.
  • Gas fireplaces. So easy, so warm.
  • Pancakes.
  • Friends crawling out of the woodwork. Recent facebook & blog posts have triggered responses from dear ones. I love it.
  • Old photos, scanned by myself or my Mom.
  • A real ski pass.
  • Thick wool socks.
  • An interesting lunch with my Grants Committee Chair/ Board Vice Chair. He's off to New Zealand for 3 weeks and took me out to lunch yesterday to hear about my experience there. While my time in the wilderness & water & youth hostels will be very different from his time gallavanting around, we enjoyed sharing stories and places.
  • Dinner at Ken & Carol's. Enjoying soup and laughter and good company near a roaring fire. My time with them will always be at the top of my list for my life in Steamboat.
  • NPR.
  • Having connections with the higher-ups at the ski area.

Things that I am less thankful for include being so far from New England during a time & season when being near family means the most. I'm looking forward to Christmas in Vermont- my first holiday (Thanksgiving or Christmas) with my family since 2005.


to the lovely cayla.
have a beautiful day!

(wow, check out those goggles....we are hot. and happy.)

(lots of hair!)

(love you lots.)


Oh, Hi.

My dear friends,

I've left you high&dry. And for those who have been anxiously awaiting my post, I realize it's been a while. Particularly LEX, who admitted that she has my blog saved as a favorite and has made it part of her daily routine.

So. It's been a while, hasn't it? Let's see. It was probably sunny and 55 the last time I wrote, and currently it is 16 and a bit windy. Winter appeared with a vengeance on Friday, bringing almost a foot of snow by Saturday. It was negative 2 when I got up on Monday, and a balmy 3 when I got up this morning. I am not in the least bit prepared for this frigid winter business. But I do have a real live season's ski pass this year for the first time and so dreams of bright sunny powder days keep me happy.

This month I've had two of the best weekends I've had in a long time. I'll work backwards. This past weekend I was out at the farm with Brett. Ken and Carol were gone so we fed the 'pacas on Friday night. It was a bit on the late side by the time we got out there (and by late I probably mean about 7. ha. ) and very very snowy and I absolutely dreaded changing in my my carhartt get-up and going down to feed. But as always, once I was down there greeting the alpacas and scooping their grain I was happy. The little ones are getting big and they are adorable in the snow. I'm so thankful to have those 40 little friends who appreciate me each time I see them.

Saturday I stayed inside all day long, except to go for a soak in the hot tub. I lounged, I watched tv, I perused the internet. I was as lazy as I could possibly be, and it felt marvelous. The snow sparkled outside the window and I stayed warm inside. It was just what I needed. Sunday we came into town, feasted on brunch at the Egg & I, and then headed up to Rabbit Ear's Pass for a snowshoe. It was about 13 degrees and blustery, but the snow was fluffy and our quest for adventure kept us out there for almost 2 hours. We came back down into Steamboat and picked up some delicious cheeses, bread, grapes & apples to enjoy next to the [gas] fireplace at my apartment. After a soak in the downtown hot springs, Brett watched football while I dozed. Delightful!

