Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!!

It's our favorite day of the year!!!
"When witches go riding and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, 'tis Halloween!"
Our pumpkins are carved.  Our decorations are set.  Today's costumes are selected. 
We have no idea what time trick-or-treating is, but we will be waiting for the little ghouls & goblins, the princesses & brides, the superheroes & villains!!
Donna has been standing "guard" at the slider the whole month...just watching & waiting, even scaring a few wee ones who wouldn't pass our door!  Bones have been added to the outdoor decor, with hands waiting to be strategically placed!
Saturday, I was the Queen of Bedlam...aka Insane Jane. 
Today, I am reprising my dead school girl, but won't wear my wig, will wear one of Chris's ties and, of course, will wear my new white-out contacts!!  Gonna add some "scratches", perhaps a few bruises, too. 
We are dressing up to get a free pint at Left Hand Brewing.  I am hoping to get my hands on the Dunkelweiss!!  We will return for the kiddos and then we are heading to Boulder to attend a concert and costume party at The Overlook Hotel.
The Overlook Hotel was the name of the hotel in Stephen King's The Shining.  How apropos for this evening's festivities!  The band is N'awlins funk ~~ should be interesting!  And it's free, free, free!!! 
So, back in Indiana, storms are a-brewing, so much that trick-or-treating is being rescheduled to tomorrow!  Wow!  Never do I remember Halloween being rescheduled!  We went in cold, in snow, in rain!  We had to wear coats over our awesome costumes!!!  Total bummer, but we weren't going to miss out on that candy! 
Here, it's sunny and chilly.  Temp will be high 50's.  It's pretty glorious! 
Wishing you a hauntingly good time ~~ whether you celebrate tonite or tomorrow! 
For me, I will be celebrating all thru the weekend!  Remember, November 2nd is Dia de Los Muertos!   

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Tuesday

Pumpkin carving
Cupcake baking
Nightmare Before Christmas watching

These are a few of my favorite Halloween things!

Felt Like Home

On Sunday, we headed to LoDo for the first time...and certainly not to be the last!
Our first stop, which a friend had mentioned, as did a website of Things To See in LoDo:
As soon as I stepped across the threshold, I felt at home!  It was like slipping into comfy slippers to sit in your favorite chair while sipping coffee and reading a book or flipping thru magazines.  Everything is worn and lived in and welcoming ~ exactly what I want a bookstore to be!!
The coffee is tasty & the refills only 75¢!  There is plenty of seating and free wifi.  There are 2 floors of books, plus racks of magazines.  The floors are wood.  The furniture is mismatched and old.  The building, which I need to research, is brick and must have been something industrial in its previous life.  They have a small event place.  Neil Gaiman has been there!!!!! 
While walking around to soak it all in, I told Chris I wanted to move in!  No one would notice, right?!  I would LOVE to work there!  (They are currently hiring...but the drive for a part-time gig is too long.)  I can't wait to go back!!
We might make Sunday trips to Denver...specifically Tattered Cover (especially during the cold months) part of our regular routine.  (After paying $5 to park in a lot, we discovered that the parking meters are free on Sundays...however, it was a Broncos home game, so we would have had to park quite a ways away to get street parking that day or needed to have arrived a little earlier.  But, now we know!)

Monday, October 28, 2013


A post from an automated email I get from Oprah's website, as well as an article in one of my (too) many magazines, were recently about change.  Change...something I know a lot about over the past few weeks, right!!??  I have quit my full-time job, left my gym, moved to a new state, went blonde, got a part-time job as a less than 2 months!  Whew! 
This quote from the Oprah article really struck a chord in me:
"What I like most about change is that it's a synonym for "hope".  If you are taking a risk, what you are really saying is 'I believe in tomorrow and I will be part of it.'" (Linda Ellerbee)
The tomorrow we are living now started May 15, 2011, when we arrived in Boulder and just KNEW we had to live there!  We started putting our plan into place that nite!  Just before attending the most amazing Sheryl Crow concert, for which we got tickets only 3 hours before the show!! 
We had a house to sell, which was the big anchor tying us to Indiana.  We got things sale-ready and were on the market in November.  The plan was to move as soon as our house sold.  However, when the house did sell (only 9 months later), we knew it would be too much of an undertaking to handle a big move with only 30 days to find a place in Colorado, on top of all the packing and other logistics.  We decided to find a rental and to work for one more year, this way we could put more money into our savings account, too.
As it got closer to the end of our lease, we amped up our job searches and began to search for the next rental.  I was successful in finding us a place to live, but neither of us secured work before the move.  Thankfully, we had been saving for several years. 
We packed up in early September and began the journey to our next adventure.  Our biggest adventure, by far!!
The magazine article got me thinking about goals, bucket list type stuff ~ what I want to experience, where I want to work, things I want to try.  I came up with a few things, so far:
~fitness trainer certification
~the new platform for my blog, so I can have photos again
~grad classes at CU-Boulder
~run a 5K
~serve meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas
~self-learn skincare for my needs
~learn more about witchcraft
~continue to improve at living simply
So, I have hope and am working on my tomorrows, while also being very present in my todays!
I wish you the same! 
Create your map, begin your journey, enjoy the detours!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Matter of Weeks

