Christmas Cheer

I recently put in a proposal to do a presentation about conflict resolution at the upcoming Leadership Summit at CSM. While working on the proposal, I decided that if it got accepted I would learn how to use Prezi - an alternative to Powerpoint (I hate ppt) and use it for my presentation at the end of January.

As a way to practice, I wanted to share a little Christmas "cheer" with everyone.
Click the arrow to go through the presentation.
Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy the holiday break :)


Winter Hike

One of the neat things about the location of our new house is the easy access to various hiking and biking trails. Since it got up to the mid-forties today (yes, UP to. and yes, that was exciting!) we decided to go for a little walk through the snow. I just got a Camelbak so wanted to try it out, but since it was chilly we didn't want to go too far. So we went to one of the nearby trails and didn't stay out too long. The walk was pleasant - not too noisy, not too many people out. And the mid-forties are a good temp for walking, it turns out. We saw some pretty impressive frozen cow pies and puddles, and a lone cow that seemed to have gotten through one of the cattle gates. As the sun dipped behind the mountains its rays cast across hundreds of tracks in the snow, and we returned home to cozy up near the fireplace.


How to Love Hialeah

Today marked the last event that I had planned for the campus at my old job. It was a position that I dearly loved. While it had its challenges, my time in Hialeah will always hold a very special place in my heart. I am so thankful to have been a part of that community. This is something I've been writing off and on since before I left. Today seemed the right day to finally finish and share it.

How to Love Hialeah
In the first month that I came to work at MDC Hialeah, we hosted author Jeanine Capo-Crucet to read from her book How to Leave Hialeah. It is a compilation of short stories that talk about cultural elements of Miami and Hialeah, from raucous families to Santeras and how to live out of South Florida while keeping one’s roots in the Agua, Fango, y Factoria. I was given the book and playfully told that it would give me a good introduction to the culture in my new community. As I began my Hialeah adventure, the book did help me understand a bit of what I had gotten myself into, but nothing can compare to the lessons I learned from the students, faculty and other staff members on our mighty little campus. When people asked me, with big eyes, what it was like to be a white woman working in Hialeah I always told them that I loved it, and here are a few of my top reasons why:

Hello, Hialeah! | Pastelitos | Is it sunny? Or raining? Or both? | Anything you need, you can find in Hialeah | I am… The other white girl on campus! | Collaboration between faculty, staff and students | Help me order from Publix, please! | No, I don’t drink coffee. Yes, I know that is sacrilegious here. | Who has my keys? | Parking. Ugh. | Events in 1119/1120 | Being serenaded by students sitting in Student Life | Cupcakes in the SGA Office | Quick! We need 30 students to attend an event at Wolfson tomorrow! | Welcome Back BBQ | Exactly how many people can we fit into the office? | “Go to quarto piso – catorce quince” | PAN CON BISTEC | It’s raining – Corrinne is stuck in my office, again. Aw darn. | There are HOW MANY people sitting in the front building?! | The amazing cast of The Vagina Monologues | Meet me at ___PM AT&T time | Does anyone need a ginger pill? | Hey favorite professors! I have this neat thing I want to do on campus. Want to bring your class? | CafĂ© Cultura | Hialeah Arts Week | Doing travel paperwork with Calderin | Yes, ok, I will send my staff back to IDs | Christine, you didn’t just hear that. | Watching members of SGA graduate | Campus Campout for Haiti | the Graduation Party | Getting stalked by Public Safety on the cameras | Hearing ‘my kids’ sing at the concerts on campus | The students, faculty and staff I worked with every day.

For whatever reason, people seem to look down on Hialeah as both a city and campus. And unfortunately sometimes that seeps a bit into the culture within the town itself, I think. I heard too many times: "Oh, it's 'just Hialeah,' don't worry about it!" But I have never known such loving, passionate, tenacious people. I took to thinking of this 'diminishment' as a cloaking device that protects the community by keeping out people who don't deserve to see how excellent it is. I am so happy to have accidentally landed in Hialeah, and to have been welcomed so fully into a place that would give me so many great memories. 

For me, How to Leave Hialeah was with a full heart, appreciating the last couple years at a truly unique place, and looking to the future with a smile.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We had quite the lovely day.
We started by going for a bike ride around the Dirty Bismark Loop - took 2.5 fun adrenaline rushing hours! Definitely earned our turkey. We started some bread in the bread machine before biking, so it was ready when we got back, which was awesome. And then we made Thanksgiving dinner.

It seems fitting that our meal to celebrate thankfulness was the first real meal we cooked in our new house. We have so much to be thankful for this year - family, friends, adventure and transition. And so much love. A beautiful meal to celebrate a beautiful year, and hopefully many more to come.


