Wyoming wind.

I’ve been on the road this week with a customer who was visiting from Virginia.  We had business meetings from Colorado Springs to Vail to Cheyenne and Laramie.

Wyoming is one of my favorite western states.

When I was working in Albany, there were two news reporters who had previously worked in Cheyenne.  I would always bother them to tell me Wyoming stories.  I wanted to hear about cowboys and ranches and small town life on the plains.  I wanted to hear about the winds.  Was Wyoming really like how Annie Proulx described it?

Yes.  It is.

It is desolate and wind-swept and covered in sallow, pale winter colors.IMG_2230

And the people are like the land.  Serious and hardened.

One of the women we met with yesterday in Laramie had grown up in Casper, and tried hard to leave it behind for good.  She left as a young woman and was gone for 20 years.  She only returned three times for visits over those two decades.  That’s how much animosity she held in her heart for the place.  And then, as life would have it, her husband lost his job in Washington state and could not find another…except in Denver, where the cost of housing was too high…or Casper, where her parents still lived.  She wanted a house in the country with acres and space to break wild horses auctioned from the Bureau of Land Management.  But what she got was a house in town.  ”I’m bored out of my mind,” she said to us over lunch.

She doesn’t like Laramie any better.

But we liked it for a visit.  We liked that there were big hay trucks driving down Front Street and college students in boots and hats walking to the campus.  We liked that there was a J.C. Penney catalog order storefront.  It’s like a step back in time.  A good one.


Right before we left we stopped at Martindale’s Western Store, one of many western wear stores in town.  We chatted with a salesgirl who called our customer a “rookie” and got her into a Wrangler shirt.

I tried on a few things too, and loved the home town feel of the place.  The dressing rooms were covered with thank-yous from little cowgirls and ranch princesses who’d been sponsored by Martindale’s.


IMG_2225Boy, that Dani Gilgen.  Good advice!

C and I need to plan a trip to Jackson, so we can start our own Wyoming stories.


Last week’s color.

When I came into work last week, there was a gift was waiting for me at my desk.

Aren’t they beautiful?  When was the last time you got yourself some colored pencils…or someone gave you some to use for an afternoon?  When was the last time you colored or drew a picture?

My aunt always sends hand-drawn pictures and cards to me and C–so does my brother.  It’s the best!

C emailed some photos he had on his phone from a few weekends back.  We’d spent a Saturday afternoon on East Colfax looking for the perfect pinata for a party we hosted last weekend.  The store was SO full of color.  Candy, ribbons, posters and paint.


If I look squat, it’s because I’m wearing shoes that are too big for me.  They belong to the shop owner.  He said I could try them on.  Then he gave me a sombrero and encouraged C to take a photo of me.

I thought they may fit C better.



We’ve been on the search for a house to buy over the past few weeks.  We’ve seen quite a few older homes.   None we’ve seen so far have had a bathroom as sweet as this.  Hello  tropical teal!



And, yelllllooooow.  I love the cabinets in this kitchen.



I was lax and late in publishing this post.  I started writing it last Monday as all hell was breaking loose and then we were in the middle of a whole bunch of snow here in Denver.

But things are looking more colorful now and this post is again relavant.  After an exhausting week of work travel, I’m in my sweats on the sofa with a cup of tea.  We have our first race of the season on Sunday and it’s supposed to be in the 70s here in Mile High.  More soon!

A perk this Friday morning.

With great expectations yesterday afternoon, C and I met our realtor, a home inspector and a man who scopes sewers with a video camera at a house in the Hale neighborhood of Denver.  As of this morning, we were under contract for a pretty little Tudor-esque piece of Mile High real estate, built in 1939.  We loved the looks, but knew it needed to be checked out by experts before we went any further.

C and I made a decision not to get attached to a property in case things didn’t work out in our favor after the results of the inspection were read.  The truth of it was I was planning a backyard housewarming this summer and raised beds for a vegetable garden.  I was looking forward to making new friends out of neighbors.  In my head the walls in the kitchen were painted and I could see C and I fresh squeezing oranges for juice on Saturday mornings.

