I made this striped salad on Sunday night for Faith & Lauren, and then recreated it for Schmeltz & Torre later in the week. So. Good. Perfectly summery and fresh, but filling too. I posted the recipe last year.
The weekends just get better and better. Routt County was graced with a visit from Kate up from Boulder and we had an amazing time enjoying each other's company. There is nothing like an old friend who knows you so well. Spending time together would have been heaven in itself, but our surroundings and activities only made it better! Free Rhythm Devils show (Keller Williams, 2 Grateful Dead members, 1 Gov't Mule member, 2 other guys!) at Howelsen, adventures at Sunpie's, a gorgeous hike to Gilpin Lake, a quiet evening next to a campfire, a nearly full moon and starry night glowing through our tents, cold mac for breakfast, Brie LTs for lunch, endless laughter and so much love. I'd like to recreate it over, and over, and over....
I've been keeping a collection of police reports ever since I started reading the paper regularly at the Foundation. All of the "Octobers" are not necessarily from the same year. Here are few for you to enjoy:
May 12. 1:19 pm. Police were called to a report of a theft in Central Park Plaza. A man who reportedly was seen stealing an 18-pack of beer two hours prior had returned to the grocery store and was reportedly walking out of the store with a jar of tartar sauce. When officers searched the man's bag, they discovered he was also attempting to steal a box of fish sticks.
October 28. 8:41 am. Police were called to a report of a theft in the 300 block of 12th Street where several statues, including a 3-foot-tall chain-saw-carved cowboy, were reportedly missing from the front yard of a house.
December 7. 12:48 pm. Police got a complaint by a woman in Steamboat that someone would not give her snow tires back to her unless she returned a pair of sunglasses. The woman didn't know what sunglasses the person was talking about. Officers mediated the situation.
October 27. 10:58 am. Police were called to a report of a shoplifter in the first block of Anglers Drive where a 16-year-old boy reportedly stole two bags of beef jerky from a convenience store. The boy's mother reportedly brought him back to the store and an officer issued him a "promise to appear," a summons for juveniles.
October 26. 3 pm. Police were called to a request for an officer in the 2100 block of Mount Werner Road where a woman reportedly was locked in a car wash when the front door of the car wash would not open. The woman was reluctant to get out of her car, and an attendant was contacted to open the car wash door.
October 21. 12:20 pm. Police were called to a report of a SUV stolen from Central Park Plaza. Officers drove the woman who reported her SUV missing around the parking lot, where she found the SUV where she parked.
August 8. 8:05 pm. Police were dispatched to a complaint that a brown Volkswagen was cruising around in the 2900 block of West Acres Drive. Officers contacted the driver, a teenager who was learning how to drive a manual transmission vehicle with a parent.
June 14. 12:15 pm. Deputies responded to a report of a suspicious person in the area of mile marker 143 of US 40. The person was picking ferns.
Today is the birthday of two of my most beloved friends. My favorite twins. Kate and Lexie- who have been dear friends since the ripe old age of 4. We met in preschool at Larry Parker's, and quickly bonded over crayons and make believe. Our friendships have strengthened over the years through years of soccer, summer days filled with walks and gaucomole, wonderful music, shared classes, many a passed note or letter from one summer camp to another, long drives, and endless laughter. After college we all moved to Colorado- the twins to Boulder and myself to Steamboat, and we shared (too few) a visit back and forth. Lex has left us for California, but I'm looking forward to an amazing visit from Kate next weekend. They happen to be two of my most loyal blog readers, so I know this is a wonderful place to wish them a happy happy birthday. Cheers to both of you beautiful women. Thank you for the roles you play in my life. I hope 26 is the best year yet for both of you! xoxo
Aside from the show I wanted to attend, one of the major reasons I didn't go backpacking with the crew was because I knew I wanted some downtime this weekend. Today has been the best downtime ever. The theme of today is 'doing awesome things for people i love.' I can't go into too much detail because many of the people I love (hi! i love you too!) read this and I'd rather not say. Even if you don't get a surprise, I still love you.
