She’s oh-so-London.

Blog reading is like opening a magic portal.  Reading one post leads you to another link, and another and then all of a sudden there are seventeen tabs open on your Google Chrome and oh sheesh, there goes the evening.

Yesterday, I found lizzystewartdiary through Cup of Jo.  This site is Lizzy Stewart’s life diary posted on Tumblr.

I love that she draws her days and nights and events.  I love that she lives in London.  And I love that she is trying everything out and learning how to be and grow and make it.  She’s the perfect character.




Oh, Lizzy.  Some of her entries just seem really, really familiar.

I remember eating salad mixed with macaroni and cheese for lunch and dinner for weeks after I figured out that no, indeed, I was not making enough money at the news desk to send my sheets and towels out for laundering.

[Stewart's really awesome professional work can be found here.]

An evening snow in Capitol Hill.

By the time we got to Christopher’s apartment for the Downton Abbey Supper Club the snow was in full swing.

It was comforting to finally have snow in the city.  We’ve been waiting for it.

When we got home, our street looked like this.



Quiet.  Still.  Beautiful under the street lights.

I know it’s enough for tonight, but Mother Nature, please keep it coming!

Impossible Pumpkin Pie.

After reading the post on Impossible Pie, my friend Rita sent the recipe for Impossible Pumpkin Pie.  I’d never tried baking an impossible sweet pie.

A Sunday morning with Ludi and Amy at the National Western Stock Show and a hang-out on their front porch rockers in the afternoon lazing around in cowboy hats got me in a cozy mood.  A mood for a pumpkin dessert.


These are all the ingredients you need to make this pie.

No, seriously.  This is it.


All of this goes in the blender here.  See?


And then you press Blend, or Mix or Puree – whatever your machine has for buttons – until it’s well-blended.

Then you pour it in a greased pie plate.


Hello.  Could this be any more impossibly easy?

And then you bake it.

It’s a lovely, simple treat!  Impossible, because you can’t tell there’s actually no pumpkin in the pie.

By the time I got to the kitchen to take a look at the cooled pie, there was already a slice missing.  C won.  Luckily, the second slice was just as yummy as the first (I’m told.)


Impossible Pumpkin Pie

In a blender, combine 2 eggs, 1/2 C. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 2 TBS. pumpkin pie spice* (Rita uses heaping TBS.), 1 large can evaporated milk (1 2/3 C.), 2 TBS. melted butter, 1/2 C. Bisquick baking powder.

Blend well.  Pour into greased 9″ pie plate or pan.

Bake at 350 F for 40-50 min.

Let cool before serving.

*Pumpkin Pie Spice is a blend of ground clove, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  I didn’t have any on hand but bought some.  I’m glad I did.  Check out other uses for this combination spice from thekitchn.

Boulder on Friday.

I had the day off from work on Friday and very limited responsibilities.

So I decided to drive to Boulder.  It’s been a long while since I’ve had a good stretch at the thrift stores and window-shopped along Pearl Street.

I was most distracted by the beauty of the ride along Highway 93 to and from in the muted light.

Taking that drive is a reminder to me of why I needed to move to Denver five years ago, leaving behind my pretty nice life in New York.  I needed this open space, this beauty.

I needed this adventure in big sky.





Dishwasher repair #2.

Randy came over again this morning to fix the dishwasher.  He is kind of a dream come true.  [Chris, honey, you already know where you stand, obvi.]

He came in, fooled around with some of the wiring in the electrical panel of the washer, and bypassed the fuse that continues to blow and cause our washer to stop at the end of the cycle and poop out.

I was told by our landlord, J, that if this second fix doesn’t do it, buy a new washer and deduct it from my rent.

I asked Randy what his best advice was when it comes to dishwashers, should I be responsible for finding a replacement.  He said he’d offer me some advice for basically all kitchen appliances.

“Buy the appliance that’s closest to ‘free’ at the store.”

What exactly do you mean?

“Let me tell you, now.  These fancy digital appliances are expensive to fix.  I’m gonna come over and fix it whether it’s manual or digital.  I’m gonna come over and fix it because these things don’t go too long without needing some sort of tweaking.  I’m just gonna charge you more for digital.  So get the cheapest dishwasher you can find, one with knobs, okay, because they’re all a piece a crap.”

And that was settled.  Take it or leave it.  Dishwashers and all kitchen appliances.  They’re crap.

No dirty dishes in the sink.

No dirty dishes in the sink!

From Mommy Moi.

South Africa Story. Cape Town: What their hands made.

Unwrapping the gifts we brought home from South Africa was the best part of unpacking.  I especially loved seeing the handmade treasures we brought back from Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal spread out on the floor of our apartment.

Shopping for treasures was fun.  I was able to speak with some of the urban craftspeople who make these items and watch them at work at the markets.   A saved aluminum can from a landfill becomes a wild African animal, junked car parts from an overgrown lot in Cape Town become sculptures of people at play, wires from old telephone lines become woven baskets and empty cans of pesticide spray turn into animal trinkets.

The grand prize of our new eclectic collection is a rhino in action.  I imagine he’s walking toward a watering hole or to join his crash.  I purchased him from a man with a head of thick, beautiful dreadlocks in the heat of the afternoon the day after Christmas.  He wrapped the rhino carefully, so I could “get it home unharmed to America…”

The rhino is made of ginger beer cans and wire.  He is a stunning little sculpture and the biggest thing we brought home.  Check out that horn!

I found the following treasures at a Cape Town market, in Greenmarket Square, on a very rainy day.  Amy loves this market, and now I know why.  It is full of shoppers and crafters and artwork and movement, even in the mist and cold.