To backtrack one more week.....
I'll start with a bit of history. In preschool in Vermont, I became friends with two lovely little ladies. Dark-haired twins named Kate and Lexie Waite. Throughout my school years, we shared classes, soccer teams, notebooks full of notes back and forth, awesome mix tapes, endless laughter and all sorts of adventure. Upon graduating from college, I came out to Colorado with two of our other great friends (V & Alaya) for our dude ranch experience, and later that summer Kate and Lex moved to Boulder. Over the past few years I've enjoyed many a visit with them in Boulder, including several months spent living in Lex's room (while she was absent) playing with Kate. In summer 08, Lex moved out to California for grad school...and Kate moved in with her boyfriend in Broomfield. SO time with these two has been reduced. Because they are so spread out now, they've decided that the dates of holidays are arbitrary and they should create reason to celebrate on their own schedule. So, November 7th magically became "Thanksgiving" in their world, and Lex flew in from Cali and their mom Laurie & her partner Pierre from Vermont. I was honored to be invited down to join in the giving of thanks & turkey... so I jaunted down for the night on Saturday. I can hardly begin to describe how fantastic it was. Not only was the feast delicious-- but the comfort and simplicity of being with two people who I have known for over 20 years was absolutely marvelous. We snuggled, we laughed, we slept, we ate, we facebook-stalked many of our former classmates, we played guitar hero (a first for two of us!)... It was just so easy. I've been dealing a lot this fall with the expectations that I set for people- and often feeling disappointed when people don't seem to match up with the basic expectations I hold for them. Not necessarily expectations that I vocalize, but just concepts or standards that I hold my friends accountable for. What I appreciated most about my time with Kate and Lex was that my expectations matched reality. Perhaps that is just how it is when you know someone(s) that well-- I know that Kate and Lex will stay up late and then sleep in late. And so it is fine that we don't have a full morning of activity (and sometimes I do better with a late snooze than I anticipate!). I know, too, that being with Kate and Lex will mean a lot of laughing and strong feeling of comfort. I appreciate all of these things about them.

Kate and Lex are also camp counselors, which says a lot about why we get along so well. In high school, we were given monthly portfolio problems in our pre-calculus class. Sometimes this turned into a group study session. One such occasion occurred at my house, during our senior year of high school. Somehow this math party erupted into a sing-a-long in the way only camp counselors can manage. Please enjoy this photo of myself, Lex, Kate & Cayla rocking out to "Children of the Lord/Rise & Shine"....

The weekend was a much needed break from Steamboat. Now that the snow has come, I know that I will hibernate here. I'll pretty much settle in to "island" life for the next 5 months. If I'm lucky, the ferry from the mainland will bring a few of my friends here to ski.

It's time to snuggle in for sleep. In the meantime, I love you all!


After a busy and anxiety ridden workday yesterday (5 Executive Director Interviews, lots to do for ski season, discovering grants that were never completed last winter, and on and on...), I relaxed last night by listening to the "Aloha Live" songs. It's a recording of delightful Aloha songs sung ridiculously high by small campers in the 90s. I lay in my bed listening to some of my favorite traditional tunes, thinking of happy moments and faces from my camp experiences.

It worked.

"A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don't allow the happy moment, because they're so busy trying to get a happy life." - Abraham-Hicks


happiness, in this moment, is a down comforter, sleepytime tea & a new music artist singing in my ear.

today i am thankful for a beautiful full moon, crisp blue skies, a sweaty spin class, a honeycrisp apple, an adorable thank you note from nyc & ridiculous laughter over the little things.

thanks for stopping by to visit my day.


"go for long walks, indulge in hot baths, question your assumptions, be kind to yourself, live for the moment, loosen up, scream, curse the world, count your blessings, just let go. just be." -carole shields

“that was a memorable day for me, for it made great changes in me. but, it is the same way with any life. imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. pause, you who read this, and think a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns and flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.” -charles dickens

“to know with whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of distances or thoughts unexpressed...that can make this life a garden” -goethe


Today on facebook my status is:
"Proudly celebrating two years at the Community Foundation by submitting my first grant proposal and representing the Foundation on the City Community Support Steering Committee. Whoa."

As I wrote it, I thought? Am I boasting too much? Why am I saying this on facebook? And it truth, it is because I want to share what feels like a significant accomplishment with those I love. And because my social world here in Steamboat is so small, I felt that I needed to shout it a little louder. Each time someone chooses to "like" my status, I like a friend is proud of me and celebrating with me. Heck, each time someone "likes" any of my statuses, I feel warm and fuzzy!

So, I'm sitting here having mailed off the grant proposal to El Pomar (elpomar.org) for a grant for Capacity Building Support for Routt & Moffat County nonprofits (we'll find out in December if we've received it). I spent the afternoon at the Steering Committee meeting deciding how to allocate $334,975 dollars of City taxpayer money between three Coalitions for Health & Human Services, Environment and Arts & Culture. And I'm thinking, "Who am I to be making such huge decisions?!"

