Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a list!

My first list of my new blog!  I love lists.  If you didn't read my old blog, you don't know that.  But since I only have 5 8(!!) followers right now, I think you all know me well enough to know that I love me a list.  This list, in the spirit of all things New-Year's-Resolution is about things I wish to accomplish....sometime in the relatively near future.  I'm not really sure what I mean by "relatively near future," so we'll see.

Please note that they're listed in no particular order.  With to-do lists of more menial tasks, I generally prefer to list them in order of importance.  But here, it's too hard to tell.  What's most important today, might be least important tomorrow.

1.  Be brave.  I really want to try things that push me to my limits and then some.  I tend to wimp out a lot.  I think I'm a bit of a perfectionist and often don't like to do things if I don't know how good I'll be at them.  This fear is magnified when I know other people will be watching me potentially fail at something.  Ugh. I hate it.  But my biggest goal (I think this is #1 on the list for a reason) is to really work on not caring a) what other people think and b) whether or not I am good at something, as long as I am enjoying doing it.  NOW, the problem here is that I generally don't enjoy doing things I'm not very good at.  Especially if everyone else is better than me.  So I need to give new things a few tries.

I think one of the bravest things I ever did was drop everything on the East Coast and move to Colorado.  And I wouldn't trade that decision for the world.  Sometimes I reflect on my move out here and think to myself, "I did it!"  I thought this especially often my first year here, when everything was still shiny and new.  But even now, I will still look around me in awe at the grandeur of the mountains and feel proud of myself for making this happen. Just imagine what other amazing things could be in store for me if I could just be a bit more brave.

2. Get better at knitting.  Knitting is randomly something that I'm not very good at (yet!), but am very motivated to learn.

3.  Get better at photography.  Same deal as knitting.  Plus, I can't let my brand new camera go to waste.

4.  Take a step back. I tend to get stressed really easily.  I don't know why.  I need to work on being able to take a step back and evaluate what's really important in a situation.

5.  Maybe take a sign language class this spring?  I really want to do this.  Ever since the 5th grade, I have had this weird, stalker-ish obsession with sign language.  I've never done anything official about it, but have picked up on random signs here and there along the way and stored them in some weird file in my brain.  (My favorite sign is for "freeze pop.")

What's holding me back?  Well, I have to figure out (tomorrow) whether or not I qualify for in-state tuition.  If I don't, I refuse to pay $253/credit hour at the local community college when in-state is only $47/credit hour.  I'm sorry, but is that inflation ridiculous or not?  If I can't get in-state, then I'll have to continue my stalker-ish ways until another sign language opportunity presents itself.

Update:  They wouldn't give me in-state tuition.  They accused me of "trying to get cheaper tuition"....well, duh?  Who wouldn't try to get the cheapest tuition possible?  Sigh.

6.  Cook at least one challenging recipe a month.  I feel like I've fallen into a bit of a cooking rut and what better way to get out of it than to learn new recipes and challenge myself in the kitchen?

Could be tricky in this kitchen.  I bet all of my friends in NYC are getting ready to yell at me for this comment.
7.  Put the laundry away right away!  Sigh.  I hate wrinkled clothes.  And, in general, I'm too lazy to iron.  So, I need to put away my laundry immediately after it comes out of the drier. Dryer? How do you spell that?

8.  One thing I always want to do (speaking of drier/dryer) is improve my vocabulary.  The other day on the bus, a friend and I were talking about how we'd gotten a little worked up when talking about a past friend who is not a very good person (to say the least).  I was saying we were "aggressively angry" and he said, "incensed, if you will."  Yup.  Aggressively angry vs. incensed.  In my defense, he went to Yale.

A wordle of my old blog, The Good House.

9.  Save more money.  Living in Colorado has really taught me a lot about what's important to me in life.  And while I do like nice things and buying clothes, there are many things I like more.  For example, hiking, cooking, skiing, and traveling.  I also realize that I took a "serious" pay cut in moving out here.  So, I want to a) not buy such frivolous things as often and b) realize that I am probably behind on my savings (does $50 count?) and need to start catching up on that. For serious things, like retiring some day and buying a house.

10. Smile more.  Two and a half years ago, it was brought to my attention that I tend to look really upset/bored when, in fact, I'm enjoying myself.  I was on a trip to Spain through my old employer with two other employees and a group of high school students from Iowa.  The whole group took a day trip to Morocco, where a photographer took pictures of us all day long.  It felt like the paparazzi, but was really some touristy gimmick.