It's been a strange week.  My first full week working a "real" schedule at Starbucks.  I had both my first closing and opening, with a couple other early mornings thrown in for good measure.  (Can you believe I have been there 3 weeks already?!?)
I knew I was not an early morning person (I had been working my last job from 8-4 for 11 years, for goodness sakes!!) and having to wake up at 3AM for a 4:20 start to my workday cemented that opinion.  I didn't even really get much sleep that nite.  By 1AM, I just got out of bed and came downstairs to read a bit, hoping it would help me fall asleep for a couple of hours, at least.  I set the alarm on my phone and, wouldn't you know, when I had just gotten some shut eye, it goes off. 
While it is nice to have my shift over by 9AM, I just can't do those waking hours.  I also worked a 6:30AM start and a 7AM, neither of which I am a fan, either.
What's a girl to do?  Not stress over it!  This is a part-time job that I am just using to recharge and, hopefully, have a little fun, while learning new things.  I left a note for my manager to say that the early hours are not for me, that I would like my shifts to start no earlier than 9AM.  I also reiterated that I wanted only 3-4 shifts, 20 hours max, with Sundays off. 
Chris had 3 job interviews this week (only 2 were for jobs he would actually consider).  I went with him to both Denver and Boulder, just hanging out while he did his thing!  In Denver, I waited outside a Starbucks (there weren't any tables inside...where it was warm), but I should have gone next door to Einstein Bros. Bagels to get their Autumn Roast coffee!  I would have saved money, gotten free refills and been able to sit at a table.  I just wasn't thinking!  Sheesh!
In Boulder I sat outside, on a grassy hill, the sun warming my back, on the CU campus, while the students went to & fro.  It is a gorgeous campus and I can't wait to spend more time there.  I/We really want Chris to land the CU-Boulder job and I would like to take some classes over the years.  I need to see what master's programs interest me, so that I am ready!!! 
I did a little people watching because I can't get over the varied fashions we see out here!  It's fantastic!  Most anything goes!  I think it is partly due to the weather changing from morning to afternoon to nite...chilly, warm/hot, chilly/cold.  It pretty much requires layering. Altho, some are only in shorts and tees while others are completely covered from head to toe! 
Here we are October 26th and we can still wear shorts!  I wore some yesterday with a tank, thin button-up shirt and my Docs!  Rockstar! 
Tonite is our Halloween party!  We are headed to Crowne Plaza in Denver for Coloween!  The hotel takeover!  Should be a great time!  My friend, Jenn, is meeting up with us for a bit (she has about 5 parties to attend tonite!).
Tomorrow, we plan to head to LoDo (Lower Downtown Denver) to check it out.  I am not 100% sure what is there (or what even might be open on Sundays), but I hear it's a cool part of the city.  We figure we should take advantage of already being there, plus the weather is supposed to be close to 70's ~ our idea of the PERFECT Fall day!!
I believe we hit our 6-week mark this past Tuesday.  It must take about that much time (little more/little less for some) to begin to feel less sad about where/who/what you left and more like this is where you actually live.  I do think that getting my job, even part-time, helped establish the sense of "home" for me.  Chris & I also like to get out and discover our surroundings, which we have done in Longmont by walking neighborhoods off the downtown, driving different routes to places, stopping in stores along the way and, really, just the regular stuff like grocery shopping, banking, Goodwill hunting. 
Also, I notice less & less "missing you"-type FB posts from friends back in Indiana. It's be expected ~ they are still doing the things we all did together; they have kept their routine.  Sure, my absence was evident in the beginning, but they just move on, eventually.  I really do miss my gym: the intense workouts and my friends!  It just doesn't hurt AS much now.  But, when I work out here, thoughts of them always creep into my head!  Trainer Chris's Friday nite ab circuit!  Hammer yelling at us to sprint!  The silliness of Sammi & Carroll!  The teasing of Alec, aka T Rex!  All of this instantly brings a smile to my face (and a hint of a tear to my eyes). 
Looking ahead to this week: party tonite, pumpkin carving Monday or Tuesday, working 4 shifts, awaiting call-backs for 2nd interviews for Chris, seeing Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween. 
I think we might hit a snag in our delightful weather, too.  Like a drop in temps to 40 degrees again! Halloween looks to only be in the 50's!  Good thing we are stocked up on coffee to keep us warm! 
Oh, and we were able to find a new creamer flavor!  Coffeemate's Girl Scouts Caramel & Coconut!!!  Bought 2 ...they are only the small bottles.  Think we will have to head back to Walmart for, at least, 2 more!  If you are a fan of the Samoa cookie, or as it is also called the Caramel Delight, I believe, you will love this coffee creamer.  There is also Thin Mint for those of you not inclined to the Samoa or who want one of each!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Certified Barista...well, almost

I am in my third week at Starbucks and I get both a closing and an opening shift.  The craziest part of all, my manager scheduled only me & the shift supervisor ~~ no other trained barista with us!  Lucky for me, I am scheduled with my favorite shift, Jess!  She and I rocked it last nite.  Whew!   
Last nite, a lady who has been described to me as "the richest lady in Longmont" came in with her friend.  She has a particular way she wants her drink and has complained that her drink is wrong from most every barista, except for one who is friendly with her in social circles.  This barista has never made "rich lady's" drink correctly, yet, she happily drinks it!  She is one of those customers who needs to be high maintenance, just for the sake of it.  Apparently, both ladies were regulars, but then "rich lady" got mad about something and stopped coming in.  I hear Jess say her name, so I know that the drink I will be making could easily be returned.  Would you believe she did not complain?!?  What a boon to my confidence!  HA!
The best part of this week: I am finally on the tip share!  Let's hope this week is as big as the last couple.  This is my very first job with tips!  Fun!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Craft Brewery Recaps

~Walnut Brewery, Boulder

            Our favorite from our May 2011 visit, so it was going to be our first restaurant stop after the big move west.  I was looking forward to the White Ale that I had on both previous occasions.  And, of course, the yummy big soft pretzels with dip!!!  My friend, Nikki, surprised me with a gift card, that arrived at our Ogden Dunes place right before we left!  What an even better way to enjoy our much-anticipated and well-deserved craft beers, right?! 
            After returning the Penske moving truck in Boulder, we headed immediately to Walnut Brewery.  It was a pretty rainy day, but that wasn’t going to stop us!  No way!  The White Ale I had been desiring wasn’t on the beer menu, however.  Hmmm…what to drink instead?  Chris got the seasonal wheat, which was a pomegranate, and I got the St. James Irish Red Ale (I think…I am having a really hard time recalling b/c I don’t think I was that impressed with my first choice).  We also ordered the soft pretzels.  On top of our gift certificate, we were able to get Happy Hour pricing for our 2nd round of ales and food.  Chris tried an IPA this time and I got the Brown Ale, which would turn out to be my newest favorite.  We ordered some Happy Hour appetizers, too: pulled pork sliders and fried calamari. 
            Walnut Brewery did NOT disappoint!  Even tho I wasn’t able to get the craft beer I had been looking forward to for over 2 years, I found that I liked the amber ale even more.  Who would have thought?!?  And our bill was covered by our gift card!  Chalk that up as a win-win! 
            We made a 2nd trip to Walnut not too long after …. um, it was Happy Hour!  Do we need any other reason?  We ordered a margherita pizza off the Happy Hour menu, which was fantastic, and the perfect amount of food for the late lunch/early dinner!!  I had 2 Brown Ales, while Chris went again with the seasonal wheat, this time being blueberry, and the IPA.

West Flanders, Boulder

            We decided to start working our way thru the local breweries and landed on West Flanders one afternoon while strolling Pearl Street Mall.  Happy Hour, of course!!!  We gave their pizza and pretzel bites a try!  (Yep, food & ale comparisons!!)  Both delicious, but I still think Walnut Brewery’s offerings are more to my liking.   
            I started with the Canniption Pale Ale (, which was good, but a little too bitter for me.  My second choice, St. Mark’s Dubbel ( has to be the best beer I have tasted! (Or one of the best ~ It is neck & neck with the hefeweizen we had at Flagstaff Brewing Company in Flagstaff, Arizona, back in September 2008!!).  It is a beautiful color, comes in one of the short snifter-style glasses and goes down easy.  It must be considered a dessert beer!  Seriously!  Alone, or matched with the perfect sweet fare, it is the after-dinner drink for those who don’t want hard liquor, like brandy or cognac, but rather prefer a hearty ale.  
            I don’t remember what Chris’s first beer was, but he thinks it might have been the Third Kingdom IPA (  His second choice, tho, the Woodshed Smoked Porter ( started our love of dark ales!  So smooth, full of body and deep flavor!
            We have a coupon for a free beer at West Flanders (that we were given at The Sink) and I can’t wait to get back for another Dubbel!  I don’t know if Chris will go with the Porter or will give a 3rd style a try.  I think we will go for Happy Hour (maybe this week after his job interview at CU-Boulder!!!) and we’ll both get two beers at the discounted prices.  If so, I MIGHT give another draught a whirl!  In the wise words of my sister, Shannon Leigh, “You never know til you find out!” 

Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids, Longmont

            This gem was a recommendation from my cousin, Matt.  He, his girlfriend, Emily, and their new baby girl, Audrey, visited us about a week & a half after we arrived in Colorado.  This place is NOT to be missed!  The food, the beers, the atmosphere are all amazing!  They go for a New Orleans-style menu, food we love, love, love!  I tried the pulled pork with hushpuppies and cheesy grits.  Delish ~ I thought I would take home leftovers, but couldn’t stop eating until my plate was clean!  Chris got the muffaletto ~ a real N’awlins Sammie.  I had 2 beers here, too, and really like both.  Since our visit to Flagstaff Brewing in 2008, I have had a love of hefeweizen.  Oskar Blues offers one that is great!  (I just checked their website to see what they have on tap and the hefeweizen is not…total bummer!)  My second beer was their “60 in a 40”.  Chris didn’t play along this time!  HA!  He had Goose Island Matilda (a Chicago brewery).
            The 2 of us went back one afternoon for lunch, where we sat outside!  Chris got the boudin & jambalaya po’ boy, made with the most flavorful meat balls, and I went with the Catfish John, which came with crawfish etouffee and dirty rice.We also both got a side of fries and I must say they are the best fried potatoes I have ever consumed!  Unfortunately, the portion size was "wee" b/c I really would have loved to eat & eat & eat some more of those pieces of sweet & savory heaven!!  We washed these gastronomical treats down with just iced tea this visit! 
            This is a place that reminds us of House of Blues and somewhere we can see ourselves sitting outside all summer long, sipping craft brews & eating scrumptious food, while listening to live music!!  Can’t wait!!  It will also have to be a regular visit once we move to Boulder next year!  Good thing it’s a very short drive! 
Left Hand Brewing, Longmont
            Our first taste of a Left Hand brew was at The Sink, on “The Hill” in Boulder.  We wanted to visit the CU campus the day of a home football game, but didn’t want to spend the money on tickets to the game.  We figured we would hit up one of the campus bars, where we could watch the game and be around other Buff fans who didn’t have game tickets.  We stumbled upon The Sink, which we found out was visited by President Obama and Guy Fieri of The Food Network!  Score!!!  We ordered a specialty pizza, the Slaughterhouse Five, that was chockfull of meaty goodness, to include Cajun chicken!  I can’t recall my first beer.  I wanted the hefeweizen, but they were out.  BOO!!  Chris ordered a Left Hand Milk Stout (, which I tried.  So, for our 2nd rounds, we both ordered Milk Stout.  Full of creamy, toffee flavors!  It is described as having milk with your coffee and I can somewhat see the resemblance.  Since I have been enjoying dark roast coffees more, especially since starting my Starbucks gig and doing lots of coffee tastings, I can appreciate and enjoy the deep, rich flavors of this brew.
            We have learned of a process where nitrogen is infused into the beer and it is supposed to add a creaminess.  The Milk Stout is available as a Nitro (  We knew we wanted to give this a try straight from the source!  Yesterday evening, after accidentally passing Left Hand Brewing on our way to the grocery store, Chris suggested we head back for a quick drink!  What a great idea!  The weather was neither too warm nor too cold and we were able to sit outside with the sun peeking thru the red-leaves of a nearby tree, plus there was live music inside that wafted out toward us & around the cacophony of the chatter all around us.  I can’t say that I noticed the Nitro to be much creamier than the original.  I think I would like to be able to try a sample of each side-by-side to know for sure.  I do like it! 
Left Hand doesn’t offer food, but you can bring your own.  Sometimes, tho, and last nite was one of those times, there are food trucks.  We decided to give The Orange Crunch a try because their bison empanada sounded interesting.  It was pretty good…it reminded us a bit of fair food b/c it was a bit pricey for the small amount of bison in the fried dough pocket. 
We really liked this place, too, and can see ourselves going back and bringing our own food!  I want to try their Dunkelweiss, with flavors of banana & clove, which are important flavors in a hefeweizen.  (We may have to return soon as I would hate to get there after the Dunkelweiss is taken off the tap…and I don’t even see it on their webpage right now!  YIKES!!) 

Friday, October 18, 2013

...& Warm Woolen Mittens

We both rise early, before the dawn, for no particular reason.  Neither of us has to work today, so that's good b/c I suspect we might have to take a nap later!  HA!!
I opened the front door (thinking I may have left my water bottle out there when I returned from my run last nite) and what to my wondering eyes should appear?
Well, not what you are thinking...exactly!  ;)
Our first Colorado snow!
Yep ~~ there before me is a white blanket where just yesterday it was green! 
What better way to get ready for the sunrise than to lightly bundle up, throw on my trusty pink rainboots and head to Einstein Bros Bagels for a baker's dozen plus 2 Pumpkin Walnut!  We enjoyed a couple bagels (plus some leftover eggs & potatoes) with our free Starbucks coffees brewed at home.  All while watching the movie "Brave" that we checked out from the Longmont library earlier this week.  Perfect Friday morning!
Happy Weekend! 
BTW, it will be back in the 60's tomorrow, so Fall hasn't left us in Winter's icy grip just yet!  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rockin' It

I worked the bar today, even during a bit of an afternoon rush, and rocked it!!  Got mad props from my Partner baristas!
I still have plenty to learn, like all the daily cleaning routines, but it's coming together and I am only into my 2nd week ~~ with most of this time spent in training!!!  Woot!  I "treated" myself to a tall 2-pump Soy Caramel Brulee latte, a flavor which hasn't yet been released for customer-consumption, that I made myself, I did, I did! 

I also made it to the fitness room for a 3.2 mile run before dinner!  Ahhhhhh!!!  Feeling accomplished.  Working on working exercise into my week no less than 3 times and preferably 4, as before.
More great news:  Chris has been contacted by 2 different departments at CU Boulder for interviews!  He contacted both and has heard back from one who is working on scheduling the interview for next week!  Fingers crossed!  CU Boulder is what we came all this way for! 
I will have to do some "work" tomorrow nite under the full moon!  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Longmont Library Finds

While perusing the shelves for the very first time at the Longmont Public Library a couple weeks ago, I came across an interesting title...which is pretty much how books choose me...Kings and Queens of Roam.  Upon reading about the author, Daniel Wallace, I learned that he wrote Big Fish, which is one of my favorite movies.  So, of course, I wanted to read this book. 
I won't give anything away, but will say it is a story about an American who kidnaps a Chinese man and they start a town in the U.S.  The fate of the town, Roam, is experienced for generations, to include two sisters.
The story is similar to Big Fish in that it has bits of the fantastical.  BUT, the ending really left me disappointed.
I have since read two other Daniel Wallace books, The Watermelon King and Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician.  Both good reads, and quick, but they suffer the same fate ~~ the endings leave me confused, disappointed, at a loss.
I haven't yet read Big Fish and know that I have to, to see if Tim Burton, the movie's director, took any creative liberties.  Or, perhaps Big Fish was better written as a whole. 
I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading any of Mr. Wallace's books.  Nothing is ever wasted having read a book you discover you don't like all that much.  I would love any feedback from anyone who has read these books or who does after reading my post. 
And, while in Boulder yesterday, we stopped in the Boulder Public Library and got ourselves cards for this newly remodeled, gorgeous "museum" of the written word (which also houses DVDs and CDs).  I simply cannot wait until we are residents of Boulder!!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Free Spirit Living...with a bit of scheduling on the side