Today- I woke up, got my computer, and listened to bluegrass (Hit & Run, Crooked Still, Bearfoot) in my bed while finishing my book. Which is great. "Listening is an Act of Love"-- a collection of stories from recordings from StoryCorps. If you don't know about StoryCorps, please go learn: www.storycorps.org. I adore StoryCorps, and used to try to plan my drives on Friday mornings to catch a story on Morning Edition on NPR- at 6:20 or 8:20 am. Now, as I rarely drive, I miss it unless I happen to be on my way to 6:30 yoga on Friday mornings. One of my college roommates, Rach, worked for StoryCorps after college, and it is just the coolest concept. Tiny snapshots into ordinary lives.
Anyway. Post-reading, I did some 'awesome things' (see above) simultaneous with laundry, and then headed to the library for some interneting, blogging, book-returning, etc. Now I'm heading to a bbq joint that happens to be next door to the lib to meet up with the weary backpackers returning from the Zirkels for an impromptu little birthday bbq. Cheers to a relaxing and fabulous Sunday.
I. Love. Live. Music. I love music in general, and have had a "good ear" since I was a young girl. Dad and I would drive in our old volkswagens listening to Van Morrison and the Grateful Dead, and both parents were always surprised when I knew the words to Van's fishbowl song and others. I discovered the joy of live music in high school-- most notably at a pair of Dispatch concerts I went to with FiveAlive. Through those moments, and many others, my world was changed by the energy of the bands, by the bodies dancing in their own fluid ways, and by the effect that seeing a band live carried back into their recorded music when I revisited it. I typically prefer to see bands whose music I am already familiar with-- so that that eager anticipation of recognition will form as they begin a song. But I'm also open to new sounds and songs, of course. Last night was the perfect combination. I had seen that a group called Bearfoot was playing at Strings Music Festival in town, and while I hadn't heard of them prior to seeing it advertised, I knew they looked good. I checked out their myspace page (yes, myspace still has its perks! music perhaps being the only one?) and listened through their songs a few times and was sold. I emailed the press release and myspace link to a few friends I thought might be swayed to join me despite a substantial ticket price. By last weekend, I'd downloaded one of their cds off iTunes and I was hooked. Luckily my awesome friend Torre was also convinced by the myspace page, and we decided to go for it.
It was the best decision ever. We ended up with front row seats, and the band was amazing. Upbeat jams, mellow lyrical songs, they had me grinning. We left saying "they were awesome! this was great! i love music!" over and over. Aside from the band putting on a fabulous show, it was also just so nice to switch up the scenery around here. To dress up a little, sit in a seat (as much as I wanted to get up and dance!) in a beautiful pavilion, drink a glass of wine and be a "grown up" enjoying a lovely Saturday night.
I highly encourage you to check out Bearfoot. They have a Nickel Creek kinda sound, and I'm confident you'll love them.
Saturday morning, part of the crew headed back to Steamboat, and part headed off on a backpacking overnight trip around the Zirkel Circle. I opted to stick with a one-day hike, and embarked on a hike to Mica Basin. The last time I'd been to Mica was 4 years ago when I worked at Vista Verde, and while many of the curves of the trail felt incredible familiar, I had very little recollection of how far along I was at those curves, meadows, rocks, etc. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I loved the combination of working my muscles up the mountains, the breezes and birds and river sounds, and the quiet reflection time for myself. Unfortunately it was a little cloudy while I was actually at Mica Lake, but I sat and snacked briefly before layering up and departing down. I was ravenous by the time I was back at my car, so I stopped at one of my old favorite spots from my Vista Verde days. I used to drive or bike up, snacks and books and journal in tow, and find solace and escape from the busy hustle and social scene of VVR. Today I had no book or journal along, but I had plenty of snacks-- triscuits, sharp cheddar, and salami. Yum. Satisfied, I hopped back in the car and drove home with a big grin and a full heart, sweat-soaked, singing along to an old cd (shoutout to Quints03), windows all the way down and one arm waving in the wind. Pure Joy.