Image from said tour in Morocco taken on my crappy old camera.
Anyway, at the end of the day, the photographer passed the newly developed pictures around the bus.  Obviously, he hoped that he could sucker us into buying documentation of our cultural experiences.  But for me, and one of my colleagues, this experience was eye-opening in a different way: we realized that we looked REALLY angry about being there.  And, why should we look that way?  We were on a FREE trip to Spain and Morocco, after all.  And, I really did enjoy seeing the sights and soaking up a culture and CONTINENT I'd never been exposed to before.  And yet, I looked angry.  Ugh, what's up with that?

SMILING (kinda) about my inability to keep fondue in my mouth/to get it there in the first place.
Ever since then, when I see myself caught unaware in a photo, I check how happy/sad I look.  Unfortunately, I often look more sad than happy.  I don't want to portray this anymore!  To those of you reading this, please, please, excuse me for always looking like a jerk!  I hope to work on this, but if I can't make myself subconsciously look happier, then know in the future not to take offense.  I'm probably enjoying myself!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


In the past two days, I have petted these two adorable dogs.

Switch, Meg's dog

Rufus, Jackie and Chris' dog

Switch is a 10 week old Australian Shepherd and I don't know what Rufus is or how old he is, all I know is that he's huge!  But guess what? I wasn't allergic to either of them!! I even rubbed my hands all over my face after I touched Switch.  So happy right now.

Friday, January 21, 2011

dr wignall

Since I was little, I've had really bad allergies to animals with fur (among other things like pollen, etc.).   For example, when I was maybe 8 years old, my girl scout troop went on a trip to a local farm.  We brushed the horses in the barn, which I thought was so exciting, because I always wanted to live on a farm.  Much to my dismay, my face began to swell up and I was forced to sit in a car with all of the windows closed for the rest of the trip, while the other girls proceeded to do...well, I don't know what they did, I was in a car.  But I'm sure whatever it was, it was fun.

Since that incident, my animal allergy has periodically continued to make my life miserable.  Like when I was a senior and couldn't show up to finals, because my eyes had swelled shut after I petted my cat the night before.  Or two weeks ago, when I went to shadow my friend Christy at her job in Denver and didn't even touch her cats, and ended up with a grotesquely swollen eye.  I went to her school the next day looking like Quasimodo without the hunched back.  Not to mention my general inability to own a pet, or the fact that I look like the mean person whenever I visit people who do own pets, since I can't touch them. Sigh.

Well, today, I took a step to make all of that change.  I went to Eagle-Vail's Holistic Clinic to see Dr. Wignall, whom I've heard works miracles.  Dr. Wignall uses all sorts of things to re-set his patients' bodies, so they no longer experience adverse reactions to things.  For example, our friend Bec, who suffered terribly from Celiac's Disease,  can now eat bread!  Our friend Mia was allergic to her boyfriend's hypo-allergenic dog (I am allergic to the same dog) and isn't any longer!

When I visited, I first described my symptoms--like itchy nose and throat, and swollen eyes, etc,etc.  Then Dr. Wignall had me hold some brass-looking rod in one hand, and went through a computer program with all sorts of things that could be out of balance in you, like hormones and glands and allergies to different things including foods and plants.  Then he pushed another sensor against my thumb and the computer would register my reaction to the different things.  It seemed really weird, but a few things that I didn't even express concern about showed up as out of whack with me--like sleep hormones and eggplants.

Next, I went into a room where I had to lay down on a bed and hold vials of different things.  Well, the first thing was organs, and I guess it's kind of like a control test.  They had me hold up my hand in the air and resist their attempts to push it down.  That was easy.  Then they added the dog, cat and horse vial to my hand.  I could not, for the life of me, keep my hand up in the air.  Then, I rolled over and they rolled something over my back and did something with lasers to open up my energy field.  Then, I rolled back over and they did something else with lasers again over different specific points on my body to close my energy field.  I could actually feel the lasers.  When I was tested again holding the animal vial I was really strong!  I then had to hold it for ten more minutes and am not allowed to be near animals for 25 hours.  I know it sounds kind of bizarre, but I have heard so many first-hand accounts from friends that it really works, that I can't afford NOT to try it! 