We have been making some major life changes, as you all well know.  Part of my changes are to be more in the moment, free-spirited, grab-life-by-the-horns and live, get out in our new environs and discover what has been waiting for me!!! 
However, I also crave exercise and I know that in order to properly do justice the fitness I want (and need!!) in my life, I must schedule it in!  With a random work schedule, it will be a bit of a challenge, but since I am only working part-time right now, it's not insurmountable!  With what we have right in our basement and the exercise room within the complex confines, I don't have one excuse not to work out several times a week.  (Hell, I should do something daily...even 20-30 minutes on the treadmill makes me feel awake and alive!)
I am going to begin this very week!  As a matter of fact, we started on Sunday with our impromptu walk to Sandstone Ranch!  This morning, I did a 20 minute treadmill warm-up, 2 sets on the weight machines and 175 ab exercises!  I was energized!!!  I know that once I get myself moving, I am so happy I got out of the house or off the couch (or, truth be told, off the internet!) because I ENJOY working out! 
Besides, I need to counteract all of the free espresso beverages I will be consuming at Starbucks!  HeeHee!!
I know I won't ever be one of those true gypsy spirits, but I am practicing and putting into place what works for my gypsy heart. 
And that is truly what matters...what works for me and brings me happiness, so that I am radiating joy to my friends & family.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pinch Me!

Even having a part-time job, I still can't really grasp that we actually LIVE in Colorado!  I know it has only been about 5 weeks, but it's so freakin' surreal!  I think our girls are still "off" and are trying to figure out what to do with their time.  (I am sure they miss the 3 seasons room from Ogden Dunes, especially Luna, where they had so much wildlife to watch). 
We took a walk yesterday morning from our place, east to Sandstone Ranch.  There are baseball and soccer fields at the front of the property and then a trail that loops and takes you past the original home on the property.  Unfortunately, as I have had to say so many times now, the floods damaged the bridge that would have enabled us to make the trail loop!!!  What we were able to walk, though, was very cool!  There is a "lookout" where you get a great view of the mountains to the west.  There are huge sandstone structures that provide a buffer from the house and the fields, so that when you are walking along the grass (or, better yet, sitting on the bench swing) at the home you can't hear all the goings-on from the sporting events.  Very smart planning, Mr. Morse Coffin!  And we saw a deer!  Finally!  We have missed our deer friends since leaving Ogden Dunes!
More hair stuff happened this weekend, too!  Chris happily bleached my hair and then toned it.  We went easy on the bleaching, so I still have a little hint of the golden color, but it seems to add depth.  However, I will get rid of it next color b/c we will use the stronger developer and I might add a color rather than just toning, because I want to achieve a platinum hue. 
I have learned more at Starbucks and sometimes I don't know how I will make it when I am thrown to the wolves.  I mean, when I am on the floor...especially when I am on the bar!  But then I think how all of my coworkers (or Partners, as Starbucks says) have learned everything and I give myself a break and know that in time I will do much out of routine.  After having done the same job for over 11 years, it is strange to be the new person and to not know what I am doing, while others are working so seamlessly together.  I have chosen to be there and am determined not to let myself get overwhelmed.  I want to enjoy my time and have that radiate to the customers and my fellow Partners.
Chris has a phone interview tomorrow with Johnson & Wales University in Denver.  He also applied to THE PERFECT JOB at UC Boulder!  We really, really, really want him to be offered the Boulder job!  We want to work in Boulder!  We want to, eventually, live in Boulder!  We fell in love with Boulder during our 2011 trip and we love to be there during our free time!  Fingers crossed!  Prayers and positive wishes are always appreciated.
Today started out gloomy, cold and a bit rainy, but, as I type, the sun seems to be trying with all its might to shine through!  The sun here in Colorado is simply amazing!  Even on the cool/cold days, it brings that little bit of warmth to make each day a delight!  And we were "promised" 300 days of sunshine! 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Halloween Ramblings....

It's almost mid-October and I have yet to blog about Halloween!  The most wonderful time of the year!!! 
The last four weeks have just been filled with our move and I haven't had much time to focus on our favorite holiday time.  We have decorated, inside & out.  I see a house near us that is decorated with lots of light up stuff, so we will walk over there one nite soon and then check out the other streets to see who shares our affinity for All Hallow's Eve around here.
We have only three pumpkins this year, 2 orange and 1 white.
The big news:  We are attending Coloween at the Crowne Plaza.  It is a total hotel take over!  34,000 square feet of haunted décor!  Denver's ultimate Halloween party, possibly Colorado's ultimate Halloween party!  AND we are staying the nite at the Crowne!  So we can party, party, party and then slink back to our room for some shut eye before heading home! 
I haven't spent a lot of time on Pinterest, either, but I do highly suggest visiting for lots of inspiration.  You can check out my Halloween board and you can type "Halloween" or "fall" or "autumn" or "witch" or practically any word associated with this time of year and you will be inundated with images for your visual pleasure!!  Pin away!
When the weather turns chilly, I think it's the best time for curling up with a book.  Some suggestions that will keep you in the Halloween spirit: Stephen King (the King of Horror), Deborah Harkness, the Harry Potter series, Wicked, When Autumn Leaves.
It's also the perfect time of year to enjoy outdoor activities, while bundled up and enjoying a warm beverage.  Check your local county parks, orchards and farms for hayrides, bonfires, pumpkin picking, haunted houses & trails.  Head out to local football games, whether it be your best friend's son playing in a "peewee" league or a game at your alma mater (or be like us and head to your nearest university campus), nothing says Fall like football season!
It's time to wear boots, scarves, jackets, lightweight gloves ~~and fun ones that are fur-trimmed! 
Put up your Halloween decorations, you late-starter.  Play Halloween movie soundtracks and other spooky music while "haunting up" your place!
Bake pumpkin cake, cookies, scones. 
Burn candles with fall scents.
Drink spiced wine, pumpkin ales and spirits with harvest flavors.
Watch your favorite Halloween movies (and re-watch them, there are some I just can't get enough of!).  I have my own faves and am not a big fan of horror, but I will list a whole bunch:
The Addams Family, Practical Magic, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Hocus Pocus, The Exorcist, Death Becomes Her, The Omen, Hellraiser, Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street, Silence of the Lambs, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Harry Potter, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Sweeney Todd, Young Frankenstein, Halloweentown series, Ghostbusters, Interview with the Vampire, The Witches of Eastwick, Sleepy Hollow, Friday the 13th series , Halloween series, The Lost Boys, Universal Monsters collection.
That is more than the 31 days of Halloween, and we are already into day 10...pop some corn and get yourself in front of your TV!  Time is running out!!


So, I finished my first week at Starbucks.  My trainer, Karey, is awesome!  She
said I have done great!  I just know that the biggest "test" will be when I am on bar making drinks by myself! 
I did work the register today and made a few drinks for actual customers! 
And I have made several drinks for training...and some sampling!
I have also done coffee tasting, both with and without bakery items.
Even without consuming full beverages, I have left work with small caffeine headaches.  It doesn't help that I haven't been consuming water during my shift or that I am not really eating anything. 
There are so so so many drinks that I will have to try, coffee-based and not, that I could go months without remaking the same drink for myself.  I sampled Frappuccinos today:  vanilla bean, coffee, caramel and mocha, along with a cool lime Refresher and an orange mango smoothie.  All made by me!  Oh, I did a Caramel Macchiato, too.  You might be surprised at what goes into this drink, or rather what doesn't...but I'm not going to give away company secrets!  HA!!
Before leaving today, since it is the last day of my workweek, I brought home our first bag of free coffee!  Although Chris wanted a blonde roast (the lightest), I chose Ethiopia, a medium roast.  Can't wait to grind the beans and enjoy some fresh coffee made with pumpkin cake that Chris is whipping up tonite.  (Don't know how well I will sleep being all caffeinated-up, but I am off until Monday, so I can catch up on my sleep this weekend!  If not, I have my Ethiopia coffee to perk me up!!!)  