And now I'm faced with my "annual" self-evaluation, which feels somewhat daunting because:
1. My last self-evaluation was completed on 6/11/2008
2. I was still the Office Manager at that time
3. No specific "goals" were ever set by me or by my former boss when i entered the role of Program Manager.
4. Due to a lack of "boss," my self-evaluation has to be submitted to the Exec Committee, which means 8 people giving feedback instead of one.

It's hard to believe that it was two years ago that Brett and I were driving a van full of stuff to open a storage unit, when I got a voicemail from Betsey offering me the position. On Saturday, Brett and I moved OUT of our storage unit (and are getting rid of SO much stuff- hooray!) and today I am still at work at the Community Foundation, in a very different role than when I started, thinking through my evaluation. I've come full circle, I'd say.


Oh Sunday Mornings, how I love you. I've enjoyed an extra-long morning due to the time change... slept in late (but then switched the clock back an hour!), lounged in bed, started laundry, and made myself this delightful cinnamon bread french toast & bacon & coffee brunch. Sundays are such a delightful day to be entirely lazy, productive & selfish, all at once. It's another gorgeous fall (not winter! hooray!) day here and I'm trying to decide how to best appreciate it.


  • 3 cds in the mail from my Dad, with a post-it as requested. Last week Dad sent me some newspaper clippings, and there was no note in the envelope. Of course, I love mail of any sort, and I appreciate Dad's mailing of articles, clippings, etc. But I kindly called him out on the lack of message and said "at least a post-it note would be nice." So tonight I opened my mailbox to find a surprise envelope from him with three cds (Van, Louden Wainwright III, the Dead- yippee!) and a post-it. The post-it simply said "hello".... very funny, Dad!
  • Significant progress on my first-ever grant proposal. Anne, the woman helping me with it, is a bit of a miracle. She has a ton of grant writing experience, and literally whips these things up in a day. Amazing!
  • Kudos from a Board Member!
  • A quick check-in with a glowing friend.
  • A phone call from Grandmommy! Who saw on the news that Colorado was getting pounded with snow and called to check on me. I love her. We talked for the duration of my chilly walk home.
  • I literally just realized, as I reflected back through my day, that I never drank my smoothie. It's sitting in a nalgene in the fridge at work. Boo. I guess a high tomorrow will be my smoothie waiting for me?
  • The briefness of the above check-in with said friend.
  • A bit of homesickness. I've been enjoying organic honeycrisp apples this week, and they are deeeelicious. However, great apples = fall in New England, and it's been too long since I've enjoyed fall in the east.

Hmm. I seem to have fallen off the blogwagon for a few days.

Winter seems to have fallen onto Routt County. Well, it's fallen onto Colorado in general- with more snow (18 inches i heard?) falling on the Front Range (Colorado Springs-Denver-Boulder-Ft Collins corridor for those who aren't familiar). We actually escaped with only a few inches of snow, but had some damage from severe winds. The temperature is now settled at a brisk 25 degrees.
I walked to work this morning and had this strange feeling of "this is what my life might be like in a city." It was chilly & breezy, with only a thin crusty layer of snow on the grass and rooftops. I've always thought I probably couldn't stand a city in the winter, because it is just cold and no fun. Snowfalls don't mean skiing, and storms mostly mean bad driving conditions. Anyway, I walked along wearing my skinny jeans with my target boots (very city-esque. or horse-jockey-esque....), a big sweater and my better sweater, stopped at Safeway for a Starbucks coffee, and talked on my cell phone to my mother while trying to avoid the icy patches (stylish boots = no tread). If I ever live in a city, is that what my life might look like?

In the meantime I am ever thankful that I don't live in a city, and that we weren't hit too hard by this storm. I am feeling particularly unenthusiastic towards WINTER at this point. But I'm hopeful that the snow will hold off until closer to ski season, and that I'll enjoy an epic winter of skiing and playing and enjoying snow.