My hope is that some day, relatively soon, I'll be able to own a pet other than Spuds (pictured above).  Yes, it's cool that he lights up, and I'm pretty sure a real pet probably wouldn't be able to do that.  But at least a real pet would be fluffy and warm and want to go for walks!  My first test will be next weekend when Dan and I go to Kansas City---look out Bernie and Joey--here I come! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

what the weather looked like

While we were warm and eating my delicioso melted cheese for our anniversary, this is what it looked like outside:

This is the view from right outside the restaurant.  The snow was blowing fast! 

Here's a more romanticized view of the snow.  It reminds me of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe...

A close up a la Dan 

A lit up sculpture at the newest building in town.

Me outside of the parking stucture.  (I was very nervous about using the camera in the snow!)

Trucks chaining up before going over the pass.  I am NOT envious of those drivers. Yuck.

These pictures were all taken on Monday night.  It has pretty much been snowing non-stop since then.  Well, that's not exactly true...yesterday it was sunny all day and then started snowing again at night and throughout today. I'm going to post some videos Dan took of himself skiing today.  I, unfortunately, was stuck working with 3 year olds who don't know how to stop. :(  

However, on a bright(ish) note, the follow conversation between me and three year olds did transpire:

Me (in preparation for a game about bears):  Who knows what we find in nature?
Eli (3 yrs old, from Ethiopia): BUDDHA!!!
Me: Okayyyy...and what else do we find in nature?
Eli: Jesus Christ!
Nico (3 yrs old, from "his mom"):  G.I. Joe!!!

Eventually a kid guessed, "branches?"  I guess "nature" is too hard of a concept for 3 year olds.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2 year anniversary

Vail got 16" last night and Dan and I have the day off! So this is going to be quick---here we are at home before leaving.  Dan's thrilled about me taking his pic while he's trying to watch basketball.

At the restaurant--Dan surprised me with reservations at the Swiss Chalet.  A really nice restaurant that serves raclette and fondue! Two of my favorites from France.  Bring on the melted cheese!

My appetizer included scallops, obviously.  YUM.  Although, Dan and I agreed we didn't really like the sauce--it was too bitter.  Dan got a delicious squash soup that had cheese curds in it.  I mean, why wouldn't you add cheese?

Cheers to two years!

Our raclette cooking machine! If I ever stop moving every 6 months, I'm definitely investing in one of these.  I love raclette.  It was one of the first means I enjoyed when I was visiting France in high school.  So eating it always brings back good memories for me. 

Dan and me at our table with LOTS and LOTS of food.  We couldn't finish it all! 

A view of my fondue pot and Dan greasing his raclette machine with a piece of bacon (the waitress told us to do that).

Dan cooking his meat and veggies.

A few views after we were all done. 

SO full.  We had grand intentions of getting the choclate fondue for dessert, but couldn't do it.  Maybe we'll just have to go back? 

Haha, my full face sucks.  I just look like an angry monkey.  All in all, it was a great 2 year anniversary! Gotta go skiing now! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

the nate show

I haven't been able to watch The Nate Show since I left Maine, but since I'm home sick today (my head still feels like it's filled with thousands of bricks), I get to watch it!

Check out this video.  The girl, Kristen (obviously it's cool), has the TINIEST apartment ever, but it's really pretty!  See if you can guess where it is before the segment ends....I'll give you a hint: it's NOT New York.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

australian black plague

Most of the time, I love working with the kids at ski school.  But every so often, those pesky little brats get me sick.  And right now is one of those times.  I know exactly who it was.  At least, I think I do.  These two adorable (they are adorable in spite of their illness) girls from Australia.  They arrived here infected with what I am now calling the "Australian Black Plague."

Their parents, probably thinking they're some sort of super-parents, are taking them on a fancy-shmancy, multi-week American vacation.  They've been to New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, skiing in the Rockies (aka here) and are heading to Disney Land soon.  Great.  That's just great.  They've now been to places I've never seen.  (Not even counting the fact that they live in Australia...not that I'm jealous or anything...) But, they're 3 and 5 years old!  Enough already! They're beyond exhausted, can't even appreciate this trip/probably wont remember it, and to top it all off, have infected me with their Australian Black Plague. 