Day Trip to Estes Park

On Tuesday, we drove to Estes Park.  We headed through Boulder and onto Nederland, where we then headed north through the mountains.  The valley views along the twists and turns, as we ascend and descend, are at once breathtakingly beautiful and white-knuckle scary!!
Because of the floods, we had to take the long way....rather than either of two ways that are closer and easier drives!  Ah, well!
We visited Estes Park during our visit in 2011, but only as far at The Stanley Hotel.  This trip, we went to the downtown first...what a delightful town!  Made all the better with the crisp leaves gathered along the side of the main street.  (It reminded me of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, somewhere I would love to live...if I could ever find it!!)  It was a sunny day, that started cool, but we were completely comfortable in shorts, tees and sweatshirts. 
We walked up and down, stopping in many of the shops.  Shops that were so happy to see us.  The flood made impassable the 3 routes into Estes Park and this tourist town was starved, plus many of the businesses were severely damaged, some not even yet re-opened.  We were there after season, so it was quiet and some things were closed, but we don't like crowds anyway.  Our pace was leisurely.
There is a river walk which is very well planned with benches, tables, stairs and even plenty of public restrooms.  The river was bubbling along, providing a peaceful sound helping to further create the relaxing environment. 
This same rambling river that wreaked so much havoc just weeks before. 
We made another quick trip to The Stanley.  And, again, we missed out on a ghost tour!  Sheesh!!!  Guess that means another visit is a must!  Actually, we would like to get tickets to the Stanley Film Festival in May.  Either way, we are going to stay the nite on our next trip up into the Rockies!!
This is elk "rutting" (mating) season and the best time to see them is dusk; however, there was no way we were staying and then having to drive back through the mountains.  We did see about 5 or 6 laying around (guess to conserve energy for meeting up with the ladies later) as we were heading out of town.
Our return trip was back along the scenic Peak to Peak; this time with the sun setting.  The yellow of the aspens made golden by the late afternoon sun against the green of the pines that rise from the mountains made the arduous drive worthwhile.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Partnering With Starbucks

I had my first day at Starbucks yesterday.  Four hours of training stuff, no big deal.  I then had to attend a meeting after closing, where I was able to meet all of my co-workers (save one).
There are some great perks to being a Partner with this company.  Beginning with a free pound of coffee for home use EVERY week!  I could get Kcups, Via or tea, in lieu of the bag of coffee.  We are gonna be stocked up!!  It's really too bad we don't have any friends or family near with whom we can share this bounty!  I can enjoy unlimited beverages during my shift, plus the 30 minutes before and after!!  I get a 30% discount otherwise (and at all other Starbucks locations).  I will get 2 green aprons with my name embroidered on them, as well.
My co-workers seem like a great bunch.  And, I am not the oldest!  I'm right about in the middle!  Whew!!  It seems I stumbled into the best store in the area ~ I was told this by several employees.  While I am anxious because it's a lot to learn, I am also confident that my fellow Partners will look out for me and help me to learn and grow.  Yay, lucky me!!! 
I have a couple more shifts this week, but I don't yet know when I will actually be hands-on to learn how to make drinks.  I am hoping I get to learn inventory and stocking, then register, then making drinks at the bar. 
Funny sidenote:  my barista trainer, Karey, said that right after I left yesterday one of their regulars came in and learned that Mike, another barista, is leaving.  The customer said something about missing Mike's cool hair!  And Karey told him that Jennifer (me), Mike's replacement, also has cool hair!  HA!! 
 I showed up this week with much lighter hair than my interview: cut and color!  And the color is going to get even lighter....working on platinum.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The 500-year Flood

Within days of our arrival in Longmont, massive flooding occurred throughout Boulder County, to include Longmont, Boulder & Lyons.  Roads and bridges suffered extreme damage and some will take months, if not a year, to rebuild. 
We didn't have internet or TV hooked up at home, yet.  We had limited internet via a hotspot, so I would check Longmont's Emergency Management page for all updates, especially to see if we were to evacuate. 
Our townhouse faces the St. Vrain River and it had surpassed its boundaries.  We could see it from our place, which isn't normally the case according to the neighbors we spoke with during this time.  We could also always hear it raging.  There is a retention area between us and it, thankfully.  Chris wasn't worried and I told him that he was my gauge for concern.  I watched the water...a lot...but also kept my eye on Chris and kept busy unpacking and getting our place decorated.
We did place all of our boxes in the basement atop our plastic storage totes, just in case.
We even ventured out to Walmart, just a few streets east of us, one day because we were in dire need of groceries and it was a ghost town!  So eery!  Very few customers and even fewer employees, I believe!  The bakery wasn't even open because the person scheduled couldn't make it in. 
Things began to calm down with the rain slowly subsiding and the evacuees allowed to return home.
However, there is a ditch very near our front door and one morning I awoke to find water flowing down it, where it had been completely dry!  THIS started to freak me out!!!  This was now actually close to us and could overflow and then come toward us and our basement...our things, which we only just moved in days earlier!!!
We were, again, spared!  I am so very thankful!  We certainly didn't get the "welcome" we had anticipated when we arrived for our new life in Colorado!  I mean, Where was the sunshine?
I have to admit that I am very glad we didn't have TV access because I know me and I would have been 100% freaking out had I seen the coverage and the aerial pictures!!  We were so close to the devastation without realizing just how close and how devastating! 
We had family and friends checking on us via Facebook, phone & texts and we certainly appreciate everyone's concerns, prayers and positive thoughts.  We know you helped to keep us safe and dry!  Thank you isn't enough.
Here is a link from the Longmont Times Call (the local paper) of photos from that historical event.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Flavors

Here are a couple of recipes that lean toward Fall flavors, but can be eaten all year round.  Additionally, they can both be made vegetarian by subbing in/out several ingredients, to your preference.  Both I came across from different sources and have tweaked to our tastes.  Feel free to do the same for you & yours.  Enjoy!
Winter Squash with Beans & Bacon
4 slices bacon (thick-cut, preferably from the deli)
1 small sugar pumpkin or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1' pieces
1 c broth
1 T oregano
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 15.5 oz can cannelini, pinto, black or kidney beans, rinsed
1 T red wine or balsamic vinegar
Cook bacon until crisp.  Let cook.  Reserve skillet.
Add squash to skillet; cook until browned.
Add broth, oregano, salt & pepper to squash.
Cover & cook, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender.
Add beans & vinegar and heat through.
Place in large serving bowl.  Top with crumbled bacon.
**Don't forget to save the seeds from your squash.  Rinse and allow to completely dry.  Mix with some oil and seasonings (whether savory or sweet) and roast.**
Sweet Potato Hash
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced fine
1 T olive oil
1/4 t salt
1 t pepper
4 sausages (breakfast patties or links, or any kind of sausage removed from casing), crumbled after cooking
1/4 c onion, diced
1/4 c bell pepper (red, green, yellow or orange), diced
5 large eggs
1/2 bag frozen peas, cooked
In microwave safe bowl, combine 1/2 T olive oil, sweet potato, salt & pepper.  Microwave 5-6 minutes (until fork tender). 
In skillet, add 1/2 T olive oil and cook up sausages.  Remove from skillet and crumble.  Do not drain skillet.
Cook onions and peppers in skillet.
In separate skillet, scramble eggs.
Microwave peas.
Combine sausage, eggs, onions, peppers and peas in sweet potato bowl.  Microwave another minute.
**You could add or top with shredded cheese**