The New House

Welcome to chaos! AKA, our new house! YAY!
After six (crazy busy, quite pleasant, slightly cramped toward the end) weeks living in a hotel in Boulder, we have finally moved into our very own home! One of the crazy things about leaving Miami was that it took them ELEVEN hours to pack up our belongings to get them ready to move. Chris took the day off today to hang with the movers thinking it might take all day again, and it took them just about 3 1/2 hours to unpack everything. And I mean *every*thing!

The way it works is that they take everything out of boxes and just put it all onto whatever flat surface is nearby. Separated, of course, into the correct room. I had to go to work today, so when I got home I was greeted by the sight of ALL of our belongings, all over the house. Made me appreciate the eleven hours it took to pack everything up!

My supervisor told me to go home a little early since she knew I was chomping at the bit to get back here. My new drive takes me past the Coors Brewery, which is served by several train tracks and roads. That place is huge! On the way home tonight I had to pause for a train. I took that as a signal to relax a bit. I'd get there eventually...


So here's a tour of some of the house. With chaos.

Here is our master bedroom, as taken from the door of our closet. Thankfully that pile on the bed is mostly blankets and other large objects. Didn't take too long to unearth it. Through that arched doorway is a neat side-room thing. For now it will be an office, and will eventually likely be used as a nursery.

This is our master bathroom. I looove our sinks! That box on the floor is one I got the summer between my Junior and Senior years of college. It has carried bathroom stuff every move since. Chris says since we'll likely be living here awhile I should probably get rid of it. It's been a very faithful box - a playing of Taps might be in order the day it goes into the recycling bin.

Here is the guest bedroom. The bed is piled up with almost every picture frame we own. Can't wait to get them all hung up :) Out that window is a really neat view of the ridge just to the south of our town. Coming from the other side you'd have no idea there's a whole city over here.

This is .. the other bedroom. We haven't decided what it is for, yet. So for now it's just storage.

Here's the living room, with our excellent gas fireplace! A neat feature: there is a crawlspace underneath the living room, which is good for running cables, and also acts as an amplifier for the sound system. Hellooooo base! Another surprise from the crawlspace - the sellers left us a sledding saucer in there :)

This is the kitchen, currently mostly empty. The dishwasher is super complicated! It's got all these moving, configurable racks. Definitely going to take some learning. Also, my orchid (on the left) started to put off a new shoot a couple days ago. Didn't think it would make the move, and here it is having a growth spurt! Excitement.

And my personal favorite, and the first thing I saw when I got home today... The contents of our kitchen, completely laid out, all over the front room of the house. Oh, Kitchenaid stand mixer, ohhhh bread machine, how I have missed you! Now if only we could find you...

So there you have it, brave reader. Our awesome, if momentarily extremely messy, house! Will be back with more updates as we get things sorted out :)


Happy Dreaming

Two weeks until we close on the house! Can tell I'm excited because the last two nights I have had dreams about using our appliances. That Kitchenaid stand mixer never looked so good..


Pan con Bistec

This morning we went to the Boulder Farmer's Market, and got some yummy things! Three different artisan balsamic vinegars - fig, white lavender, and dark chocolate (YUM). My salads will be so happy for these additions! Also, I can't wait to have an oven so I can make chocolate cupcakes with raspberry topping drizzled in that dark chocolate balsamic.

We also got me some new tennis shoes. Had a foot checkup yesterday and the doc said there's not much to do but wear firm shoes with insoles and NO YOGA. Or running. Basically the same I've been doing for months. I guess I'll have to become a gym or pool rat until this thing heals up more. He said hiking is ok, so the plan is to get in as good of shape as I can this winter so I am ready for hiking come spring. Oh, and snowshoeing is ok too! That will definitely happen in the next couple months.

And then for lunch we went to Cuba Cuba. Yup, it was time to try some Cuban food outside of Miami. Here's the outside. Cute, right? The inside was decorated with canisters of Cafe Bustelo and they played Spanish music I recognized.

And here is a picture of my lunch. Pan con bistec, of course, maduros and a Jupina - tastes like Hialeah! 

Well.. almost. The maduros were great - they got just the right amount of caramelization on the edges, just how I like it. Jupina, of course, was good. Chris's lechon asada... could have used more mojo. It mostly just tasted like grilled pork. And the pan con bistec... ehhhhh... They desperately needed to marinate it longer. It didn't have that yummy tangy marinated taste I love. And they put a ton of lettuce on it, which diminished the taste further. Also, the bread wasn't right. I think they get a C on the pan con bistec. They tried, and some bites were about right, but it was a far cry from a Subs & Rock sandwich.

I've heard there are a couple other places in town that one can find a pan con bistec. Including one of the more expensive restaurants where it costs about $15! But I will continue my search and at some point might need to try my hand at making my own. We'll see :)


Learning Golden

Another busy week in CO!
Last weekend we spent Saturday in Golden, attending a football game and the annual Chili Cook-off and Beer tasting. And then on Sunday we went for a 'little' hike to help burn off all that chili and beer. YES. Great way to spend a weekend!

