Whilst writing a paper…

I desire to write a blog.

I sit here trying to “pump out,” to use the highly academic term, 4-6 pages. I have another 3 pager due tomorrow, and a 5-7 page paper to write before this weekend is up. If I can just conquer one, who knows what I could do next! (Maybe write two more.)

But, despite my passion for academic growth and scholarship (was excited to spend $15 at Barnes and Noble this evening on a book by a favorite philosopher Thomas Kuhn), I long to return to my blog. Or any space where punctuation doesn’t matter so much. And I can start my sentences guilt-free with “but,” “or” and “and.”

What I’m saying is…

Could you just…pay me to do this?

Back to the books.

Trail Photos

So, I just finished a breezy Sunday bike ride. I might add though that it was 25.5 miles round trip! (Check my map below.) I saw gorgeous fall colors and winding rivers, and even accidentally became part of a university-sponsored “families of Fort Collins” bike ride for a few miles, which was fine because I had a few ride volunteers cheering me on to keep going! Thought I’d share some pictures like I mentioned from hikes and bike rides I do regularly up here.

My 2 hour bike TREK this morning! All on city trails that keep you close to nature and far from cars.

Friends and I at the peak of the Horsetooth Reservoir hike.

The drive through the Poudre Canyon to hike Gray Rock.

The Mishawaka Inn, Restaurant and River Ampitheatre–where you have lunch after hiking in the Poudre Canyon or catch a summer riverside concert!

The back Mishawaka patio, where I enjoyed nachos and a lemonade after our 6 mile hike.

Coyote Ridge– where we did a solid 8 miles and then keeled over.

Where we sat for lunch at Coyote Ridge.

The east end of the Spring Creek Trail–not bad for a Sunday morning bike ride.

Ok not a trail…but our view of the USA Women’s National Team (and recent gold medalists!) vs. Australia down in Denver! We won 6-2, naturally.

Cycling and Hiking

My dad says I should write a post!

So I have 30 minutes until I teach my class, and I guess this is as good a time as ever. Off the top of my head, besides teach and attend class and read and write of course, the thing I seem to do most in Fort Collins is cycle. Maybe I spend equal amounts of time cycling and hiking, actually, but I try to ride my bike about an hour a day, and I only usually hike one week day per week and on weekends. So, although the time may be equal, I cycle more regularly.

And man, did I pick the right place to get into riding a bike!

Fort Collins has bike lanes EVERYWHERE, and I hardly have to use them due to the amazing bike trails crossing all over town. My regular ride is between 12 and 16 miles, and my preferred trail is the Poudre River Trail…which does, in fact, ride along the Poudre River. My rides can take me north along the Rocky Mountain foothills to the tiny and bright yellow Bellevue Bean coffee shop (definitely pop in for an organic cappuccino if you’re needing more energy), or it can take me east across the north edge of FoCo, where I can dip off into the northern neighborhoods of town that are chock full of colorful houses, quirky gardens and roof-high sunflowers (Fort Collins gets 230 days of sun on average annually). If I choose to go east, I also have the option to take two trails that jet off the sides of the Poudre River Trail and take you directly up to the front doors of the two renowned craft breweries of Fort Collins- Odell Brewing or the New Belgium Brewery. Seeing as both locals and out-of-towners love this trail, not a bad idea breweries!

Additionally, though I do adore cycling here in the breezy foothills, I love the hiking, too. Girls from the program and I (and my friend’s puppy, of course) like to jet about 2 miles west of my place to hike 3 miles roundtrip up and down the foothill directly behind Hughes Stadium, Colorado State’s football stadium. From about halfway up you start to get a sweeping view of Fort Collins, the plains stretching out, the foothills surrounding, and occassionally- on a clear day- a lucky glance at the front range of the Rockies down the road in Estes Park. Once you’re up to the top of the trail you are standing on the edge of Horsetooth Reservoir, and you can stand on the edge of a boulder looking out over the massive manmade reservoir, with boats jetting across it every which way, and feel the refreshing blast of cool wind coming from the west up the hills.

Well, I could go on and on about trails and bikes and my pass times, but it’s time to teach! Today we discuss delivery of speeches, as we’re about to start giving our first official speeches starting next week, and I simply cannot WAIT to exemplify incorrect posture, poor articulation and other various verbal and nonverbal traits that one must consider when speaking publicly, and then get my students to do some impromptu speaking/acting. I know the classroom isn’t a stage…but it sure is fun to play! I practically burst at the seams, gripping the podium every class telling my students how fantastic learning can be. They’re either very inspired, or very scared of me. And I’ll take either!

