La cucaracha.

To break up a long afternoon at work yesterday, I took a walk with my coworker in our warehouse.  This is a very regular occurrence as the space is made for walking.  There is actually a loop trail our office mapped out and once around is a half mile.  It’s great exercise and many people here have actually resorted to “walking” meetings when there are less than three or four people involved in a project.  I’ll reiterate.  It’s a very high-traveled path.

However.  Due to the fact that the warehouse serves as storage of furniture and files, houses a gym and mail room and all shipping a receiving works from the area, it also seems to serve as a safe haven for cockroaches.  Rumor has it that many years ago, a delivery of systems-furniture arrived from (of all places) Syracuse, New York.  When the crates of furniture were opened, hundreds, maybe even THOUSANDS of cockroaches spilled out and ran into the deepest, darkest corners of the warehouse to breed.

Every other month now the warehouse is fumigated for these little suckers.  It’s generally some days after the fumigation that you see a few belly up roaches on the cement floors down there.

Today, I’m not sure if something was in the water or the fumigation schedule was ignored or delayed, but there were at least five LIVE cockroaches furiously skittering about the walking route.  The first one I saw made me nearly jump into my coworker’s arms.  She pointed out the second one to me too so I didn’t step on it.  The third and forth were easier to avoid…and scurried into storage areas in the darkness of the hallways.  But the fifth…

I was in the middle of telling an animated story (as per the usual) and stepped on something that popped.  I mean, snap, crackle, POPPED.  I thought at first, it was just a piece of plastic strapping that ended up under my Chuck Ts.  But it was not.  I had my coworker take a look at the bottom of my shoe because I couldn’t bare it.  And then I let out another yelp when she told me I had full-on stepped on a cockroach and killed it.  I considered throwing the shoe in the trash.  But then, I’d have to walk back upstairs to my desk with only one shoe and touch my bare foot to the floor.

Oh lordy, I won’t get over it.  I am still considering throwing the left sneaker in a hot bleach bath.

I thought I came to terms with bugs in South Africa.  I have not.


Winter layover in Paris.

We flew through Paris to on our way to Johannesburg in December.

There is just nothing like Paris in the winter – except, I imagine, Paris in the summer, spring and fall.  And even though it rained nearly the entire time we were traipsing across the city’s ancient cobblestone, it was still well worth the ride on the RER from Charles de Gaulle Airport to Paris.  We had twelve hours to soak it all in.

It was kind of a love fest.  We were married.  We were in La Ville-Lumiere.  We were on our way to Africa.  Pretty romantic.

Paris1Tres adorable.  I learned in Paris that Chris has an EXCELLENT French accent.  So many talents!

Paris2Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris.


Un artiste.




Un ecrivain de fumer.


Pour un appartement de jardin.


Musee du Louvre.

Paris6La Tour Eiffel.

JCPenney. Bargains galore.

You know I can’t pass up a good bargain.

I think all my small town talk a few weeks back about JCPenney catalog stores got me thinking that I really should hit up our local Penney’s to check out all the fuss since CEO Ron Johnson was ousted last month.   After a dismal run in which Johnson attempted to “modernize” the store by cutting out coupons and sales, JCPenney seemed to have a realization.  Money talks.  And JCPenney lost a lot of it when they hired Johnson and his team.

JCPenney released this apology last week.

I’ve long been a browser at the chain store.  In the past, I’ve had lots of luck purchasing dresses for work and the occassional pair of shoes.  And of course, as a kid, I looked like every other fourth grader in Penney’s turtlenecks and Arizona jeans.

So last Friday, I found myself at the JCPenney in Stapleton, east of downtown Denver.  It’s a stand alone building in a large shopping area.  The parking lot was fairly full and when I walked inside the store I was immediately struck by how welcoming it was.  Wide aisles, bright walls and clearly marked prices–and sale items–loads and loads of sale items.

I found so much I liked it was ridiculous.  I needed a shopping cart in my dressing room. There were so MANY bargains to be had.  Most items I purchased were between $10 and $20.  Nothing cost over $20.


Polkadot dress (ALYX) – on sale for $20.


Orange quilted dress (Liz Claiborne) – on sale for $20.