And so it was a good thing I didn’t get attached.  After we got the inspection report…even kind of before then, as we were standing outside on the sidewalk admiring the sweet lines of the roof and front patio, I knew there was a very good possibility of this one not working out.  We found out the house has been neglected for years and years (and years).  The roof was shoddily replaced.  The furnace is in dire need of cleaning and maintenance.  The sewer line is clogged with roots and there is a break at the street – which is something that could easily lead to a sinkhole on the block.  More disturbing, aluminum wiring mixed in with other sorts of wiring were found to be a reality.  The guts of the house are a mess.  The garage desperately needs a new roof.  The windows are original.  We were looking at tens of thousand of dollars in repairs, just to bring the house up to code.  And unfortunately, C and I don’t have the cash to fix all these things, even if the price of the house was lowered.  Honestly, we don’t want to have to fix any of these things.  We’d much rather save our money for the fun stuff.

It was a very good lesson in preparation and foresight and we’re grateful for an honest look at the house.

So my mood is reflective this morning here in Cheesman.  I’m still in sweats at 11 a.m. and wandering around the apartment.  I have laundry in down the hall and have last night’s Project Runway on TV.  I’m thinking about cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming.

I got distracted by the 1946 copy of Joy of Cooking I picked up a few weeks back at Outlet World.  Under the chapter on Beverages, one of the first recipes is for coffee in a percolator.  I’ve had a percolator for years and have never quite gotten a good cup of coffee out of it–too weak, too strong, too yuck.  Lately, we’ve been peppered with gifts of coffee beans.  Neighbors have gone to Portland and family has been to Hawaii–we have lots of lovely smells in our cupboard.  I picked up a grinder a few weeks ago and started working on getting the perfect cup out of our French Press.

But today, I dusted off the stainless percolator and followed the recipe in Joy.  This recipe is different from the recipe for Percolated Coffee in the newer versions of this cookbook.  I would like to think it’s somehow better because of its age.  More old-timey.  More what someone who lived in the 1939 Tudor-esque home in Hale would have made in her kitchen on a Friday morning many years ago.

Percolated Coffee (from Joy of Cooking, 1946, p.749)

Allow: 2 Tablespoons ground coffee for 1 cup of water.

Place the water, hot or cold, in the bottom of the coffeepot, place the coffee in the strainer and boil the water.  Permit it to boil and percolate the coffee grounds for 5 minutes or until the desired strength of coffee is obtained.  Permit the coffee to stand for 5 minutes before serving it.

You will love it.  It’s absolutely delish.  I drank five cups.



City dogs.

This post is basically about nothing.  I tried writing and rewriting to make it about something, but I could not.

There are lots of dogs in our neighborhoods.  Lots.  In high rises and low rises.  Around the park and on the streets.  There are dogs everywhere.

Where’s a dog?


Can you see him?


Fascinated with what’s below.

And there you have it.  Sunday.

Nifty Thrifty. Goodwill Outlet World Review.

Once I added thrifting for vintage Pyrex to my hobbies, I found myself wandering into the book and clothing sections of second-hand stores.  And after I found a brand new pair of Banana Republic pants for $2, it was all over.  I was hooked.

For me, recycling has never been so fun!  Generally, every outfit I wear has at least one thrifted clothing item.  More often than not, my entire outfit is from a thrift store.  What’s on sale determines my style, and I’m just fine with that.

I now have my favorite stores in Denver (skip the Broadway Goodwill and hoof it out to Leetsdale for better selection and prices) as well as the mountains (do not pass up Summit Thrift and Treasure–check it: one pair of Nike running pants for $1 two years ago.  I wear them for every race.)

When my brother first moved to the Bay Area, he talked about this massive Goodwill where clothing and other goods were dumped in rows in a warehouse and folks could pick through them and pay for goods by the pound.  I found out places like this exist in Denver too.  In fact, we have a few locations right in the metro area where items that do not sell at the retail outlets or are unsalable for some reason (grime, major wear, broken parts or items with missing pieces) come to be sold.

Goodwill Outlet World became my Friday afternoon destination last week with a girlfriend.  The first thing we did was read this review.  Then, I read more reviews to my momma over the phone.  We laughed a LOT.  Denver is host to such…descriptive writers.