These are activities in which I feel most alive, most content, most pleased with life, and myself. Somehow I just managed to include all of those activities in the past 4 days. Thursday night yoga. Friday night camping off Seedhouse Rd with some fabulous friends. My good friend TJ has a birthday today, and wanted to celebrate by camping and backpacking. So a solid crew of us headed up north (just past Vista Verde), set up camp, and enjoyed a gorgeous night.
another lovely evening. a speedy bike ride to the library beneath the hot summer sun, an exciting collection of book&dvd&cds, a fulfilling and educational yoga class, a giant bison burger on a rooftop patio overlooking the yampa river, good friends and good fun, and a starry-sky bike ride home.
"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
I already posted this once, this past winter. But now that Aloha is underway, camp is on my mind a lot. The things I learned at camp affect me every day, and I'm thankful. Naturally every day can't be as ideal as a day at camp, but I'm certain that there are ways to incorporate the best concepts. Even if you weren't a camper, I'm sure you can find familiarity in the ideas. These are good reminders for all of us.
Ten Lessons for Living a Good Life, From Camp: by Paul Sawyer
1. Spend most of every day outdoors, no matter what you have to do, and no matter the weather. Outdoors Every Day. Even in the rain. There is no bad weather at camp. We are meant to be outdoors, especially in the summer. Walk around a good camp even on a rainy day and you’ll see kids and adults outdoors—playing sports, taking swim lessons, hiking, shooting, painting, eating, building fires, dancing and just running around. Your clothes will dry, I promise. Your soul soars outdoors.
2. Swim every day. A corollary of #1 above. In a natural body of water—often in a beautiful clean lake, sometimes in a freezing cold mountain stream, and whenever you can, in the sea. Learn how to swim. Always respect the water. Never freak out about it. Always have a buddy in the water, and a responsible adult watching from the land or a stable boat. If it’s warm enough, you don’t even need a towel. You can drip dry in the sun.
3. Eat every meal sitting down with other people. Thousands of books have been written on the topic of healthy and mindful eating. They could all be replaced by the list of rules in the dining hall at camp. Hold hands for a reading at the beginning. Wait until everyone is served before you start eating. Have a little of everything, even if you don’t like it—especially if it is green. Ask politely for anything you need. Keep the conversation pleasant and focused on the people at your table, not on some TV show you saw, or even some book you read some while ago. Sort the scraps for composting. Clean up all your dishes before you get dessert. Don’t rush. Stay at the table until everyone is done. Then play a quick table game. Then, and only then, go on with the day.
4. Live the truth that everyone can make music, everyone can sing. Recorded music is wonderful. Love your iPod and your collection of old LP’s. But remember that music is something that you create, not something you consume. We spend years at camp re-educating kids who were told at some point by some numbskull (well meaning, I’m sure) that they couldn’t sing. Baloney. All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir. Everybody can sing. Learn songs that speak to you or that just make you laugh. Learn them by heart. Learn an instrument, learn to drum, or just learn to tap your foot in time. And sing, sing, sing!
5. Know that bugles and bells are better markers of the day than clocks. Good camps have real bugles played by real buglers. You don’t wear watches, and there’s no clock in the dining hall. (Maybe I’m biased because I was and am a camp bugler.) The day starts when Reveille plays. It ends with Taps. In between there are calls to meals and activities, for raising and lowering the flag. If bugler oversleeps, everyone oversleeps, and even then, for the most part—does it really matter? It doesn’t. As long as something marks the time we all need to be in the same place. Activities don’t end at 11:45. They end when you hear the bugle call.