Day of the Dead

We visited the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center for the first time yesterday.  We wanted to see the new Dia de Los Muertos exhibit.  It did not disappoint.  Apparently, the City of Longmont has a great interest in Day of the Dead and, I believe, this is its 13th year celebrating the holiday.
The exhibit consisted of very colorful (of course!) altars, both personal and famous persons, plus created gravesites, most of famous individuals of the Latino community.  There were informational posters in each of the exhibit rooms, from which I learned some new things.  Like why soap and water are part of the display and why marigolds (a flower that I haven't ever really liked in the past) are the flower of choice. 
It was also interactive in that guests could write a note to a deceased loved one and hang it from a paper marigold-covered arch.  (I left one for my dad.) 
I have liked the art of sugar skulls for many years, but after seeing this art installation, I have an even greater appreciation now that I connect more with the meaning behind the holiday.
We can make sugar skulls at the museum on October 20th.  I believe they will be used for an event being held at the museum on Dia de Los Muertos (November 2nd, All Souls Day) that I hope we can attend.  There will be live music and other activities.  I think it will be a blast to actually celebrate the holiday this year.  To that end, I want to create a small "altar" in my dad's honor, just a few things that remind me of him and, hopefully, some marigolds. 
In Lafayette, a nearby city to us, there will be an event on October 18th, that includes art and sugar skull decorating.  We have this on our calendar, too.
My cousin, Mona, and her husband, Mike, have been into calacas for quite sometime and I believe they may have decorated a bathroom with the art.   I would like to add sugar skulls to our decorating scheme...perhaps just mixed in with our Halloween stuff, but maybe our everyday.  We did buy a sugar skull decorated rubber duckie at Cost Plus World Market a couple weeks ago that is on the counter in our bathroom and will remain there.  Oh, and I do have Skelita Calavares, of Monster High fame!  She will be on display (along with our other collectibles) again one day. 
I hope that in addition to celebrating the Samhain holiday, you can incorporate the similar, & deeply-rich in history and tradition, Dia de Los Muertos this year.  There are many books you can find at your local library and bookstores, as well as the volume of information available on the internet.  You may even find that right in (or very near) your own community, there are art displays, sugar skull projects and other group events honoring this day. 

Go Buffs!!

We attended our first CU Boulder football game yesterday!
Well, not really attended.  We did walk the campus before the game!! 
The day was sunny and, somewhat, cool (altho, it was a bit warmer than we had expected and I think it's the bright sun simply warmer things up!).  We were able to walk around the campus, past the stadium (Folsom Field) and on to the college area of Boulder.  This was a far better day for a football game than when we attended the Notre Dame game, this time last year (rain, rain, rain and cold)!   
Even tho the Buffs aren't a good football team, it would have been delightful to be in the stadium!  I did enjoy all of that at the ND game, despite being soaked!!  If only someone had given us tix or sold them for cheap!  There were people selling them outside before the game and we should have asked the price, tho I didn't have a whole lot of cash on me because the thought didn't even cross my mind that we might score a deal. 
Then we headed to "The Hill" in the hope that one of the college bars would be airing the game.  We landed at The Sink.  This place had the college vibe from the get-go!  And while I don't think we actually went underground after entering, it felt like a dungeon!  Weird!  Apparently, the TV show "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives" visited The Sink in 2011!  So we made an awesome pick!!!  We enjoyed more craft beers, this time from Prost Brewing and Left Hand Brewing.  I tried the Oktoberfest from Prost and it was pretty good (I wanted the Prost hefeweizen, but they were out!).  Chris got Left Hand's Milk Stout and it was dark and pleasantly, albeit surprisingly, delicious!  We also ordered one of their specialty pizzas, The Slaughterhouse Five (it is a college bar!!), which is chockfull of meats, to include a creole chicken!  The crust, we chose wheat, is handmade and our pizza arrived quick and hot!  We ordered the medium and each devoured our 3 large pieces!  We finished the meal with a Left Hand Milk Stout for each of us. 
We have been spending quite a bit of money just on beer in our (almost) 4 weeks here!  Sheesh!  But when one is surrounded by so many breweries it's hard not to try an ale or a lager whenever we dine out.  However, Chris said he is done, done, done with beer ~ the empty calories and the ~ahem~ bloating!  Especially with my exercise being nowhere near where it was in Indiana, I, too, need to keep an eye on what I am consuming, in both food and drink.  I would definitely go back to The Sink, especially during Happy Hour, which happens daily during the week and ALL day on Sundays! 
We have done fairly well snagging Happy Hour pricing at many of the brewpubs in both Boulder and Longmont. 
I hope to attend a game for real, maybe this year or after one (or both) of us get jobs at the University!  We'll dress in all black and sit among the fans, where I will quickly learn the songs and cheers and get totally involved in the traditions that are indicative to each and every college sports event!
In the meantime, I want to go back to the campus and walk it some more, especially as the leaves continue to change.  Next time, tho, I am wearing my tennis shoes or, better yet, my ever-so-stylish and super comfortable Doc Martens!  ;)  (My "new" black boots gave me a killer blister...bummer.)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Anything Goes

One of the things I have noticed and LOVED since arriving in Colorado is the "anything goes" attitude when it comes to attire!
Maybe it's the fact that the temperature accommodates shorts, jeans, tees, sweaters/sweatshirts, flip flops, sandals, shoes, any combination!
You see it all the same time!  A guy in a short-sleeve shirt and shorts passes by, while another is dressed in jeans, long-sleeve shirt and jacket!  A woman in a flowy skirt, sandals and tank passes by another who is in workout wear!
Me, I have worn shorts and a tee with my rain boots!  And jean skirt, tights, tee and knee-high brown boots!!!  Sometimes, I have to change outfits because it's chilly in the evenings.  When we were in Boulder yesterday, we stopped in one of the many thrift stores (Colorado seems to be full of them, lucky us!) and Chris found me the most perfect pair of black boots!  I have a heeled pair, but wanted something slightly flatter.  These are going to work with so many outfits (shorts, skinny jeans, skirts), as well as my "new" dress purchased at a retro resale shop in Niwot, Rockin' Robin's
We have been wearing shorts, up to today.  (I was in shorts and a tank top on Monday...the last day of September!)  The weather is changing as I type, actually.  It is getting very chilly.  Rain is expected tonite into tomorrow and may even be a rain/snow mix by tomorrow with a high temp in the mid 40's!  Yikes!! 
Saturday will still be cool, high 50's/low 60's.  We are going to Boulder for the CU football game and it will be nice to dress Fall, not summer.  We aren't actually going to the game, but I want to be there during all the football hoopla, amid the colorful trees, the babbling creek and the chill!!  I've been looking forward to wearing one of my many lighter weight coats. 
Sunday starts the 70's for the week, so who knows what I'll be wearing next week when I am not working.  (Working!!!)  