White lace t-shirt (a.n.a.) – on sale for $10.


Ombre spring sweater (a.n.a.) – on sale for $12.


Workout tank in hot pink (Xersion) – $10 everyday price.


Apparently the everyday price for these is $8…but since we’re soon out of stocking season, these babies were on sale for $2.  Score!

IMG_2249 I’ve been looking all over the place for these.  $3 everyday price.

And this is me in the $10 tank on race day.  Cute!

945597_10200981680045474_169046521_nAccept Penney’s apology.  Go back and check them out.


A young lady’s house-warming.

I received a message the other day from my friend, DW, asking what she should purchase as a house-warming gift for her friend’s daughter, a 19-year-old college student who’s moving into her own apartment.  This gal’s style is unfussy, practical and a bit vintage.

I was happy to give some suggestions to DW that will help this young lady feel right at home in her first place.  Ideas for these gifts are in a smattering  of price ranges.

Mugs – $6 each


These mugs from Anthropologie have been around for years.  They are pretty spectacular.  One can go on a writer’s desk with pens and pencils in it.  A set of four can spell out the word “love” or “chic” or a set of five can spell “hello.”  Imagine how cute h-e-l-l-o would be hanging from hooks beneath a cupboard in the kitchen?  Or, the mugs can be purchased with her first initial in a set, or as a part of a larger gift.

Canisters – $45 – $150

Target_CanistersCanisters for her kitchen countertop are a lot of fun and there are many choices–new and vintage.  I like these canisters from the Threshold collection at Target for styling a kitchen.  Etsy and thrift stores also have several different styles of canister sets to compliment her new digs.

Potholders – $10 each

WilliamsSonomapotholderWhen C moved in he brought some of these lovely Williams-Sonoma potholders with him.  These are awesome and part of the reason I let him stay.  They are durable and washable.  Williams-Sonoma carries solid colored potholders, pictured above, as well as complimenting stripes.  They also carry lines of oven mits, dish towels and lovely dish and hand soaps – perfect for her housewarming.

Throw – $129


If DW knows the colors she’s using in her new home, a throw is a cozy, wonderful gift.  A blanket in a neutral, classic color and weave can help warm her living space.  These from Pottery Barn are lovely.  I purchased one from a wedding registry for a friend and I think it looks great on her sofa.

Vase and Bud Vase – $14 – $62


Fiesta vases are a wonderful house-warming gift for a first place.  Both styles are beautiful and will add a warm, colorful quality to her home.  I own the vase in Sunflower–a gift for our wedding, and I use it all the time.  The shape is elegant and timeless and easy to find at places like Kohl’s and Macy’s, where they often go on sale.  Though harder to find in stores, the Fiesta bud vases are absolutely precious and can dress up a kitchen table or night stand.

Happy shopping!  And happy first place!

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.


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.

Twelve 2012 Instagram Faves.

I got an iPhone for my birthday last year from C and for the past several months, I’ve taken over 1,800 photos with it.  I imagine that’s many, many more calls than I’ve made and received.  I think the first app I downloaded was Instagram.  I’ve had a fun time with it.

You hear a lot these days about digital photos never leaving the gallery and staying on a disk or in a server for the rest of time.  Below are some of my favorite photos enhanced by Instagram taken in 2012–shared now, with all of you.

Instagram11. Western skies on a pretty spring afternoon in Lakewood.



2. Brudder love on the Lake.



3. A special birthday morning.



4. It became very real we were getting married when Tiffany started arriving on Vine Street.



5. This darling tiger kitty is my favorite.  He gets a lot of love from Momma and Dad.



6. The most magical place.  When I need a time out, I close my eyes and think of the smell of the forest and the lake.



7. What a muse.  More of the same special place.


Instagram78. One happy camper on a Sunday morning in the Rockies.


Instagram89. Labor Day wool winners at the Columbia County Fair in Chatham.



10. Already pining for the Atlantic at the SeaCrest Beach Hotel.



11. First time at a Big Boy in Oh-hi-oh on our way home from R and J’s lovely wedding!



12. Charlie Brown’s.  Where it all started for me and C.  We love this place.


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.]

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.