We arrived around noon.  The small parking lot was full and when we walked in, we were immediately overwhelmed.  Though the space was probably the size of a regular Goodwill or Arc Thrift Store, there was minimal organization.  Basically, five categories existed,

1. Clothes and other fabric items (men, women, children, linens, curtains, covers)
2. Shoes (pairs are zip tied together)
3. Wares (household, toys, game, appliances, tools)
4. Books (99 cents a piece – no bargains here)
5. Seasonal (in our case on Good Friday, Easter baskets, raffia, figurines, candy dishes, candles, tsotchke)


Despite there being a lot of people there, the chaos was generally under control.  True to the reviews, when rolling carts are switched out for “new” items, everyone stands back.  When the locks are placed on the bin castors, the attendants tell everyone it’s okay to dig and they go to town!  There seemed to be quite a few families going through bins together, tossing items to one another and pushing clothing into carts.  They wore masks and gloves and aprons.  I wondered if they were looking for items to re-sell.  There also seemed to be quite a few folks who, like me, were looking to search out a bargain.


Despite the quasi-organization, it was still overwhelming, mostly because there was just so much stuff.

Our visit really got me thinking about the kinds of things we Americans BUY and then throw out.  Yikes.

But we did find some treasures, a beautiful wool Pendleton jacket for my girlfriend.  Score!



And here’s what I purchased.  Yes, that’s a mulberry-colored fanny pack.  It’s made for distance running (which some day, I plan on doing more of–right C?)  My best finds were a Columbia winter ski hat with the tags still attached, a Melanzana crew shirt (manufactured in Leadville, Colorado!) and a cotton bathroom rug.

Will I go back?  Bet your bottom dollar.

Eight days with Ollie.

We got a call from Ollie’s owner two weeks ago, desperate for a sitter for him while she was in Central America.  And because I had somewhat recovered from the soiled rug incident the last time Ollie stayed with us, I told her that yes, we’d watch him for eight days.

He can be a handful, as you, faithful readers, already know.

So I’ll sum up his visit with a few new unforgettable memories of our dear neighbor doodle.

1. It’s a love thing.  Ollie just loves.  He can’t help it.  He loves and licks and loves more.  Each time Chris and I settled on the sofa to talk or watch television, Ollie came over, put his front paws on our legs or whatever other body part was available and pulled himself up to sit on us.  Whenever we were in two different rooms in the apartment he worried and paced and followed and herded.  He is obsessed with contact–mainly of the licking and snuggling varieties.

2. More love.  I took a walk with Sarah and Belle at Wash Park on Saturday morning and let Ollie off-leash to visit with Belle, who was going bananas to say “hello” to Ollie.  The two frolicked for a few minutes and then a weenie little husky mix puppy came up to join.  The husky was on a leash.  Ollie licked the husky and then decided that was not enough.  Ollie mounted the husky.  I was horrified and pulled him off by the collar.  The husky owners were very polite, then grabbed their sweet, now violated puppy and bee-lined it in the opposite direction.

3. Love for nature.  Sunday’s weather could not be beat.  It was warm and sunny with a slight breeze.  We were visiting C’s mom and her husband at their home for Easter.  Their house has a big pond in the back that attracts geese and ducks.  Outside on an Easter egg hunt with the kids, we again allowed Ollie off-leash (we are very, very dense when it comes to caring for this dog and making sure he follows our rules).  All of a sudden, I heard a shriek.  ”Ollie’s in the pond!”  And I turned to see Ollie swimming happily in the pond at the back of the house and geese and ducks scattering to the sky.  When he saw me take off my heels and run down the side of the house to get him, he came out of the water, shook off and rolled in the grass.  On my way to grab him, I stepped on two goat head thorns.

4. Loving feelings.  On our way home from Easter dinner with a then dry Ollie, we decided to spend sunset in the park.  We were down to our last few hours with him and the weekend.  I have to say, I was grateful to be returning Ollie home.  Since the pond incident, Ollie was starting to smell a bit ripe.  Of course, the last time we had him, I took pains to make sure we were returning him cleaner than he arrived.   This time, I just didn’t have the patience or the energy.  He’s a dog.  He’s dirty.  We reveled in the last few moments of sun rays before the light dipped fell over the mountains and Ollie took one last big roll in the winter grass clippings.  He dogged it up.

Cheers and good wishes, dear Ollie.  Until next time…

And because we’re who we are, there will be a next time.