The Leaves Have Started to Change

And so, it seems, am I!
I believe it started right before we left Ogden Dunes.  I guess I could "blame" our wonderful neighbors, Ken & Curt, whom we affectionately called "The Guys"!
Blame is too strong a word, tho...
In so many ways, they enhanced our life.
This is one of those ways:
I am now drinking dry red wine!  I (we, actually) have always been sweet and semi-sweet oenophiles.  Dry wines were such a turn-off.  I felt as if I needed a water chaser! 
However, The Guys would serve drier wines (red & white), so when they had us over for dinner (which was always Top Chef quality) I would go for the red.  And it would go down easy! 
We needed to restock our wine "cellar" after moving and went for some Cabs, a California red and a lambrusco.  Right now, they are covered in Halloween wine bottle tags, like: Cats Prowl, Zombie Virus and Red Blood, and mixed in with our Halloween food & drink table décor ~~ Eat, Drink and Be Scary!
One of my favorite wines, and it only comes out this time of year, is Leelanau Cellars Witches Brew!  Unfortunately, it is a winery in Michigan, so I won't find it here in Colorado!  (Perhaps I could have it sent to me....hmmmm!)  In the meantime, tho, I have made my own spiced wine, using a Cab and mulling spices! 
I'm going to try it right now to see how it compares ~~ the verdict:  aromatic fall bouquet with a deep blood-red color, but not enough flavor.  Maybe I would need to add some cider, perhaps?! 
In addition to the dry wines, I am now wanting a darker roast coffee.
I even asked for the special dark to be brewed at Waffle House Sunday morning!!!   HA!  We bought a single-cup coffee maker on clearance at Walmart right after we moved in and found an espresso ground coffee at Big Lots (yep, Big Lots) that helps to give me the richer flavor I now desire.  So, we will now be on the lookout for deals on darker roasts for home brewing as I will continue to seek out the same when at a coffee house!  (My new gig at Starbucks should help me learn more about coffee roasts, while also affording me a discount on bags of coffee!!)
I used to be a "the lighter the beer, the better" kinda gal, but now, when we are making our microbrew selections, I am looking at the ales with malt and described as having a toffee flavor!
What?What?  Who am I?!?  It's crazy! 
Tho, I still love a hefeweizen and Oskar Blues has a very flavorful one! 

Howling at the Moon

Where we live in Longmont is the far east side, right along the border between the counties.  Our townhouse is at the back of the complex and we face an open field that backs up to the St. Vrain Creek.  There are prairie dogs all around and even a few rabbits, that, strangely, aren't that afraid of people!
We also have coyotes!
Yep!  Coyotes!!
We were hearing them pretty regularly around 8:45/9PM.  We even heard them during the full Harvest Moon.
However, some nites when our bedroom window is open, they wake me up! 
I have to choose between being awoken around 2AM from the howls or closing the window and waking up because I get too hot! 
The weather is due to change and get colder, so I don't think I will have to make the choice of leaving the window open or closing it.  (There is a ceiling fan in the room, anyway!!)  And it isn't every nite I hear the coyotes.
I do wonder where they go to during the day, tho...
Oh, and please don't share this info with my mother!  She is a worry wart!  :)

What Can I Get Started For You?

So, shortly after arriving in Longmont, we visited the Spirit Halloween store.  It's our favorite type of store, of course!  This year, they have lots of animated interactive playground for the slightly twisted, like us!  It's a good thing we aren't in our house in Hobart because I think we may have dropped a small fortune!  (Altho, I truly miss our graveyard and sincere pumpkin patch...and all of the other fun things we would do on Halloween day for the trick-or-treaters!)
I applied to Spirit online that nite and received a call the very next day!  Two calls, actually!  They must really want me, I am thinking!  And, who wouldn't?!  With my resume, it's easy to see that I would be reliable and once they meet me and see my love for all things All Hallow's Eve, well, hiring me would be their best decision!  So, I returned the call and set up an interview for later that week.  This would be the most ideal time for me to get a part-time, temporary job at a Halloween store, right?  I'm between jobs after the move, this would help me be even more in the spirit of our favorite holiday and I would love to help people buy costumes, accessories and props to enhance their Halloween experiences! 
Come Thursday, at noon, I arrive several minutes early for my interview.  I spot some small things I want to buy once I get an employee discount (a sugar skull magnet and something witchy for my mom).
Upon meeting the manager, Gary, he immediately informs me that he is under a hiring freeze!  I'm thinking, why didn't you call me this morning to let me know this?  Why are you wasting my time if you have no means to offer me a job?  We chat for several minutes anyway and he tells me that he will have everything with HR straightened out and will contact me next week.   
Can you believe I NEVER heard back?!? 
Chris and I have gone back to the store once and I really had hoped to see this Gary and make a point of saying hello!!  It certainly appears that he wants to continue to hire young, possibly unreliable...girls!  (He told me at my "interview" that HR had him at 12 employees, when he only had 5 after firings and quittings...and this was only the middle of September!!)
In the meantime, I also applied online for the several Starbucks locations in Longmont.  I love spending time in Starbucks, it's always so relaxing and smells so good!  Plus, I love the drinks and pumpkin scones!!!  I think it would be fun to learn what goes on behind the counter of one of my favorite businesses!  The baristas always seem to be enjoying themselves!!
Once again, the day after applying, I receive a voicemail for an interview.  This time, when I arrive, it is a real interview for a job that, in fact, exists!  The manager informs me that it will take about a week for a background check (and I let him know that I possess a federal background clearance, which he thought may be the case) and he will contact me. 
He DID call and offered me the gig!  So, on Monday, I start my part-time job.  I have to run to Goodwill this weekend (lucky me, it's a 50% off day on Saturday) to grab some black collared shirts and a pair of khaki pants, which I will pair with my chunky Mary Janes by Anarchy (bought at Hot Topic years ago), so that I have the right Starbucks "uniform" (black or white collared shirt, black or khaki shorts or pants and black or brown waterproof shoes). 
Not only is this a learning opportunity for my own personal gain, I see this as a learning tool for the future Extrava Market I will run for my friends, Jason & Julie Ufema.  Yep...I am working on getting them to open up a shop here, outside of Pennsylania!  Yesterday, when Chris and I were walking in Boulder, I found an ideal location for lease...sent them pics, too!  ;) 
The changing of the seasons...this one, my favorite, with the changing of the leaves, is also a time for my change: where I live, where I work, even the color of my hair! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Longmont Hot Spots

