Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.  Our route around the sun will bring longer days from now until June, each day with more sunlight.  The new year is filled with possibilities!  As I write this, a huge Colorado snow storm is dropping an inch an hour outside my window, covering my blue and green Christmas lights. This month has just flown by.  Here's why. 

The first week of December I spent frantically preparing the last lectures and reviews for my last week of class.  I was going to miss eight classes the next week for a conference, so I had to arrange subs and things for the students to do while I was gone.  Dave handed in his dissertation on Wednesday under the wire, which actually was a surprise for me, I didn't realize he was going to make the deadline and thought May might end up being his graduation date.  I was so proud of him, we took a night off to celebrate.  He has been working day and night for weeks on his research, and is still working on it!  He has another big deadline at the end of the month.

Friday night it snowed and Dave and I went for a walk in the snow and went to sleep.  I got a call from a good friend in the middle of the night that he had slipped and hit his head and needed someone to come get him after he got stitches and make sure he was okay during the night in case he had a concussion.  Poor guy!  I went and picked him up during one of the most beautiful snow storms ever.  He was completely fine.  In the morning Dave dropped me off at the park and ride and drove our friend home.  I flew to San Francisco with a 90 minute delay from the snow and long line for de-icing.

Sunday I had an 8:00-6:00 meeting before Dave joined me in San Francisco for a week of conference with 21,000 scientists.  My poster was right away at 8:00 on Monday.  The rest of the week was just insanity of 15-minute talks all day long from 8-6 with a lunch break plus 2,000 posters each day that one could walk through.  Each night we had dinner with friends and got in late only to do the same thing the next day.  I still had to check email, prep slides for subs, and participate in committee meetings from afar.  On Wednesday I got extremely sick with a cold that is still bothering me today.  One of my best friends in the world's dad passed away and I felt just awful for not being able to be there for her.  Ugh, the world lost an amazing man.  Thursday night we went out for Burmese food and then to the Cal Academy's Night Life where we spent a lot of time in their rain forest display.   Dave's poster was on Friday and he was a big hit.  Saturday we flew back, but on separate flights.  I was miserably sick, but still had to grade papers and write two of my final exams.  

Friday, late afternoon, we took a break and walked to the Ferry building around sunset.

I needed a walking break.  My cold was killing me!

I found a very large Christmas tree. 

This tea and gluten free coffee cake prepped me for my flight home.  I need to get my hands on more of this revolution tea!
Final exam week was beyond busy.  My grading pile just never went down because I kept getting more things to grade!  Thursday I had a chance to catch up at school.  Then Dave's parents and grandma came to stay with us Thursday for a few days to celebrate Dave's PhD graduation.  (How sweet are they to fly out for it?)  We don't have a spare room, but sleeping arrangements worked out just fine in the end.  We really enjoyed commencement on Friday where Dave's Aunt and Cousin came to join us as well.  Saturday we drove up to Estes Park for a little touristing.  The change in elevation just about made my head explode because my cold had moved to my sinuses.  Even my teeth were aching!  I finally adjusted and we enjoyed our day in Estes, then Lyons.  Sunday afternoon everyone flew out during the Packer game (first loss!).
Dave's PhD garb.  He got some extra flare for being a legacy student, in that his dad and aunt also attended his college.
A cold snap kept the snow around all month.  It made for a beautiful scene on commencement day.

By Monday night I had finally finished grading and prepping for a day-long committee meeting on Tuesday.  I woke up extremely sick and after five hours of voting on curriculum, I got to go to the doctor and get some antibiotics.  Today Dave and I went to breakfast then packed him up for two weeks in New Jersey.  I wished him a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and shed a tear as the bus pulled away.  I hate spending the holidays away from him, but we just haven't figured out how to make it work with our families 1,000 miles apart (and OUR home another 1,000 miles away).  I came home and packed for my flight tomorrow.  Dave called from the airport, his flight had a two hour delay, but he was able to get on another flight that hadn't left yet after a three hour delay.  Of course his suitcase didn't make it on the plane with him, so we'll see how that goes.  The one time he checks a free bag he switches flights!  He's in the air now.  Here in Colorado, we're supposed to get 10 inches of snow before morning.  My flight is at 3:00, but I'm sure it will be delayed.  I'm not going to imagine what I'll do if it is canceled.

Five years ago, in 2006, we had a two-footer just days before Christmas.  All of our flights were canceled and I spent a ton of money to get home in the middle of the night Christmas Eve morning.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I had a friend trying to get to MN and he tipped me off to a new flight that they had just put on the books.  Some people didn't make it out.

Here's one of the videos I took when I finally got to the airport to check in for my rescheduled flight a few days after I was supposed to fly back in 2006.