In other news, my beautiful friend Jenna turned 26 this past weekend. I didn't post a cute little post like I did last year (http://catchthetruth.blogspot.com/2008/10/very-special-day.html) but I did get to have a wonderful phone chat with her, and I'm hoping for a little city playtime in March.

Alysha graduated from her Police Academy on Friday, which is a huge huge huge accomplishment. I'm super proud of her for completing a really rigorous 6 month program and excited for her job to really get started.

Oh, you didn't come here for an update on my friends? Well, life in Steamboat is going well. Work is continuing to be time-consuming and exhausting, but I'm also trying some new and exciting things. I'm writing my first grant proposal for the El Pomar Foundation grant round. I've been on the other side of the table, giving out grants, so far, so it's interesting to try my hand at the other side. Thankfully I've hired someone to help me out, because I'm short on time and experience. I'm sitting on the City of Steamboat Springs Human Resource Allocation Committee, so last weekend I read 20 grant proposals, attended a meeting on Monday, and next Friday have all-day Hearings from the Health and Human Service organizations that are applying. I'm gaining new experience (and puffing up that resume!) and it's exciting, for the most part. I'm honestly not sure that I ever shared the big news that my boss (Betsey) is no longer with the Foundation. It was nearly a month ago, but she and the Board had different visions of success, and she parted the day before my parents arrived for their visit. The Board is in the process of hiring a new Executive Director (no, I'm not interested), but in the meantime I'm filling that role in some ways, as well as executing my current role as Program Manager, as well as maintaining some of the duties of my old position as Office Manager. So that may explain to you why my highs & lows have been so work-oriented on many days. Phew!

Speaking of work, this has been a nice little break but it's time to get back to the El Pomar proposal. Being faced with a blank word document has brought me back to my college days in a big way- and procrastination/distraction is still hard to avoid!

Warm hugs & lots of love to all.


One big high:
Today I received two pieces of mail. One from EACH of my grandmothers, and each included a clipping related to rowing. Gran (mom's mum) sent me a long article from the Boston Globe about the Head of the Charles. Grandmommy (dad's mom) sent an article about a recent Riverside Rowing Regatta in Hartford. I feel so special to have gotten mail from both of them, and for them to think of me when they see rowing. I have the best grandmothers :).

Happy Weekend!


High- festivities for Brett Schmeltz's bday, sunshine
Low-a stressed boyfriend

High-Giving the "staff update" at the Board Meeting, a friendly face via video, skipping Ab Lab to do abs & chat with Steph (from Vista Verde), funfetti birthday cake.
Low- Giving the "staff update" at the Board Meeting, an insurmountable workload.


High-denver pumpkin festival
Low- driving in the dark

High- a restorative yoga class at the yoga center, chatting with Ken and Carol in the parking lot outside my office
Low-cancelled plans, a lack of food inspiration


High- New grey corduroys, a Mani-Pedi date with Kat, playing Apples to Apples with camp crowd in Boulder.
Low- Lots of Cops on 70, Waiting on friends in Boulder.

High- Powder skis for $40, early morning yoga class, celebrating Alysha's final exam from afar.
Low- End of workday requests by the Board, dealing with Cook Subaru.


  • Dinner at the Rio with Brett

  • Stress-induce sleeplessness


Highs & Lows

Since I've had trouble finding time for real updates and long posts, I'm going to try a new approach for a little while. At Aloha, we often wrap up the day with "Highs & Lows" which involves going around a group (tent family, counselor unit, etc) and giving each person the opportunity to share one or two things that were the best or worst part of their day. Since I don't have internet at home, I'll try to post my highs & lows in the morning for the previous day. I make no promises... but it seems like a good way to summarize my goings-on. Let's give it a try...

  • Being asked to join the City of Steamboat Springs Human Resource Coalition Allocation Committee. In short, this means that I will be on a committee with city and county representatives reading grant proposals from local human service nonprofits and participating in the allocation process. Aka giving away city and county $!
  • Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup for dinner. Yum.
  • Seeing Ken & Carol after they were gone for nearly 3 weeks.
  • A kick-ass kickboxing class.