Will snap some photos from bike and hike trails this weekend!

An amateur is always learning…

I’ve been having an incredible last week in Austin, and it’s not over yet! I’m sitting comfortable and content, oh and sore, after a day of swimming in Barton Springs before 8 a.m. and hiking the Austin Greenbelt for several hours with my little brother. But I thought I’d take a moment, with a glass of red wine, a mug full of Bluebell Coffee ice cream (got this taste from my grandparents who also taught me to love both coffee and wine), and the Olympic opening ceremonies playing in the background, to showcase some important lessons I’ve been learning!

Best friends are so very important.

Bikes are the best surprise gift to receive. And I love watching the Tour de France.

New hairstyles can magically change your point of view, or at least spice up your day to day!

14-year-old brothers can’t hold cameras.

Vibram Five Fingers, the glove-like shoes, are not as easy to navigate as the advertisements might lead you to believe. Note the lack of toes in most of the appropriate places.

Live music on a lawn is best enjoyed horizontally.

Outdoor adventures can unite siblings.

My little brother can skip a rock ten times (or nine times, we still debate).

Even small rapids are stronger than young boys think.


  • My little brother wants to “do what Dad does,” as well as be an ecologist and computer engineer. Lofty goals.
  • Austin instills many desires in you, but some would argue none more powerful than the desire to have a dog! I desperately have been wanting a four-legged pal to take downtown to a Yappy Hour…aka happy hour drinks and free dog treats on the patio in bars and restaurants in the evening across town!
  • A photo post is almost as lazy as a post of bullet points, but life has been busy…in the most joyous way! Hoping to get a “real” post in before my big move to the Rockies!


A Few Pictures

1. Gift

A bridal shower gift! Mason jar candle handcrafted entirely of beeswax (smells distinctly of honey) from Anthropologie, three mason jars with homemade chalkboard designs I painted on (to label what’s inside and what day it got in there…then erase and reuse), and a decorated envelope for a sweet card!20120712-161819.jpg


2. Baking

I decided that for Jye’s birthday I would bake something homemade. And I also, for the first time, had full access to a KitchenAid Mixer…and let me tell you, this baking experience changed my young lady chef life! I used this vanilla cupcake recipe to bake these bulbous beauts you see below…20120712-161839.jpg

Then, I used this lavender icing recipe and whipped up some accidentally green lavender icing. What I believed was red food coloring was, in fact, yellow. So! Yellow and blue make…a priceless, pastel mint green. Yummy! (?)20120712-161850.jpg

One of my biggest struggles…runny icing. Oh icing, why do you always dribble so??? Anyone feel free to drop me tips on how to make my icing less…artistic.



3. Iced Chai Latte

You guessed it…homemade! But simply so. This photogenic drink took only these steps: mix boiling water and two scoops of prepared Chai mix together to make hot Chai in a mug, stuff a tall glass with ice, pour the mug of hot Chai into the glass of ice, and add a splash of milk. Slurp!20120712-161916.jpg

5. Leaf collection

So the two bigger leaves are from the lawn of the capitol building. They had fallen from the tree I was reading under, and they were magnificent…huge and plastic-like! I brought them home proudly only to be stopped in my tracks on the stairs and see a tiny, brown leaf that was PERFECTLY heart-shaped! Yes, I found it in nature that way…and I felt like it was a little gift. A little reminder of all the love that this world is bursting at the seams with! I suggest looking at this tiny leaf for a few moments, and then dwelling on a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, Love Actually, of which this leaf of love reminded me! Quote follows photo….


“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion you’ll find that… love actually is all around.”

Biting the Bullet

I’m going to do something I promised myself I’d never do on this blog: bullet points.

I think it’s such a cheat, but when you get so behind sometimes you must do these things! Forgive me, writers of the world.

