11–19 of 19 entries from the month of: February 2011


February 13th

{Entry 6: A week of love. Because my headstone will never read, “We Had No Idea How She Felt.”}



I got in trouble last year for tweeting that I “adored” a co-worker. It made another co-worker uncomfortable and it made me feel like a giant idiot. I don’t know that I’ve ever been so embarrassed than being (politely) scolded for something I’d written on the web.

And of all things I could have said.

I adore much and many. (Scolding, not so much) Clean sheets. Laundry on the line that smells of sunshine. Tomatoes warm from the garden. Watching friends’ dogs play with glee. French vanilla ice cream. A tart, icy cold margarita that isn’t too sweet. Great Mexican food. Foreign films at Camelview. Tory Burch flats. Sweatpants on the weekends. Everything bagels with two hours to read in the sun on the patio to enjoy. Shakira. Sam Cooke. Adele. Vampire Weekend. Rihanna. Jay Z. Gwen Paltrow and her crazy lifestyle blog. Pearls. Javier Bardem. An A-line skirt. Betty Draper’s wardrobe. Don Draper’s face. Joan’s attitude. Men who order a martini like they own the world.

Another thing I truly adore is my monthly chance to bowl. Horrifically and hilariously, the Pre-Emptive Strikes struck again this weekend. The dude still abides.

And as they say, “Better to have tweeted your adoration and been chastised than never to have tweeted at all.” Or something like that.


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Heart Beat

February 12th

{Entry 5: A week of love. Because my headstone will never read, “We Had No Idea How She Felt.”}


I love sports. I’ve always have, but more so as an adult. I love entering these small community races to remind myself to simply show the best of me. It reminds my over-competitve Type A self to chill out and enjoy life, no matter what place you finish.

Today’s Skirt Chaser in Tempe was 5,000 20-30 somethings dressed in drag, skirts, short shorts and everything in between. Girls got a three minute head start. I wore a running skirt, giant earrings and lip gloss. The boys caught me soon enough. The celebration (and entry fee) afterward included burritos and beer.

Spending time with friends outside, running around, being silly is just about as great as life gets.


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February 11th

{Entry 4: A week of love. Because my headstone will never read, “We Had No Idea How She Felt.”}

A few things I love

“We fail more often by timidity than by over-daring.”

– David Grayson

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February 10th

to mexico we go

Gallo Blanco

{Entry 3: A week of love. Because my headstone will never read, “We Had No Idea How She Felt.”}

Gallo Blanco

I love Mexico. Today’s entry is entirely dedicated to my love of all things Mexican. Mariachi music? It’s my equivalent of champagne. You can’t have either without feeling like it is a celebration. Huevos rancheros at Gallo Blanco? One of the best meals in Phoenix. So very, very good. The beach in Cancun with my family? The beach in Puerto Vallarta with one of my best friends? The fall retreat the Arizona gang has taken several times to play cards, swim and enjoy in the local beverage? The families that hosted me in Torreon? The love of family, the boldness of color and flavor, the worship of beauty — all things I adore about la preciosa Mexico.

These are a people who celebrate with piñatas. PIÑATAS. You get to whack something and are rewarded with candy!

Gallo Blanco

I read about Mexico today with a broken heart. The murders in Juarez. The drug cartels taking over every bit of government with their corruption and influence. The beaches washed away by storms.

I also know that an Aztecan warrior lives within these people and it is a nation that will rise to glory again. Fundamentally, the people of Mexico are not corrupt. They are being held captive. A mi querido Mexico, coraje!


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Bright! Shiny! SQUIRREL!

February 9th

COAK: knitting roll

{Entry 2: A week of love. Because my headstone will never read, “We Had No Idea How She Felt.”}

Squirrel! has become a new code word in our group for — “ooh, look! Something bright and shiny and I can’t focus for more than two seconds. Wait? Is someone texting me?” It comes from “Up” where the sweet dog Doug can’t focus to save his life when he thinks of his most favorite thing to chase. “My name is Doug and I love you and I just met you!”

What is your favorite thing to chase?

I can be damn stubborn and focused when I want to, but there is nothing like a bright, shiny NEW PROJECT to get me squirrely. I have a wedding quilt sitting on my sewing table that has been in pieces since August. I see the recipients nearly every week and nearly every week I look at the floor before looking at them in the eye because I’ve been hiking, reading, knitting, blogging — just about anything but finishing their quilt. Instead, I’m over the moon excited to create a bunch of new things!

pink scraps

On my squirrel list:

The new Amy Butler clutch. I need this pattern. And I need to make this in gorgeous fabrics for a few of my girlfriends. Right? So, so pretty.

A dating memoir. Never mind I’ve got a lengthy list of edits that will need to be made on Novel 1 for a third (and final?) printing. Or that I’m well into writing the second novel, which was truly gaining momentum when I paid attention to it daily in Malawi. No. What I should be doing is chasing the NEW PROJECT. Having talked about a dating memoir for years over happy hours and dinner parties, watching my friends squirm with delight and anguish. I finally sat down last week to hash out an outline. While it makes more sense to continue with Novel 2, the memoir is so painfully funny and easy to write by comparison. And so, I plod forward with this squirrel.

Never mind that I have Meg’s Christmas present still on my knitting needles, only one skein in (with six remaining. Oy). No! What I should be focused on is this gorgeous pattern by my beautiful friend Kirsten. Really. I need to make one of these. And maybe two. While I’m at it, I’d love one of these. Wouldn’t that be perfect to wear in Colorado?

Colorado. The latest on the bright and shiny list. Still working on it. Getting closer every day to my little country house with a yard full of chickens, a porch full of dog, a greenhouse full of veggies, a pantry full of canned goodness and my sweet Colorado family in my daily life.

Wishing you a day of squirrel, where you can let your focus slide for a moment and enjoy whatever grabs your heart in the moment. Really, wouldn’t life be better if we all were a little more like Doug?


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My name is Kelli + I am Sentimental

February 8th

Sacred Rim Hike

{Entry 1: A week of love. Because my headstone will never read, “We Had No Idea How She Felt.”}

While running this morning with my trusty sidekick Adam, we did as we do: pile out of our cars, complain about the cold, stuff our hands in our pockets, stretch our calves, look to the left at the short path and then to the right at the long path, look to each other with “well, you decide” eyes and went for it. Huffing and puffing down the long route — which isn’t actually very long — we muttered little for the first few minutes. Warming up, our brains slowly kicked into gear, and our hands wiggled out of our pockets, pumping mightily at our sides.

Past the park, along the path in front of the new office buildings and up the hill before crossing the bridge, we ran in silence. Our feet in unison thumping along the path, our breath both a little too ragged from a long, over-indulgent weekend. Past the missing person’s poster sign (for the body they found in the lake last week), up the small hill and over the bridge, we watched as two solo kayakers paddled along. Down the other side of the bridge, through the darkest and scariest part of the winter running routine — coincidentally where it also smells rancid, adding to the Hollywood spooky effect — and up to sidewalk along the other side of the lake, we plodded.

Golfing with the boys

I love this man for a thousand reasons.  Namely, I love that he is always there. Under any circumstance when I’ve ever needed him — be it in a puddle of tears after a break up, at the airport with trunk full of luggage, at a volunteer event with an extra shovel in hand, during “let’s repaint my condo” weekend, with a cold glass of white wine when I’ve had a miserable week, or at the lake for a moment of solidarity in therapeutic running — he is there. And for that rare occasion when he isn’t there, he feels so bad about missing out,  it’s hard to watch.

This morning was no different. There we were, sucking wind and kvetching for the 10,000th time how we both “really, really, really need to start eating better because holy mother of God these runs are so much more difficult when we are fat and hungover” when I realized that it’s these little routines that have painted such a sweet friendship, which most days seems more like family. He and Matty are these tyrant younger brothers who make me laugh harder than I knew possible.

Golfing with the boys

I especially appreciate that when I’m being too hard on myself, he’s also the first to pipe up and say, “Dude. This is no-guilt weekend/Funday Sunday/any random Tuesday. Check your obsessive compulsive at the door and grab me a beer while you’re at it.”

My life is better because he, his family and his gorgeous fiancee Kim are very much a part of it. Family, come to find out, is something you can create for yourself too.


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Books + Shoes

February 7th

new release

Have you guys seen the hoarder television shows? They make me itchy. I cannot imagine living with — nor feeling like I need — so much stuff. It makes me ache a bit for those profiled; you can tell it isn’t about the physical stuff, so much as something emotional that cracked long ago.

That said, there are two things I would hoard. Books and shoes.

I have more books than I care to admit. They are hidden under my bed, in the kitchen, stacked high on shelves in Matty’s room, in boxes at my parent’s house in Texas, in my patio storage unit and over flowing a bookshelf at work. There are unhealthier things to collect, but still. In an attempt to reel this little obsession in, I’m not buying books. (Unless otherwise required for book club, assuming they aren’t available at the library.)

These fit

As for the shoes, no promises. (I mean really, these are just so pretty. And these would be great for work. Or the gym. Sigh.)

I read a couple new books this week worth mentioning.

A Supremely Bad Idea by Luke Dempsey is the story of three friends who bird. The true tale of their adventures in spotting birds and being a part of the “birding” community is snort-laugh funny. Dempsey is British and the book is written with this dry, sarcastic undertone that didn’t wear me out. The section on their adventures in south eastern Arizona was particularly sweet to read.

The thoughtful prose  made me want to pick up a pair of binoculars for the first time in my life and go look to the heavens.

“The violet-crowned hummingbird beat its wings around 34 times. It’s a number to boggle the mind; I can’t even conceive of doing anything 34 times every second. This felt like the most salient fact about hte world that I could muster, right then. And many times since. When I squeeze onto a train in Manhattan, or when I’m stuck in traffic getting out of Manhattan, or when something is screaming at me on the phone about a tiny, tiny thing, more often than not what comes to mind is this fact: somewhere in southeast Arizona, a bird is beating its wings 34 times a second. It does so to enable itself to extract much-neede sustenance from Mrs. Paton’s feeders, or from flowers, whichever it can find. As we pave over the flowers, the commitment of citizen birders like Mrs. Paton, just like that of er husband before her, will becom eeven more critical. There on Pennsylvania Avenue — the irony of the address was not lost on me — Marion Paton’s actions were so selfless as to be a manifestation of the good, and seemed a fitting punctuation to the magic that was this corner of America. We’d come expecting rare birds, but we’d found rare people too.”

Three out of five bananas — I particularly enjoyed this having sat with an American birder on safari. Bob worked for the World Bank and was in Malawi to assess a large grant proposal to build a new damn. He was one of the most peculiar people I’ve met because the baby elephants did nothing for him. But the birds! The man had a giant birding book in his fanny pack and he whipped that sucker out to cross off several “life birds” on our brief trip. Bob fit into this story well.

The second book — The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan — is a piece of art. It is so well done, I stopped half-way through reading and immediately purchased three copies online to give as Valentine’s gifts. It is a love story told through short entries that are alphabetized like a dictionary. You can read the entries independently and be fulfilled. Reading the book from cover to cover provides an entirely different tale and is such a treat.

One of my favorite entries:

“Obstinate, adj.

Sometimes it becomes a contest: Which is more stubborn, the love or the two arguing people caught within it?”

Five out of five bananas, absoloodle.

Thanks to Matty’s great return to the desert yesterday afternoon, I’m now enjoying The Delta. He picked it up for me in South Africa en route. So glad the African is home. Listening to him and Adam catch up yesterday was like a sweet family reunion. Those two boys were meant to be friends.


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What’s Not to Love?

February 6th

Heart cupcakes for delivery

That dreaded holiday is upon us when babies with bows and arrows descend from the heavens to send all first world consumers into a fit of bad jewelry (with stones harvested from brutal child labor in Africa), flowers (harvested by children in Ecuadorian factories) and missed expectations (set from childhood fantasies created by Walt Disney. )


How’s that for a cynical take at St. Valentine?

{Don’t stop reading. It gets decidedly sweeter in the next paragraph.}

beautiful pink rose

You have options. Valentines can either be a commercial day full of fake platitudes. A day of expensive gifts. A day that goes unrecognized. A day where you take 2 minutes to call your grandmas to say “I love you!” A day where you sit down with your toddlers and let them finger paint with delight because that is what they love to do, even if it is a pain to clean. A day when you can go out to eat and roll your eyes at all of those silly couples madly in love. A day when you can get sporting tickets and hope to be on the jumbotron for the kissing couples moment.

Heart cookie

What will it be?

Mother's Day in China Town

You know what my choice is. Last year I did the great Valentine brownie bake off and spoiled my friends. This year, I’m bound to show my love in handwritten notes, baked goods and mixed CDs. In doing so, I realize this is about me sharing my love — not about it being reciprocal.

feb12 017

Plus, homemade brownies and chocolate cake made even those cynical “VALENTINES IS A COMMERCIAL MADE UP HALLMARK HOLIDAY” folk smile and say thank you. (And, perhaps, even feel a touch loved.)

For those looking for a blingy Valentine’s shopping guide — a few favorites (without exploited children!):

– in gray or black, stunning

-hilarious and fun stationery

-Frida-approved quirky jewelry

-A book you’ll love

-A movie you’ll love


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So You Want to Safari?

February 2nd


I’ve been asked a hundred times what the best part of my African travels is. Well, without an hour of your time, I’ll simply say safari. In Africa, I love the people,  work,  food, hiking, sights, smells, etc. But safari brings all of these together (minus the working, but hey! you are on vacation!)

On my most recent trip, I got to know a friend of Matt’s named Michael, or “Skeg.” Skeg is one of the funniest men I’ve ever met. Truly, his ability to make others laugh rivals few. He is laid back, knowledgeable and a simply a lot of fun. He recently started Malawian Style — a safari and tour company of the beautiful country.

The cottage

His website says it so much better than I can, but if you are ever interested in seeing the very best of Malawi — consider Skeg. His tours hit the most gorgeous spots and his ability to tell a good story, find a great restaurant and find the best spot to snorkel in Lake Malawi make the trip alone worthwhile.

And if you need sold on Malawi, well. May I suggest a quick tour of these photos? Or this quick film.


P.S. Also? I receive no kickback for such accolades. I simply love Skeg and the work he is doing. And Africa. And the thought of more friends and family falling head over heels for this spectacular place.

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