  • Having a nonprofit partner discount my hard work at YVCF.
  • Jealousy.

It's always good when the list of highs is double the list of lows!


I enjoyed a most relaxing weekend in Steamboat. I did a lot of lounging... watching movies, putzing on the computer and hanging with the boys. I have today off from work and I've been to a wonderful yoga class at the yoga center and now I'm sipping on a steamed chai at Steamin' Bean.

My parents were out to visit at the end of September. It was their first trip out here without ski gear and deep winter (though we did still get snow....) and it was perfect. I picked them up in Denver and we strolled through the Botanic Gardens. That night we saw VAN MORRISON in concert. I've dreamed of seeing Van Morrison with my Dad for the past few years- we listened to him a lot growing up and I have many fond memories of Van songs with my Dad. We were really far back in the theater, but the acoustics were incredible and he played a fantastic setlist, including "Moondance", "Gloria", "In the Garden"... It was great.
We spent the next morning exploring Denver, and spent extended time at the Tattered Cover Bookstore. Then we drove up to Boulder, enjoyed lunch at Bim Bam Boo and strolled Pearl. I showed them where I lived briefly at Kate & Lex's house... and then we headed up to Estes Park where we spent the night at the Stanley Hotel. Luckily Mom & I haven't seen the Shining at all and Dad's only seen a bit of it, so we didn't get too freaked out! We stayed in the "historic" hotel & the fold-out couch that I was meant to sleep on was definitely historic. I ended up on the floor on top of the couch mattress, a cot & laughing hysterically with my Mom.

We drove on Trail Ridge Rd all the way through Rocky Mtn National Park, which was absolutely beautiful. We spent the remainder of the week in Steamboat where I was oh-so-proud to have a guest room and fully stocked guest bathroom. We enjoyed walking up Spring Creek, shrimp tacos at the yurt, ice skating, an italian birthday dinner (Mom turned 59!) complete with a waiter from Vermont and free desserts... It was so wonderful to have my folks here enjoying Steamboat with me.

I was, as always, so sad to part with them. I've had a hard time recently focusing on the beauty in present tense and avoiding getting sad when things end. The cycle of leaves dropping off the trees for fall & my parents leaving hit me hard and I had a rough week facing "change" and feeling lonely.

Today, the sun is shining and I am refreshed by yoga. Hooray.


My 'Paca Friends

I knew that I'd been an inconsistent blogger recently, but I didn't realize just how bad I'd been! Four posts in the month of September? Yikes. I'm terribly sorry to my few loyal readers :).

I'm out on the farm today and it's lovely. Ken & Carol have been gone for over two weeks, so the Bretts have been busy taking care of the alpacas. I've been here for a few feeds and I've just jumped right back in with my muck boots and carhartts. Brett asked me one day how it felt to be "back" and I replied, "It's wonderful. It's like being back with all my old friends." Silly as it sounds, the alpacas & two guard dogs have been my companions over the past two years during a time when I've had very few friends in my physical presence. Sure, we don't do much conversing but they are consistently excited to see me, and that's worth something. And I enjoy saying "Good Morning Sadie, Hello Victoria, Hello Rumita, Hello Luminosa... and on and on as I give each of them a scoop of grain." Living and working on the farm has been a very cool experience for me & I know I'll always remember it fondly. Of course I love my seven minute walking commute to work now, but I do miss the 'pacas from time to time.


"If there is any secret to this life I live, this is it: the sound of what cannot be seen sings within everything that can. & there is nothing more to it than that." -Storypeople


"this is an invitation to an amazing future & I can guarantee it because most futures are & even if they aren't there are better things to do than blaming me about it." -storypeople