6. Write at least one real, handwritten, letter to someone you love every week. ‘Nuff said. The benefits are obvious and sure. Don’t have time? See #9 below.
7. Wear clothes based on what you want to do, not by how they look. I’ve worked at camps with uniforms and without, and I prefer uniforms for all sorts of reasons. But I know not everyone can live with that. So here’s what’s really important. Wear rugged clothes you can get dirty in and that are easy to clean. Wear shoes that you can run around in. Carry a hat and an extra layer all the time. Lightweight long sleeve shirts and pants are way better at keeping off bugs than spray (I never touch the stuff!). Wool and fleece will keep you warm even when they’re wet. Never—never!—decide not to do something fun you want to because you’re worried about your clothes.
8. Cultivate the ability to do what must be done. The ancient Greeks called this phronesis—the ability to do what must be done. It ranges from little things—like picking up trash when you see it by the side of the road, even if it’s inconvenient—to bigger and more important events. One of the most impressive displays of this ability I ever saw was on a long canoe trip with a group of 12-year-old boys. One day it just poured—all day and most of the night. In the morning we leaders woke up early, and were surprised to find a sleeping bag hanging, dripping, from a clothesline that wasn’t there the night before. Turns out in the rain one of the boys had woken up in a puddle in his tent. While he strung a line and hung the wet bag outside, the other 2 boys in the tent pulled their sleeping bags into blankets and the three pulled the two bags together and went back to sleep. They didn’t freak out, and they didn’t even make any noise. “Why didn’t you wake us up to help?” We asked. “Oh, we knew what to do,” they said, without any drama at all, “It was all fine.” That’s phronesis—the ability to do what must be done.
9. Honor Rest Hour as the most sacred and important part of the day. In the true Perfect World, everyone takes an hour off after lunch (how many times do we even take an hour for lunch these days!?). The rules are the same as they are at camp: You don’t have to sleep, but you do have to rest. One hour. On your own bunk. With your shoes off. Doing something restful—napping, writing a letter (see #6), meditating, praying, reading, playing solitaire. One hour. On your bunk. Even if you don’t have time. Especially if you don’t have time.
10. Understand that how you treat other people is more important that what you know how to do. It doesn’t matter at camp how smart you are if you’re a jerk. It doesn’t matter how often you’re right if you’re not willing to help out. No one remembers what you know. Everyone remembers, forever, how you make them feel.
one of the quintessential summer-in-steamboat activities is heading to the rodeo on friday and saturday nights. it's a real professional rodeo with touring cowboys in wrangler jeans, giant bulls, barrel racing, calf roping, etc. i've been once in my 4 years here- for my first 4th of july. it's not exactly my scene. but when a friend said she could get us in VIP for free, we decided to throw on our cowboy boots and head to the rodeo. it was a warm summer evening and we had a blast.
a lovely thing happened last night. i created a new holiday. a summer feast. call it summergiving, or thanksummer or fresh summer festival. call it what you will. but it was amazing. i concocted both the idea, and the menu, one night last week when i couldn't fall asleep. and thus a feast of friendship was born. i invited my steamboat family over-- lauren, torre, schmeltz and tj. without brett, nick or john here this summer, my den-mama-job is half the size, but not half the work. tj unfortunately wasn't able to join us- but lauren, torre and schmeltz came over and together we enjoyed every moment. schmeltz brought two really tasty wines, and the menu was as follows: course 1. artichoke dip and tortilla chips. course 2. denver-made 'summer herb' pasta with eliza-made pesto, chicken, and local shitake mushrooms. accompanied by a salad of spinach, strawberries, avocado, goat cheese, walnuts and a dressing of sea salt, agave, balsamic, and olive oil. course 3. homemade creamy peach-blueberry pie. topped with a generous glob of freshly whipped cream. shared with a few of favorite people. outside. on a lovely july evening. it was like went to heaven. without dying. after we feasted, we sat on the couches and smiled. we coined a new word: foodsmirk. it's a little bit like grinface, and a lot like a food coma, paired with the extreme contentment that comes with awesome food and wonderful friends.
