Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Colorado Vacation 2009

Homebase for our Colorado vacation was a wonderful cabin called the Royal Roost; nestled between Mts. Rosalie and Logan at 9,200 feet elevation near Bailey, Colorado.

A true mountain cabin, our little home for the week was located behind a locked gate inside the Pike National Forest, surrounded by conifers, aspens, granite outcroppings, and a brisk, bubbling creek right outside the door.

The location was so peaceful and secluded that it took no time at all to decompress and get into a vacation frame of mind. After unloading the car, we lit the fireplace, cracked the window open, and in poured the bustling creek sound that would lull us to sleep all week. Oh yeah, we also opened up a nice Port to enjoy by the firelight.

The next day we ventured out to explore the creek, the woods, the trail that led up into the moutains, and to start to get used to the elevation! Those first few days, we were sucking the air for every molecule of oxgen we could get.

Well, two of us were ... baby girl turned out to be a natural-born, sure-footed mountain goat (or perhaps, lamb.) She ran and jumped and explored the area all around our little cabin. We had a hard time keeping up with her.

We want to thank our great hosts, Tom and Judy Jeute, owners of Royal Ranch, Llama Adventures, and the Royal Roost. Check out more pics and info at: and

They welcomed us when we first arrived in the rain with a huge umbrella, took us to the cabin and showed us around, and helped us during the week with local info. And the breakfasts ... oh those wonderful breakfasts!!! The cabin was already stocked when we arrived with coffee, hearty homemade breakfast burritos, and yummy chocolate muffins. They turned a great location into the perfect place to make our Colorado vacation special.

Thanks Tom and Judy ! ! !

We arrived in Colorado with a list of things we wanted to do in Denver and the surrounding area, but after we settled in at the cabin, we slashed that list WAY down. It was just too much fun to explore the woods around the cabin.

Our first must-do list item was to take baby girl to the Denver Zoo. Her favorite animals were ones she knew from the Wonder Pets; for you non-toddler parents, click here. So, in review; ducks, turtles, fish, kangaroos, and cute little animals are good; big, scary animals are bad. In all, it was a good outing, plus daddy and daughter got to wail on some cool drums!

Thursday was the best day of our week.

After coffee and another hearty breakfast, we started hiking up the mountain along Deer Creek. It was in the mid-fifties and the sun was shining. We explored the pine-needle-padded twisting trail as it meandered through the woods. Obstacles turned into opportunities as we navigated felled trees, roots, rocks, and boulders. All sorts of fungi, moss, and lichen colored the detritus on the forest floor.

We took a break on a small island carved by a fork in the creek. Celia sat under a tree and looked at pine cones, twigs, and rocks while we enjoyed the sounds of a small waterfall tumbling into a pool.

Back down the trail and nearing our cabin, we got another taste of the rapid weather changes we’d been observing all week. Clouds began to fill in the sunny sky and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. Not quite sleet; not quite hail; what can best be described as tiny soft-packed snowballs began to drop on the final steps of our wonderful two hour morning hike.

After a being foiled in our attempt to take a well deserved nap by our rambunctious toddler, we went into Denver for our, now traditional, vacation wine-pairing-dining splurge.

The restaurant we chose was Rioja, named for a Spanish wine region.

We started off with a flight of artisan goat cheese paired with a Spanish white wine. Main course choices were: Pan-Seared Sea Scallops with Risotta and heirloom tomato-tarragon salad; and Hawaiian Blue Prawns with Crispy Pork Belly, and green papaya salad with peanut sauce. Each dish was paired with a red this time ... because we like red. Both dishes were amazing. But, dessert took the cake :-)

We ordered two desserts: a warm cashew tart, with chocolate and espresso custard, toasted cashews, and vanilla bean ice cream with Hawaiian sea salted caramel; and beignets made with sweet goat cheese and black mission fig filled pastries, and a ruby port wine reduction. These were paired with a white and a rose champagne. Best beignets we have ever had ... period. When our waiter picked up the very empty plates, I asked him if it was uncouth to lick the plates ... he said he would not tell anyone!

We also got a compliment on our "very well behaved chaperone." If only she was like that every time we went out!

One more night of wine by firelight and one more day of hiking and playing in the woods, and it was time for the long drive home. Why does the drive home always seem twice as long as the drive to your vacation? ? ?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Haiku on the Eve of the NFL Draft

Hope springs eternal for NFL fans as their favorite teams get ready to pick a new crop of players.

Especially us KC Chiefs fans, who got a big upgrade in the GM office when Clark Hunt fired King Carl Peterson and hired Patriots personnel guru Scott Pioli. Now it's time for Pioli to work some magic and bring us to the promised land!

Hope springs eternal
when Chiefs new boss makes his picks
Pioli, you rock

Who will the pick be?
Curry, O-Line, or trade down?
The suspense, it kills

Kansas City Chiefs
a fan since I was a kid
Will this be the year?

New faces, tough vets
major stadium rebuild
look out twenty ten

One for you Raiders fans out there ...

Oakland Raiders suck
till they are blue in the face
or, black and silver

And finally, a Haiku for Tony Gonzalez, traded yesterday to the Atlanta Falcons.

Tony G traded
Will miss TD crossbar dunks
Next stop, Hall of Fame

p.s. The plural of haiku is haiku ... who knew ???

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bring Your Child to Work Day

Had a great day at work volunteering for the Bring Your Child to Work Day (BYCTW). Lots of privacy and health issues prevent most hospital staff from bringing their kids into patient rooms or surgery suites, so we set up some tours and simulated events to help them get an idea of what their parents do at work.

Our theme was health and nutrition, so we geared the activities towards that: there was lots of exercise, a healthy snack workshop, a tour of radiology, chicken stitching--suture practice on the skins of chicken parts, and guest speakers included an Olympic pole vaulter and a national champion baton twirler.

I work in IT, so I found some fitness and nutrition websites for our 2nd through 5th grade guests. Not as cool as the Olympic guy, but hey, you work with what you got. The first was the MyPyramid BlastOff. The site taught kids about eating a balanced diet with a visual of a rocket blasting off with the right fuel.

The second was a popular event in the computer room. It was basically a timer that had ten activities like sit ups, hopping on one foot, and jumping jacks. The kids played it over and over and shouted out their times. It wore me out just watching them!

A handful of "adults" herded around 74 kids for the whole day. (We made jokes about cat herding through the day) Any of you who have participated in such a group activity for kids probably have your own stories for those events.

We had a rather odd coincidence involving the the color groupings we used to split the kids into four groups; red, yellow, blue, and green.

Earlier in the day, a member of the red group got a minor nosebleed. I commented on the ironic nature of the red group and blood connection to the adult who took care of the youngster. I payed dearly for this comment at the end of the day.

My group for the day was the yellow group ... please take a moment to dream up your own punchline ...

Let's just say that my yellow group payback was cleaning up after someone whose macaroni and cheese did not agree with them!!!

Before I became "married with child," I volunteered with grade school kids at Science Fairs, as a field trip chaperone, and helping at Girl Scout Badge workshops.

Our daughter is now 2-1/2, and I can't wait to volunteer for all her field trips and other fun stuff. Even in spite of the yellow group incident.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Again Daddy, Again ! ! !

Six inches of snow plus a super cool SlideWinder sled from gammy equals little baby girl's first sledding experience.

We'd been waiting all winter for a good snow, and finally got one. Time to bundle up the baby girl and head out the door.

This little daredevil had a great time going down the hill ... however ... Our little baby girl got stuck with old parents.

After too few trips down and back up the hill I was already huffing and puffing, and she was ready for more.

It probably did not help that she sat down on the sled and had me pull her back up the hill. Her little legs just did not make much progress trying to trudge through the snow.

Great fun was had by all, and then we went back inside for some hot chocolate.

We plus-forty first-time parents have a saying in our house: "She's either going to make us feel younger, or she's going to kill us."

I think this sledding outing leaned towards the latter.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This year's Martin Luther King Day carries a special meaning with the inaguration of President Barack Obama coming tomorrow.

As many TV comentators have said, the first black president is not a realization of Dr. King's dream, but it is a big step in the right direction.

Take a moment out of your day to give his "I Have a Dream" speech another listen:

And, if you would like to do your part to help build the Washington, D.C. King Memorial, you can download a search toolbar from the following link:

The toolbar installs on Internet Explorer, and every time you seach, 5 cents are donated to the building of the memorial.