After three weekends in a row of travel, and with three more anticipated, I enjoyed this past weekend staying in Routt County. I feel like I really took advantage of all that Steamboat has to offer, and relished in a few late summer days, with definite hints of autumn. Friday night I promptly fell asleep early watching tv in bed. This whole "tv in bed" concept is very new to me- but with a small television in my pre-furnished bedroom, I've started to enjoy a taste of tv before bed... and I've started to make a really bad habit of trying to stay up until 10pm to watch a quick episode of Sex and the City on tbs before heading to dreamland. It wouldn't be a bad habit, except that ten o'clock = eliza's bed o'clock...
Friday: early to bed.
Saturday: I finally connected with my dear Jenna on the phone for a nice chat session while I enjoyed my coffee. The Bretts and I stuffed ourselves with a delightful brunch at Winona's before venturing to the last Steamboat Farmers Market of 2009 to stock up on local soap, asiago-basil bread, shitake mushrooms & tomatoes. While the Steamboat Market is no Montpelier or Boulder market, I've come to really enjoy all that it offers and I'd like to note that the meager produce selection improved slightly this summer. Next we headed off on an adventure that has been on my to-do list for just about three years... hiking the Mad Creek trail to Strawberry Park Hot Springs! It's a fairly gentle 3 mile hike, and the colors were really starting to change along the trail and mountainsides. We enjoyed a soak in the springs, hiked back down, and headed down to the Farm for an end-of-summer Grilled Pizza party at the yurt with Ken & Carol and Rob & Anita. Brett's brother Chad also came up for the feast. We made many delicious creative pies over the fire, and as always I appreciated the "family" I have formed here with Ken and Carol. While I have really enjoyed living right in town for these past 3 months, I think that I will always think of my "home" in Steamboat as the Alpaca Farm. I spent almost two full years living there, doing the drive, feeding the 'pacas and enjoying my "family" of Brett, Ken and Carol.
Sunday: After a fitfull night's sleep accompanied by my guard-dog girlfriend Lupita's barks, we had a lazy morning around the farm. Eventually around noon I made two pizzas with the leftover toppings from the night before, and the B's and I headed into Steamboat. The Bretts have gotten very into mountain biking over the past few weeks, and I wanted to try to ride with them. We headed up Spring Creek Trail, which starts a moderate wide trail and becomes a single track off-and-on climb towards Buffalo Pass. I was proud of my gym-fitness as my legs held up very well (I smoked the boys on the non-technical uphills!) but I did have moments of panic in the more technical and rocky parts. I have little mtn biking experience (aside from my old favorite ride on the Vassar Farm!) and I definitely need to gain some technical experience to improve my confidence. Regardless, I made it up and down (roughly a 14 mile ride) in one piece and despite some ailing back pain and stubbornness, I would call it a success!

This week is going well-- the Community Foundation is the key player in a conference taking place in Steamboat this Wed-Fri called the Northwest Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days (northwestrpd.org) so I'll be busy for much of the week. This weekend I'm headed down to Boulder for my friend Faith's graduation from Massage School and celebration. The following weekend my parents arrive and we are going to see Van Morrison in Denver! I am so thrilled. The weekend after that, Brett's folks will be here and I may be headed to Eagle or Denver to catch up with them. Phew!

Sorry I haven't been a regular updater recently. Love to all!


"In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants & hold the world in arms grown strong with love & there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them." -storypeople


Goodbye, Lala!

Lauren left today, after a delicious farewell breakfast at Creekside Cafe. I am so sad to see her leave. We have had a wonderful summer together venturing to free concerts, to the bike-in movie, tubing the river, attempting to play horseshoes, grilling, watching terrible cheesy television, and rocking out to great music. I am so glad she came back to Steamboat and I hope she'll be back again in January. I've always been jealous of the clan of cousins in her branch of the family, and its been so nice to feel like a cousin this summer!


I'm sitting at Amante sipping a glass of wine and uploading photos to facebook with my Lala.
I'm sure going to miss her when she leaves on Tuesday.

I have been feeling so thankful for so many moments this week.
It's a beautiful thing!