Here is our awesome marching band, promoting the Chili Cookoff, at halftime. Yup, their outfits are just a pair of dark jeans and red flannel shirts, with hard hats..

This is me with our mascot - Marvin the Miner :D

This is a view of the crowded Chili event.

Every year students hike up to the M on this mountain, carrying a 10 pound rock. When they arrive, they whitewash the M and leave their rock. When students graduate, they are encouraged to hike back up to the M and take a rock with them. New faculty and staff are encouraged to participate as well, so next fall I will get to make my trek.

 On Sunday we went for a hike to the Royal Arch, from Chautauqua Park. This is the view as we started our hike. The park is a 5 minute drive from our hotel. We didn't doctor anything in this picture - it really looked that amazing!

And then a view from up at the Arch, 1,500 feet up from where we started at the car. The first is a view of one of the flatirons, through the Arch, and the second is a view of the University of Colorado from up above.

This week we also had snow, and I flew to IL to stand up in my good friends Ari & CJ's wedding. That will have to be another post. For now it is time for dinner! 


House Signing

We signed on a house!! What a crazy thing to do. A friend joked to me that my "Adult" card from AARP should be coming in the mail soon. This certainly feels like the year of becoming more grown up (being grown up is expensive!).

We should be in the house one month from now. The Monday before Thanksgiving. On the down side, we'll have to spend the long weekend unpacking. On the up side, we'll have the long weekend to unpack, we'll get to cook our own Thanksgiving meal, and will be able to curl up by our very own fireplace at the end of the holiday. Yup, I'm going to take every bit of romantic, sappy newlywed enjoyment out of that I can. :)


Meeting the Foothills

Busy weekend! Yesterday we looked at our top few houses again, and found out that while we were looking at them all, our probable #1 pick was being signed for by someone else. Lost that one. Oh well. So the house hunt continues this week. We'll go see our #2 again and see if we decide to move on it. Also, I finally got a smart phone this afternoon - welcome to this century, right? 

On top of all that, we went for our first CO hike together today! This hike just off my daily commute. During the spring/summer there will be enough light to take this lovely walk after work.

For those who are wondering, my foot is ok with our hike today. It's not super happy with me, but it doesn't seem to be swelling or anything. If it is not too sore tomorrow, this will mean I've made some good progress with healing. Cross your fingers!


Being a Kid Again

Our days are measured counting from the day we left Miami. As often happens when I move to a new place, each day seems like three or four, and it can be a boggling task to figure out when and where I am.

Last night it took me several minutes to calculate exactly how long it had been since we left, and to do that I had to count milestones - visits on the drive, the days we looked at houses, my first day of work (only five days ago!), the knowledge that the next day should be Friday...

Having the world so full of new places and experiences is like being a kid again. Every day on my drive to work I marvel at the new sunshine gracing the foothills and hope that it will never cease to fuel my imagination.

Here is a video of roughly what we see each morning.


We Made It!

Hard to believe we've been in town a couple days already! We started our house hunting project today. Will post a recap of that tomorrow or Saturday, once we've had day two of looking at things.

But first, some pictures from our last day of driving and arriving in Boulder!

One of the sights we knew would be on our drive was a huge easel with a giant Van Gogh painting on it. Kansas is the sunflower state, so of course it's a painting of sunflowers. The easel is conveniently located next to Bill's Shootin' Shop and Bubba's Meat Block... So first thing on Tuesday we took our portrait by the easel.

And then continued our drive. It was pretty exciting to finally enter Colorful Colorado. OK I know I'd told people KS wasn't so bad, but man western KS is hard to get through! Probably aided by anticipation about getting into CO. Sorry KS people, but dude.. (I will say that eastern CO isn't much better :P )

All of a sudden, at mile marker 371, we were able to clearly see the mountains! These pictures are from a little later, since the faraway mountains weren't too photogenic.

It has yet to sink in that we actually live in this place; it's gorgeous and SO different than Miami. It kind-of feels like a big vacation. Aided, surely, by staying in a hotel suite. I suppose at some point we will get used to it, but we were saying today that it might not feel real until we move into someplace and have all our 'stuff' back. And so the house-hunting adventure continues!



Greetings from Kansas!
We've made it to the Mountain time zone, at 3,700 feet. Observations from today: Kansas is not nearly as flat as people would have you believe, a field full of dead sunflowers is one of the saddest things I've ever seen, and giant objects are totally worthy roadside attractions. Chris points out that we saw dust devils twirling through fields and were in Topeka for the tornado siren tests, which was quite eery as 6 or 7 sirens echoed off the hills.