I liked this ostrich very much after Madison showed me an ostrich Aunt Amy purchased for her.  I found it silly and very entertaining – so did Madison.  Madison’s ostrich has wings that flap!

This elephant is just dear.  He’s delicately folded out of a container that used to hold roach killer, apparently (note the illustration on his back).  His head swivels a bit and I find him absolutely darling because of his miniature status and the fact that he’s clearly trumpeting.  A happy elephant.

This tiny Christmas tree is a close favorite next to the rhino.  I told the woman selling it I loved it and she told me many of the crafts sold support the people who live in the townships and informal settlements.  They are made in homes and at community gatherings out of found materials.  It will always remind me of our first wonderful Christmas as married couple, in South Africa with Ludi and Amy and their family.

And this small folded metal “reader” was sitting on a cloth on a table next to a metal drum player and a guitar player.  I liked the reader best out of the three.  The man I bought him from told me he’s made out parts of an old car.

I love the detail of his hand on the back of his head.

If you want to purchase items like these and support South African artists through fair trade, check out your local Ten Thousand Villages.  They have a few different examples of similar artwork and sculptures made of recycled items in their inventory now, such as this giraffe, this gecko ornament, and this metal sculpted musician.

Linen closet re-org.

It just looks so innocent…

…with the door closed.

This 93″ H x 23″ W x 20.5″ D closet feels oddly shaped to me.  I realize that many linen closets are an afterthought in homes and are squeezed into design after the important rooms are settled.  I grew up in a house where the linen closet in the upstairs hallway was very shallow due to a bedroom closet and a bathtub intruding on its potential.  My momma deals with it by folding sheets in a very narrow fashion.  She does not need to mess with folding towels to fit in that closet, however.  She has room for those in the bathroom.  I do not.  Sad face.

So this is what my linen closet looked like this morning.

So daunting.

Chris and I have long been casually looking for houses to buy in metro Denver.  We’ve seen small houses and smaller houses [buying a large house in a decent neighborhood in the city, it seems, requires either a lottery win or a trust fund].  When we look at houses, I always check the linen closets.  Are they crammed with stuff?  Are they organized?  Are they…staged?

Mostly, are they bigger than our current closet?

I had to organize what’s been happening here to our disaster of a linen closet.

We have sheets for our bed and for the guest bed, we have towels for the gym and our favorites and white ones we rarely use.  We have loads of cloth napkins.  We only use cloth napkins, so these are used every day and need to be accessible.  We have three beach towels.  We do not live near a beach and it is not summer in Denver.  So these do not need to be accessible.  We have laundry stuff on the floor and this closet is where we store the iron as well.  So I needed to organize around these facts.

I took it all out and threw it on the bed and refolded.

Then I put it all into organized piles and got out my ironing board and ironed some of the poor items that had been shoved into the way back of the closet.

This fun R&C crate came out of Grandma Dietz’s garage.  I love it.  It’s great for napkins and keeps them in folded order better than the oval-shaped basket they were stuffed in before.  Smaller items tend to get lost in the shuffle in this closest.

New linens we’re not using yet will go on top.  I’m so excited to start using the gorgeous blue Williams-Sonoma kitchen towels.  Perhaps you think we’re crazy for not using them yet.  But I love the idea of letting our current kitchen towels (a merge of my red towels from Albany and C’s blue from D.C.) to completely peter out until opening the new sets.

We have new sheet sets which we will not use for a different reason.  I have grown to distrust the newer washers in our building.  With no agitator in the front-loading Kenmores, I fear the dinge isn’t getting out of our whites.  I’ve tried everything from switching detergents to using bleach.  No avail.  I truly believe our clothes aren’t as clean as they were with the old washer.  There is some evidence to support this.

Here’s a little trick I learned from Monica.  Keep your sheet sets in one of the pillowcases.  It really helps when you’re ready to make up a new bed.  Cowboy sheets, anyone?


Now please.  Stay this way.



South Africa Story. Christmas in Cape Town

Christmas in Somerset West with Ludi’s parents, Joy and Erol, was wonderful.  It was very, very warm.  So warm that we went to the early service at church at 8 a.m. to avoid the heat that would truly set in after 9.  After church we drove up to the Heldeberg Nature Reserve and I saw the largest tortoise I’ve ever seen, getting ready to cross the road.

And then, we went to the beach.  The boys swam and Amy and I laid on our towels and breathed in that fresh sea air.

It was windy and beautiful and warm.  A perfect beach day.

And then we went back to the house where Ludi’s brother, sister-in-law and their darling eight-year-old, Madison, were back for presents and dinner.  It was a thrill watching Madison open her gifts.  The hits were a purple Furby and a crystal growing kit.  Madison was excited that Father Christmas visited Omi (Joy) and Opi’s (Erol’s) house. But that Father Christmas was messy.  He ate some of the cookies and left half a can of beer next to the tree.  There was also evidence that Father Christmas let a reindeer in the house, as we noticed a little snowy hoof print on the floor near some wrapped gifts.

And then there was corned beef, ham, potato salad and beets on the back patio.

I especially loved Madison’s own Hello Kitty paper plate.  See that funky thing on the lower left part of the table holding the paper napkins?  Joy received it as a wedding gift and it took her years to figure out what it actually was.  Once she did, she loved it!

And there were Christmas Crackers, just like we always have at home.

Madison helped everyone open their cracker.  She and Erol chose a green cracker for Erol.


Got it!

We ate and ate and ate, and then took a nap.

Happy Christmas from Cape Town!