This weekend was full of friendship and decadence and joy. Friday afternoon after work, I headed down to Boulder to play with my dear dear friend Sigel who was in town for a few days only enjoying Colorado with her new and marvelous friend Annie. Upon Sigel's arrival to Boulder, she deemed it "the land of soymilk and agave nectar" rather than "land of milk and honey" and that juxtaposition rang through my head throughout the weekend. We went out for Ethiopian food, which was a new and delighfully fun experience for me. Saturday we participated in my absolute favorite Boulder activity-- a full shop & sample-taste of the Farmers Market. As always it was an overwhelming and beautiful festival of fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, granolas, soaps, herbs and of course, tamales. We enjoyed a blissful day, and then I hopped back in the car and drove straight to Stagecoach for a night with the Bretts.
My timing was perfect because Sunday morning (after a fairly successful manual driving lesson), the most anticipated alpaca of the summer was born! Carol's top alpaca (techinically world champion grey...) was bred to a top female (named Barefoot Contessa) and so this baby was expected to be primo. We returned from our driving lesson to Ken's calls of "hurry, the head and shoulders are out!" and made it down in time to see the slithery little creature arrive into this great world.

Sigel slacklining

Annie slacklining

minutes old, still figuring out those legs

two hours old, looking much more comfortable (and cute)

three peas in a pod of fun

Green Mtn Reservoir, on the drive home from Boulder

Avett Brothers

Thursday night marked the last free concert of the summer in Steamboat, and it may have been the best one yet-- the Avett Brothers at the base of the ski area. The brothers put on a lively, beautiful show... the weather was clear, cool and the stars eventually shined above... the company of both our landlords and closest friends Ken and Carol as well as our "new friends" (yes, we are finally making friends!) was delightful. While summer is far from over, it was a perfect finish to a summer of wonderful free shows in town.
oh hey, blue eyes...

the core crew of summer 2009

avett brothers!

b & e, k & c


Gilpin Lake, August 15-16

This past weekend we were joined by my friend Kat from Aloha and four of her friends from Denver for a camping extravanga. We headed back up to Clark for another hike in the Zirkel wilderness- to Gilpin Lake. It was my favorite hike that I did when I worked at Vista Verde. We knew that there was a chance of storms, but the clouds didn't look too daunting driving up. We hiked for several miles before claps of thunder urged us to turn around. Within moments we heard a "whoosh" sound roll over the mountain and hail that was bigger than quarters began pelting us! I have never felt or seen anything like it in my life. We ran back down the trail to a giant boulder and huddled under its small shelter. I put my backpack over my head and could hear the hail plunking my nalgenes! My left hip was somewhat exposed and I now have at least five round bruises from the hail. Kat had a perfect bruise on her hand as well. The storm lasted at least three minutes, and then stopped entirely. The trail was covered by two or three inches of solid hail, and we weren't sure what would come next, so we high-tailed it back down the trail until the sun came out. We stopped for a trail lunch (yum) and assessed the situation before deciding to continue up to Gilpin Lake. We speed-hiked up, took a pee and some pictures before another storm rolled in and we all raced back down the trail. We ended the trail with 44 degree temps, drizzling rain and very chilly hands. Luckily everyone was in good spirits and had plenty of warm dry layers left, so we still camped off of Seedhouse Rd. The sky cleared off completely and the stars were incredible, although extremely chilly. I firmly believe in bluegrass music for camping or driving in the mountains, and I'm pleased to report we enjoyed Yonder Mtn String Band and Sam Bush for our background music for toasting s'mores and hot dogs.
with sky like this, we should have known...

moments after the hail subsided.

two to three inches covered the trail!

it was giant. and painful. i have bruises exactly this size on my head, shoulder and hip.

pinecones and twigs also got knocked down

we walked about ten minutes back down the trail, stopped for lunch,

and along came the blue sky!

hiking back up, we passed our savior rock.

kat and i at gilpin lake, before the next storm rolled in

the whole gang

sunday morning, much better weather

Gold Creek Lake, August 8-9

We decided that the best way to welcome Brett Schmeltz to Colorado would be to take him camping, and one of my summer goals was to get back into the Zirkels. We had a wonderful, sunny weekend hiking a new trail to Gold Creek Lake, camping, and laughing over s'more creations. Enjoy the pics!