Things I’ve been doing:

  • Free shows at Waterloo Records…I get to the store a little early for a 5 pm show and grab two free Shiners. Jye shows up after work, and we enjoy the complimentary tunes and brews! Two times ago was a girl named Ruby Jane, who is a talented singer-songwriter. Our favorite part was a final 10 minute jam session with Ruby on violin going to town with her guitarist and percussion guy. Last Thursday at 5 was Everclear, a band that was popular in the 90s (if you Google a song or two you’d probably recognize them…”I will buy you a garden, where your flowers can grow.”)
  • Greenbelt adventures…Taking my sister and Jye’s sister and company on hikes down into the belt where we enjoy rocks with fast running water washing over them as refreshing rest stops before hiking on.
  • The Paramount Theatre…Jye and I enjoyed a glass of wine with our showing of the classic musical “Cabaret” at this theatre on Congress Avenue that was built in 1915…and that Houdini himself performed in! They’ve been running a summer classic movies series. Last Thursday we also caught “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”! You know I love my 80s films.
  • Eating tacos…I’ve eaten/documented over 10 tacos so far. Looking for the best in Austin, seeking the truth at all costs! (But usually for less than $3 each.) Conclusions to come! Still 3 more weeks of searching to go.
  • Catching up…Ali came in from LA and we had an old-fashioned sleepover and day-long chillfest. And, like I mentioned in a previous post, lots of visitors have been dropping in lately…so there’s just been a lot of talkin’, jokin’, and good vibin’ with old friends.
  • The Big Lebowski quote-along…It was all I dreamed for! Included: large blow up bats to beat each other with during the famous scene where John Goodman’s character annihilates a car with a crow bar AND purple glow sticks to wave around magically while all singing along (poorly) to Hotel California in Spanish via subtitles.
  • Happy hours…Trying local beers at cheaper prices. What could be better? Great patios, shade and misters to make the heat more bearable…and pale ales and IPAs and crisp, summery wheat beers for days. Fort Collins beer culture, I’m getting prepared!
  • Running…Yes, I caved. Jye and I have run 3 miles around the beautiful Travis Heights neighborhood the past two evenings…and I can’t wait to hit the pavement again today! Don’t get me wrong, I have been thoroughly enjoying my new forms of exercise, but once you’ve been running steadily almost every day for about 6 years…a month hiatus is hard on your body! It’s been especially helpful that Austin has chosen to be delightfully rainy the past few days. So there’s been a breeze and clouds and the occasional mist…mmmm. The clouds are forming overhead as I type, my legs are getting ancy to go!
  • KC’s 80s “Bows Before Bros” Bridal Shower…We crimped our hair, pinned the mustache on Tom Selleck, dressed the bride with only 5 safety pins and mere scraps of tulle, and slept soundly to “Pretty in Pink.” Quite the success as an event! And the beer bread made another two-thumbs-up appearance as well!
  • Lastly, Colorado State preparations…The utilities are set to be turned on, the apartment is rented, the shot record is received, etc. It’s happening! My transition to a Colorado Rocky Mountain High is in the works.

But for now… I’m done enjoying my Mexican Cola at Walton’s and I’m about to trudge back across downtown! I think the WiFi may be working at my apartment again, and if so…hopefully less of a hiatus between posts.

PS I have pics and descriptions of a few yummy things I’ve made as of lately, excited for that post next!

Cheers and a smile!

Fanciful at Fancy and Staple

Sitting at Walton’s Fancy and Staple on 6th Street taking an errands break. With $1 raspberry lime Italian soda and a chocolate croissant. I ordered an almond, but they knew me better than that. I’ve always loved this little place owned by Sandra Bullock…but it’s every girl older than 15’s favorite spot. How can you resist a sandwich/coffee/soda shop mixed with a bakery and a florist? The answer is simple- you can’t.

Since Laura and my sister came in, there’s been a small flurry of visitor activity… birthday surprises and sibling drop-ins and best friends left and right. Oh how I love it! Tonight wraps up the visitors as of late, with Jye and myself treating Ali, who you all know is a best friend I’ve had since before I knew how to make friends, to some real cultural stimulation…a Big Lebowski quote-along! The Big Lebowski is a bizarre bowling film that sparked a cult-like following of Jeff Bridges’s infamous character, The Dude. And I can’t wait to be a part of the wacky crowd who are prematurely blurting out his lines throughout the interactive film experience.

Tomorrow I’ll write more about recent activities and the quote-along, but today I’ll just finish up this croissant and be on my way (yoga calls). Trying to register the fact that my last month in Austin has begun! Sooner than I can imagine, I will have a Colorado driver’s license and green mountains running across my license plates…but I’m making sure to soak up the present!