It's picture time!
While driving through IL we heard about a statue of a giant shuttlecock in Kansas City, which is where we stayed last night. So of course we had to go see it!

Entering Kansas..

Partway through our drive we came up on some windmills, which we had some fun with.

Tomorrow we complete our trip! We have been enjoying the time on the road. A much needed vacation, it's been great to spend time together with little to do but chat and watch the scenery, and we've had a lot of fun hanging out with friends at each stop. We're ready to start the next part of the adventure though, so it will be good to get in to CO and see what happens next!



After a couple months of marveling at how neither of us have gotten sick despite of how crazy-busy we have been, my body finally gave in and I've got a cold. :( I thought it was just a sore throat from all the dust kicked up by packing our belongings, but alas it seems to actually be a cold.

Thankfully we didn't drive yesterday. We spent the day in IL, visiting friends at the U. of Illinois. It was a good day. Chris went for a bike ride/walk (the bike tire popped - sad!) and I went to a tailor, only to find out my next bridesmaid dress didn't need alterations at all. I think that's the first time EVER that I have not needed alterations! Yay. We were also joined at dinner by a friend from summer camp whom I had not seen since 1998 - it was great to see her. Old friends that show up and are still awesome are so.. reassuring. Exciting. Refreshing. Fun :)

Today we continue on our trip. We'll be crossing Missouri and getting into Kansas. Hoping this is more interesting than people have warned us it won't be. Sick + boring driving = inevitable drowsiness..


Here we go!

We’ve come a long way since my last post! This will be a picture dump post, so get ready.

First, the promised picture of my plant, waiting to leave. This is a well-traveled plant. He was given to me by a student staff member before she left the University of Illinois, and lived in my office there in a small pot for a year. Then I drove him down to FL with me, and eventually transferred him to a large pot where he lived quite happily in our kitchen. That large pot was taken by a friend when we left, and now this little cutting is traveling across country again to a new home in CO. Here’s hoping he survives the adventure!

We’ve decided to use this little toy car to help show our travels as we go. So here it is in North Florida.

We’ll try to catch a picture as we pass into each state. Though we missed the initial welcome sign going into Georgia, Chris did get a picture of the rain!

We stayed the night Wednesday in GA with Grandma. Was good to see her and catch up a bit. She made us her famous full southern breakfast – eggs, grits, bacon, sausage, and from scratch no-recipe biscuits (seriously amazing..). We didn’t need to eat for 8 hours after that! Here is Grandma being shy about having her picture taken :)

Yesterday we said goodbye to Grandma and headed to TN to visit our friends Mark and Heidi. As you go from GA to TN, you pass back and forth between the states a couple times which is entertaining.

We stopped at the rest area just inside TN, which was gorgeous! And, Chris found some Cheerwine, which he was very excited about.

Today we depart our friends in TN and head to IL. Up, up and away!



I ran some errands yesterday and (almost literally) ran into a car full of my students at the Target in Hialeah. They helped me find lumbar pillows to use for the drive. Good times!

Having movers come pack the house has not been quite the magical experience I was promised. They sent only two poor guys to pack our whole house, and it took them eleven hours. They only took one 5-minute break the entire day.. Didn't even stop to eat.

Anyway, we're almost out. They're taking out the beds now. We're hoping to get on the road within an hour. I have a picture of my little plant, waiting by the window. But this internet is not fast enough to transfer it now. Later :)



Like a well timed meal, there is little that is more satisfying to me than a series of things coming to completion at the same time. Ding! Everything is in order, all the food hits the table perfectly done and piping hot.

Similarly with a move. I get a little thrill with each box of kleenex finished in the last couple days, each jar of jam, every task completed at just the right time so there isn't a crunch. This move, getting a job offer the day before my last day at MDC exemplified this.

I am willing to put a lot of effort into making these little successes. Last weekend we had a "potluck/take stuff from our pantry" party in an effort to make sure we didn't waste too much food before the move. I planned an entire main dish of chicken just to use up a packet of soup mix. But boy was I pleased to have found a good (and truly delicious!) way to use up that little packet.

I've also been having fun using up some of our more expensive baking ingredients. With all the gluten-free cooking we do, some of the flours are expensive/hard to find so the thought of them mouldering in storage going bad is hard to handle. So this week I baked these little delights:

Gluten-Free Cherry Sour Cream Muffins. Making these muffins used up the last of our sour cream, frozen cherries, sugar, Egg Beaters, muffin cups and *almost* the last of the butter. Plus we were almost out of breakfast cereal so this prevented us from having to purchase more. Ding!

Today is our last big purging/organizing push before the movers come tomorrow. We have a TON of stuff to get through, but I'm hoping that at the end of the day everything will be ready and we'll be able to keep going with minimal stress!