In the midst of the rains and flooding, we had to venture out to meet with our new auto insurance agent.  We spoke about needing to find the closest coffee spot with wifi.  He suggested a place just one block away that he knew was open (so many businesses were impacted by flooding and remained closed for some time). 
We found ourselves right at home on the corner of 4th and Main Streets at Ziggi's.  Free wifi AND delicious coffee!  A definite local hangout, even under the trying circumstances.  We really like the vibe here and have been back.
We wanted to have a meal out one morning and headed to another of the places our agent also recommended: Janie's Cafe, on Main Street.
This little greasy spoon is the food gathering spot for Longmont's old timers, to be sure!  I think we were the youngest people in the joint!  The décor is very hometown, hodge podge.  On one wall are hung mirrors to look like windows, while the opposite wall is a painted mural of windows looking out to mountains.  The walls and booths are padded in black.  The carpet throughout is basic blue and is the flat, utilitarian style that will wear well for years to come.  And there is a cowbell on the door to announce arrivals!
The waitresses are dressed in tshirts and jeans or capris.  And there is a little old man at the counter in his Sunday finest: dress pants, short-sleeve button up shirt and patterned tie (dogs, I think)!!! 
I don't know the age of the restaurant, but maybe it has been around for decades.  I think it's the old charm that attracts the crowd. 
On this Saturday morning, the chatter was all about who is flooded out.  We even overheard someone described as "Chicken Pooper"!  I kid you not!  This is definitely one of those joints where the locals gather to talk the latest hometown news!
Our food was tasty, the coffee was flowing and the service is very attentive.  We even had someone take our check and money to the counter and brought back our change, even tho the customers are to pay on their way out. 
We have also loved the chain Einstein Bros. Bagels.  Another coffee spot with free wifi ... well, actually, each time we have been there we have gotten on the wifi from the neighboring Bdubs!  The current Autumn Roast coffee is divine!  The only downside to Einstein is that they are only open until 5PM.  However, they offer Happy Hour pricing from 3-5 of 25% off!  That speaks volumes to our bank account!  And during our first visit, the GM brought us a yogurt parfait and a fruit cup, which we ate with delight!  We missed out on the best pumpkin food by arriving so late, but we did try the pumpkin bagel (I'm of the opinion that Panera's is better).  On our 2nd visit, we were able to try the Autumn Roast coffee for the first time and I scored the last pumpkin muffin!  Mmmmm!!!  Just now, while snagging the website for my link, I see they have a frozen concoction/drink called Cold Pumpkin Pie.  Might have to give that a try soon! 
We had our first visitors during our second week, my cousin, Matt, his girlfriend, Emily and their new little girl, Audrey, who came up from Denver.  Per Matt's recommendation, the 4 of us went for dinner and brews at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids & Solids.  A feast for the eyes as well as the body!  Very much a New Orleans feel mixed with House of Blues.  I went for the BBQ pork dish with cheesy grits and hushpuppies...thinking I would take home leftovers!  HA!  I washed down this delish dish with the Oskar Blue's hefeweizen and their "60 in a 40".  Chris got the muffaletto sandwich and a couple Goose Island Matildas.  We are planning to head back for some live music and a few more draughts!
As our time here progresses, I will have more local spots to share.

Fitness..Why Have You Forsaken Me?

I know it's ONLY been 3 weeks, but I haven't been exercising as much as I would like.  As much as I did back in Indiana, before the move.  I know, I know~ we have been busy and we are still in flux, adjusting. 
I have run outside, once.  It reinforced that I prefer to run inside on a treadmill.  But I did it and I am not completely against doing it again.
I did a small workout in our basement, once, which included about 15-20 minutes of shadow boxing.  It felt awesome to have my gloves back on!  While I didn't sweat as much as I did at LAB/UFC, it was so wonderful to perspire from exertion! 
I did the weight machines in the fitness area of our townhouse complex, once.
I did a quick warm-up style workout in the basement, once.
I have run on the treadmill in the fitness room...TWICE!  I ran 3 miles this morning and feel so energized! 
And lest I forget, we did a short hike at the gorgeous Red Rocks.  This place is amazing!  Human ingenuity using nature to carve out an outdoor amphitheatre and trails!  We cannot wait to see a concert here ~~ so many big names have played this venue.  U2 started the revolution, as a matter of fact, in the early 1980's. 
I guess my fitness hasn't completely been lost and I guess I just have to figure out how to put exercise into each day, no matter how intense, so that my mind stays clear and my body, healthy. 
We have access to fresh produce (love our new supermarkets Sprouts and Lucky's) and have been eating healthy! I even bought rolled oats, raw almonds, roasted almonds, dried cranberries and long grain rice directly from bulk bins!  We try to take snacks with us when we head out to save money and eat well!!  I started a snack bag, too, so it is handy.

The Drive

Ok, Ok!  I am back!!!  We have been in Longmont, CO, for 3 weeks today.  We finally got internet and satellite installed, so we can now spend a little more time at home, where we can be connected both online and with tv!  It has been a bit strange being so unplugged!  We would get online at coffeehouses and the local library, but the moments were fleeting and often spent searching for and applying to jobs.  Now, we can do so many more things from the comfort of our home, which will also help us to get even more done in a day!
While it seems like a long three weeks, the days themselves were flying by.  I think with no routine or real commitments to our time, we have been just moving at our own speed on any given day.  We have done some exercising, visited some new places, unpacked, decorated for Halloween, visited with family and a few other things.  Yet, I am feeling a bit out-of-sorts.  I hope that by putting my thoughts down here (and I have been collecting many), I will begin to grasp a bit of control back.  And then I will really be able to enjoy myself in our new (and breathtaking) surroundings. 
So...I am going to begin where it began: 
Observations from the Road ~ Things I Learned During Our 2-Day, 18-hour Drive from Indiana to Colorado
A squirrel will run out into the highway!  And then I will accidentally hit & kill it!  Usually, I will slow down or swerve a bit, but on the highway, at fast speeds, I had to continue in my lane.  I did briefly take my foot off the gas pedal and scrapped the top of it a bit, but I didn't brake!
Somehow, a mouse can fit betwen me and my seat, amidst my sweatshirt that was bunched behind my lower back for support!  One of our pitstops, I look back into my car and see what I thought was one of the cat toys.  However, it just didn't look exactly like any I remembered.  So, Chris takes a closer look and, lo & behold, it is a REAL and DEAD mouse!  My joke on Facebook is that my ass is so rock hard (from all of my working out) that it can kill a mouse!
There is a city in Iowa called What Cheer!
Isis travelled much of the first day sitting in the litter box I put on the floor behind my seat, in case they needed to use it during transit.  She had my lap, the seats, the top of her carrier, inside her carrier, the back window...yet, she chooses the litter box, which is quite funny b/c that is where she spent her time when we found her at the pet store and when we first brought her home (14 years ago)!  I guess it must be her safe place! 
You will always have a Friend in Nebraska. 
We were told that Nebraska is the most boring state thru which to drive.  Well, my suggestion: listen to movie soundtracks!  That's what I did and didn't find Nebraska so boring after all!  I listened to "Nightmare Before Christmas," "Moonlight Kingdom," and "Practical Magic" are a few of my faves!
Don't pick up hitchhikers!!! Especially when you see the signs and they are posted near correctional facilities!  (We didn't, mind's no longer the 1970's when thumbing for rides was du jour!)
Kearney, Nebraska, where my cousin, Tam's, paternal grandfather was born and is the only reason I paid attention as we passed it on Highway 80, is the sand hill crane capital of the world.
Stop for gas when you see the first exit, otherwise you get a Dairy Queen-gas station combo with dirty bathrooms, bad coffee and gas pumps from the early 20th century (read: no pay at the pump capabilities)!
Head inside the gas station to use the facilities FIRST...if there is no running water, therefore no bathrooms to use, then don't buy gas here!  Spend your money where you get to use the toilet!!

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