i started a 4 week yoga series last night at the yoga center. simply practicing yoga at the yoga center rather than at the gym makes it a calming, special experience... but the fact that this is a series focused on chakras makes it even more unique. it was an awesome 1.5 hr class of learning about 2 chakras, doing 2 different meditations, and some flow. ahh. i left feeling cozy and restored. i made a quick run to the grocery store, and then came home. miss j inspired me with her blog comment on my last salad post, so i whipped up a spinach salad topped with strawberries, plain goat cheese, and a few walnuts for omega-3s. topped with a dressing of olive oil, balsamic, agave nectar, and sea salt. YUM. i forgot (very briefly) how amazing goat cheese is. especially plain goat cheese. i've been on this blue cheese kick, and before that i was eating herbed goat cheese. i'm already looking forward to going home for lunch to recreate it. i also had some organic mac & cheese (yes, i know it looks like kraft), because well, on a damp night, what could be better?
this morning is another beautiful blue day in the boat. i love these gorgeous mornings, but i am getting sick of the afternoon storms that roll in right when i'm getting off work and ready to play outside. it's the hot air balloon rodeo in steamboat this weekend, so i saw about 8 balloons drifting along when i walked out of my apt this morning! this weekend i'm looking forward to seeing more balloons and enjoying an art festival called art in the park. no other real plans.
i'm having lunch at my desk today. hi, post-it notes and papers everywhere! i've been obsessed with this salad for exactly one week now. i was eating it once or twice a day last week, but decided to take a few days off so i didn't burn out on it. i went back to it today, and it's still as delicious as i thought. spinach (last week i used arugula also) topped with craisins, blue cheese crumble and walnuts. the dressing is annie's naturals roasted red pepper. i've been through almost an entire bottle in a week (i did take it to a small dinner party). that's never happened. anyway- yum.
As I mentioned, Saturday was the first free concert in Steamboat. After watching the World Cup game, a few of us grilled up some buffalo burgers on my awesome new miniature grill. Then rode bikes down to the free concert. I wasn't all that crazy about the band (Big Kenny of Big & Rich), but it ended up being a gorgeous evening once some rain showers passed through, and we had a fun crowd of friends biking around town & dancing to Missed The Boat (local bluegrass) at Mahogany later on.
Oh, sweet summer. July has arrived. I awoke to a hot sunny room this morning, and I knew I would have to shave my legs again to keep up my wear-a-dress-to-work-week. I know it's the thick of summer because I can bike or walk to work with bare arms, and open my office windows wide as soon as I get in. I know it's true summer because local corn is on sale 4 ears for $1, and peaches are starting to fill the shelves. I know summer is truly underway because there are 3 new alpaca babies out at the farm (I talked to Carol yesterday. I'm homesick for alpacas and yurts and Ken & Carol).
I don't have real internet at my apartment. I have fake internet, by which I mean that I am stealing it from a neighbor, and most of the time it works for about 4-15 minutes at a time. My morning routine is to get up, make coffee, and fuss with the internet for about 10 minutes. It's a complete waste of time. And the sunlight is best on my little patio in the morning. So, I'm making a real effort to make my coffee, and take it out to the patio. Breakfast too. Those 10 minutes of warm sunshine and relaxation set me up for a far better day than a little internet time, or a whole lotta error messages. Today I enjoyed my coffee with a couple of slices of the zucchini bread I baked last night, with a smear of cream cheese. Delicious.
As I sat enjoying my breakfast and sunlight, I heard these huge whoooosh sounds. Low and behold, a hot air balloon came cresting over the condos across the lawn. I mean, really?
Who has hot air balloons come drifting by their morning view? Here's the thing. This happened on Saturday too. It all comes back to that quote I started a post with last week.