I kid you not, when they first arrived in ski school last week, they were both foaming at the mouth.  Okayyy, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but they did both have egregiously gross white crustiness around their mouths.  And they were both hacking away (cough is too delicate a word for the noise escaping them).  Incessantly.  You'd hear one hack, and the other would echo it.  And then again, but vice versa.  NON. STOP.  And I just kept thinking to myself, stay away, stay away, stay away.  Wash hands, wash hands, wash hands. But now I have a sore throat.  And I swear, if I get those disgusting white crusties around my mouth, I will hunt those kids down in DisneyLand and...well...probably not do anything, because I'm a wimp like that.  But maybe the nice California weather would cure me at least?

Update: I wrote this two days ago and didn't have a chance to post it.  I wanted to take pictures of a cup of tea or something to accompany it.  Now, I am sick in bed with a full-on head cold and potentially a stomach flu?  Either that or my stomach hates me for taking dayquill.  In any event, I have no interest in taking or posting pictures at the moment.  Sigh.

Friday, January 14, 2011

something sweet

I really like vegetables.  A lot.  Like, freakishly a lot.  Ever since I was little I've preferred cucumbers and bell peppers to chocolate.  Freak, right? I wasn't kidding.

But every so often, I don't want vegetables.  I just don't.  Normally I want cheese and pasta instead, but on the rare occasion I crave something sweet.

Like this piece of homemade bread, toasted, with peanut butter and honey on top.  Yum. 

Of course, Dan ate this, not me.  I tried to force myself to eat vegetables tonight.  Not in some attempt to be healthy.  Haha, no, no. But because I know we have a bunch that are on their way to going bad in the fridge.  And there is nothing I hate more than having to throw away food that has gone bad.  Seriously.  It drives me nuts and makes me sad and makes me feel wasteful.  I don't like it. 

So, I ate sauteed vegetables with pasta and cheese.  Except, really, I only ate pasta and cheese and left the vegetables.  Tonight was one of those rare nights when I just wasn't feeling the veggies.  And then I felt bad about not eating the veggies, so I tried to eat them too. 

And even after that, all I wanted was something sweet:

Luckily for me, Dan was nice enough to let me have a bite of his delicious pb & honey toast.  And it was sooo good.  And then I went to the cupboard and ate a spoonful (or three) of peanut butter and nutella.  :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

learning about aperture (?)

I'm learning a lot about aperture by experimenting with different settings.  For example, I learned that the numbers are inversely related to the light let in.  Little number=lots of light.  Big number=less light.  I think? Sigh.  I feel like everything kind of goes in one ear and out the other. I'm trying really hard to remember it all, but there's just so much. Maybe I need to slow down and work on one thing at a time. 

Irregardless, these two photos are horribly overexposed.  p.s. I just said "irregardless" which isn't a word.  Just making sure you're paying attention.  I HATE it when people say irregardless. Ugh.

So now I'm second guessing myself and wondering if I wasn't playing with shutter speed here.  But I wasn't, right? Because shutter speed has to do with movement and aperture has to do with how much light is let in/what's blurry or in focus.  

I changed the aperture drastically and got the above super dark photo, then changed it back a little bit and found a good compromise.  The photo below pretty accurately represents what the road really looked like driving back from Denver. 

Here are a few more pictures of Dan, driving past Copper Mountain on our way back to Vail.  This is where I learned about the inverse relationship between f-stop number and light in the picture.  I tried to turn it up really high to let in more light, and it just kept getting darker.  I was oh, so confused.  This whole camera thing isn't painting me in a very good light.

The last one finally shows Dan's face, but it's still a little blurry.  WHICH I think means I need a faster shutter speed.  And as much as I want it to, shutter speed does not mean flash.  Don't know why I get those two confused.  Maybe because they both make noises?  Eesh.  I promise I'm smarter than this. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

tap, tap, tap

I type really fast.  My fastest speed on is 128 wpm with 99% accuracy. Yup it's true.  It's a bit embarrassing.  I mean, while convenient, I haven't become a fast typer by doing anything particularly cool.  Basically, I spend too much time online and fast typing is a mere byproduct of my lack of a social life.

Dan, however, has always been very impressed by my typing abilities.  He says I can type faster in French than he can in English.  I'm not going to argue with him. He took these action pictures of me typing.

And the quiet keyboard when I'm all done: