There is a life I want to lead, a person I want to be, and there is reality. The two seem to be growing farther apart, which has my inner perfectionist freaking out and ripping things off the walls. So to speak.

New Year Resolve

Part of this blue weather can be explained on my recent dose of Phoenix sun. In Arizona, my calendar is full. I’m surrounded by friends who love me enough to shake me when I’m being ridiculous. And of course this time of year, the weather was glorious. Nelson pranced around the park as if to say, “DUDE! NO SNOW!”

He’s eloquent that way.

New Year Resolve

This holiday was miserable for my family. Truly, painfully miserable. My grandparents aren’t doing well and the stress of their on-going health issues made my parents sorrowful and despondent. Seeing my dad this sad shakes me. Knowing there isn’t a damn thing I can do fills me with useless, bitter rage. My mom’s sadness comes out as frustration. Pair all of this heavy emotion with a freak winter storm that kept my parents holed up in a cheap motel en route to Tucson, delaying their arrival by more than a day, and you can imagine how fun Santa’s arrival was.

New Year Resolve

The person I want to be would have wrapped my arms around my parents and told them how very sorry I am they are at this point in life. That watching their parents age and be sick must be so hard. That their sadness was my sadness and it was a pity our time together — one of two times a year we typically see each other — would not be ruined by the circumstances.

New Year Resolve

The person I am moped and played martyr. Once again, the only grandchild to show up for the holiday for either set of grandparents. Once again, the responsible one. Once again, the one who doesn’t run away from the sorrow of the situation, but doesn’t know how to deal with it anymore than anyone else. Because I’m not unbiased. I too am watching those I love slowly, painfully decline. I don’t know how to comfort my parents any more than I know how to help myself.

I do know the ways I have been trying to cope aren’t working. There is much to change in 2012.



2011 will always be known as the year of Willie Nelson Mandela. Granted, there were a few other monsters crossed off the bucket list, but none of those wake me up each morning with a smile and a wagging pom pom tail screaming, “TODAY IS GOING TO BE THE BEST DAY EVER! CAN I GO OUTSIDE NOW?”

A few of my favorite photos from the year, including too many of the prized pup:


A year that begins in Africa can be nothing short of magical; 2011 didn’t disappoint.

Sunday Funday


Cody, Gram, Me

The Maniacs!

Donk Runs


Ben Avery Shooting Range



The gang

Mammoth hike


Kitchen table


My new amazing boots

Colleen\'s visit


German Fest

The ever gorgeous bride

Mama + Papa


Min + Bec

Rafting Clear Creek

Cody + Raj

Halloween 2011

Halloween 2011

Broncos vs. Chargers 10-9-11

New hat for Duda

First Snow

Holy crikes. That’s how you do a year right. Thank you 2011! (I hear your younger sister 2012 brings great promise.)




Is it weird I made one sock monkey for Christmas — and fairly haphazardly at that, considering my “first” of any sewing project is bound to be wonky — and it made me want to make one for each of my friends, only customized?


Imagine tiny outfits and props. Embroidered details. Monograms.

Then again, who wouldn’t want a monkey custom made for them?






















I traveled early to Phoenix for the holidays to see Kim graduate from nursing school. And the girl didn’t disappoint. In fact, she was one of a few in her class honored, and the only one to receive a leadership award.

Kim graduates!

Needless to say, her fan club went bananas crazy with pride, including ringing a cowbell. She had rows of people screaming like mad for her and every yelp was well deserved.

Kim graduates!

Because if you are going to have a nurse in the family, let it be a super smart one who can lead!

Kim graduates!

And then, because this is Adam and Kim, after way too much pizza and libations — we bowled:

Kim graduates!

Yep. She’s even gorgeous bowling. Smart and gorgeous. I know. 

Kim graduates!

So damn proud of her!


{H4} Dog Cookies

Nelson wanted to get into the spirit this year, whipping up some easy dog cookies for his friends in the neighborhood:

H4: Peanut butter dog treats

His peanut butter dog treat recipe was super simple to bake.

H4: Peanut butter dog treats

He even stamped them with a tiny paw stamp — although it isn’t so easy to see.

H4: Peanut butter dog treats

H4: Peanut butter dog treats

I’m pretty sure his friends next door would have preferred tiny barrels of bourbon in this chilly weather. Next year.

Love of my life

When he isn’t chasing squirrels (who could just hibernate already. Please.), sniffing butts at the park, or being attacked by mean dogs with stupid owners, he’s watching me run around like a Christmas crafting maniac baking.


Ignite Boulder 17

A few weeks ago I spoke at Ignite Boulder 17. My spark was ” V is for Victory Gardens.”

The more I volunteer with hunger organizations, the more I realize this is a policy not supply issue. Rather than tackling the economic and political reasons causing hunger in the US, I am focusing on what individuals can do to pitch in. Planting a garden to supplement your neighborhood food bank’s shelves is one easy way to help feed hungry people good food. If you need help getting your garden started, or finding a local community garden or food bank where your energies would be much appreciated, let me know. I’ll do whatever I can.

As for Ignite Boulder — my platitudes are sincere: a thoughtful team of wacky and creative folk who put this event together. They should be applauded for their community-mindedness and their ability to pack a theater. 850 people, 15 presenters (or so) and oh, so much fun. A great experience!


{H4} Recipe: Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies

Cosby Sweater Party Awesomeness

What’s that? You are going to a Cosby sweater holiday party with your bestie BJ and you don’t have anything to take to the potluck? Looking around the kitchen you notice way, way too many left over pretzel pieces from your other holiday exploits. And so the conversation goes a bit like this:

“Hmmm. I need to bring a dessert. I’ve got pretzels. I love brownies. Safe to say, nothing bad can come of this.”

H4: Recipe: Pretzel crust brownies

In fact, these were rather delicious. For those who enjoy the sweet and salty combination, I’d go so far as saying they were a delight. An easy chicken fried rice, goulash, gumbo, kitchen left-overs inspired dessert:

Pretzel Peanut Butter Brownies


2 cups broken pretzel pieces

1 cup peanut butter, warm + melty

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt (Sprinkle the top with kosher salt for a kick when you pull it out of the oven)

1 cup unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups of dark chocolate chips, melty

1 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

6 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter/spray a casserole dish. Place pretzel pieces at bottom of dish. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Melt butter. Add chocolate chips and peanut butter until mixed well. Slowly add sugars and mix until no longer grainy. In a third bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir just until combined. Add chocolate mixture. Pour batter over pretzels. Bake for 40-45 minutes. These are better under vs. over cooked, so be mindful of checking them every few minutes after 35 minutes. Let cool. Enjoy!

Pudding pop shots

{But of course, the real winner of a dessert at the Cosby party were the pudding pop shots. Wowzers!}


{H4} Fail

Look, I’m only human. I make decisions sometimes that can only be explained by an overdose of Christmas spirit and a lack of common sense. And oh, my new venti espresso early morning habit isn’t doing a thing to improve either — I just do them faster. Such results can be great (see sweater knitting progress) or horrifically, hilariously bad.

H4: Fail

Case in point. This morning I was outside spray painting at 8 am. What would I be tagging, especially so early? Wearing tennis shoes and my pajamas? In the snow? Salsa lids. Logically. 

H4: Fail

Lessons learned: spray paint and snow don’t mix. Dogs like to drag off spray painted projects into the snow and bury them, which can be a total bitch to find without a metal detector. Lavender bath salts in a salsa jar is an absurd idea. Not even cute ribbon can make this spicy project tolerable.

Total fail.

Then again, ability to crack myself up at how bad things can end up? For certain.

Fear not Grinches! I have other ideas up my little jammie sleeve. Onward!


{H4} Recipe: Yoga Pretzels


Yogi Pretzels

I’ve been doing a lot of yoga lately. A ridiculous amount, really. Someone once said, “When in doubt, take more yoga.” So be it. I’ve even had one or two of those Elizabeth Gilbert moments toward the end of practice when I’m in savasana and tears are pouring down my face.

Yogi Pretzels

Why, hello emotion I’d completely forgotten. So glad you’ve arrived at this very public moment. 

Yogi Pretzels

I got myself into a pickle last year with my church when I wrote a note to the congregation’s national magazine defending yoga as part of my practice as a Christian. Let’s be honest — if there are two things in this world that I’ll never simply “be,” it’s a Christian and and a yogi. I’ll always be practicing — each day with a new twist and turn. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it blows your mind and pumps your system full of so many endorphins, you run outside sweaty, exhausted and completely oblivious to snowy weather.

Yogi Pretzels

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying yoga is a great as God. I’m saying God is so awesome, He gave us ways to connect with the holy spirit — if we so choose. For me, one of those is yoga. Deep in the pigeon pose when I feel like my hiney is en feugo and it is all I can do to take one more breath to stay in the stretch, with sweat pouring down my brow, and then BAM. Grace. Everything releases. My muscles stop spasming. My eyes stop twitching. My breath flows. My heart sings. Doves release and Prince comes out of a cloud to sing one of my favorite songs.

Yogi Pretzels

Okay. Maybe not the last part. But I can say regularly practicing yoga (and my faith) means there are days I grind my teeth to get through it and there are others when I feel like I’m soaring. It’s effortless. I walk away feeling like my life is full of meaning, and this yoga/faith practice has something to do with it.

IMG_0742Yogi Pretzels

What does a yoga girl give as a holiday present? Pretzels, natch. What? It can’t all be symbolic.

Fold yourself into this recipe and enjoy. It’s simple, elegant and a great holiday treat. For the yogis, the Christians, and everyone in your life who is still practicing.

Yoga Pretzels


1 bag of chocolate chips — the better quality chocolate, well — the better.

1 tablespoon of shortening

1 bag of giant salty pretzels

Toppings of your choice. I went with coconut. And made a “Mexican spice” batch where I added a dash of cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne.

Directions: Melt the chocolate in the microwave with the shortening. Stir every 20 seconds or so. Remove while the chocolate is still a bit chunky. Stir until smooth. Add spices if desired. Dip pretzel by pretzel in the chocolate, stopping to dunk in your topping if you so desire. (Peanuts, kosher salt, sprinkles, bacon) Place on a cookie sheet covered in tin foil. Freeze for 30 minutes. Enjoy!