I'm sure Thursday will be stressful, but once I make it to Wisconsin, I've got 10 days of relaxation planned.  I crave sleep and I can't wait to be able to sleep in, work out, eat good food, and just catch my breath after this crazy month.  Of course I'm also excited to see my parents and brother, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends!  We all know that there is no such thing as a 10 day vacation with me, I plan on working on next semester's classes in between holidays.  There's no place like home for the holidays!  Let's hope I get there.

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy Winter Solstice!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Looking back on 2011

I love making collages of pictures that remind me of all of the neat stuff I did in a year.  I've made one of these collages for Dave and I the last two years of things we did together in 2010 and then 2011.  Of course we do lots of things without each other as well,  but I think this is a cute way to remember the fun we had together this year. 
(top left) We took a trip to Beaver Creek ski resort for a fun weekend and skied in the coldest weather I've ever experienced. 
(second from top, left) We went on the ATOC retreat to the YMCA cabins outside Estes Park and hiked with department friends.  Dave is pointing to my favorite clouds, lenticulars.
(second from bottom, left) Dave surprised me on my 29th birthday with new trekking poles and a day of snowshoeing he had planned for us at East Portal.  It was snowing so hard, and so beautifully, we barely made it back in time for birthday dinner at Pasta Jay's with friends. 
(bottom left) We climbed to the Royal Arch in Chautauqua in Boulder with friends visiting for a Phish concert. 
(Top middle) We took a few friends to the Vagabond Ranch for a weekend of backpacking, snow shoeing, skiing, sledding, and hot-tubbing.
(Middle) We went to Utah and drove to the San Rafael Swell where we hiked down several canyons.
(Middle second from bottom) While in Utah we went to Goblin Valley.
(Bottom) At home, Dave's PhD graduation, long shadows in the Utah desert
(Top, second from right) We went to Boston for Polar AMS conference and toured the entire city, including the Cheers bar. 
(going down)We camped on the Poudre.
We brewed lots of beer.
(Top right) We backpacked Needles in Utah. 
(going down on the right) We fished South Boulder Creek (and many, many more).
We went over Cottonwood pass in between camping nights on either side of the pass and visited the hot springs.
We visited Wisconsin for Dave's Grandma's 85th birthday party. 

Unfortunately, we don't have pictures from every excursion.  We just got back from San Francisco a week ago and managed to not take any pics together!  This Thursday, Dave's parents, grandma, and aunt and cousin all came for Dave's PhD graduation.  What a fun celebration!  Now we've got a good two days together before we fly to our respective home states for Christmas and New Years.  It has been a crazy month and I've had a cold for most of it. 

Here's the 2010 collage I made for us.  I can't remember if I posted it here or not!
I'm going to go left top to bottom to right, top to bottom:
We stayed with friends in a yurt in the Never Summer Mountains.  We backpacked with friends near the rainbow lakes just days before the Fourmile canyon fire.  We spent a weekend in Rocky Mountain National park with friends and dragged them on a rainy 10 mile hike to Granite Falls.  (top) We hiked in our "backyard" during one of many snow storms.  We went to NYC's Central Park after a trip to the Jersey Shore with Dave's family.  We went to Island in the Sky in Utah.  (Top) I hiked my first 14er and made it to the top of Gray's Peak!  We cut down our first Christmas tree together in Wyoming with Dave's aunt and cousin.  It was at least 11 feet tall!  Dave's Grand-dad passed away and we hosted his family for the funeral, so we took a trip up to Porter Ranch Rd, where he used to live, and walked around with the family.  (top) We hiked up to one of the glaciers that feeds our water supply.  We hiked Lathrop Trail in Island in the Sky.  We saw a moose in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

Time to finish grading! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Favorite Things

Christmas shopping is just around the corner, Oprah is off the air and Ellen has her 12 days of Christmas, but I have my favorite things, too.  (Although, I'm not going to buy them and give them away to you.)  Here are a few of my favorite things.  As you can see, I have very affordable taste and maybe you'll get some fun gift ideas.

1.  REI down booties.  During a hut trip, I drooled over my friends' pairs of these.  I got my own last year!  (Actually, I think I got them for my mom and she didn't want them.)  There are two places on my body that, if cold, make my entire body cold.  One is my lower back, the other is my feet/ankles.  These puppies keep me toasty around our house, where we like to keep the electric bill low by setting our thermostats low.  (The sale below lasts until the 28th, I believe.)

2.  A silpat.  This baby fits on a cookie sheet and allows you to not grease your pan, and not even wash your pan, just rinse off your silpat when you're done.  Besides cookies, it's great for making candy on it, rolling out pie crusts, and I just used it to cook pumpkin seeds on.  Martha Stewart has this as a part of her collection at Macy's for $25. 
3.  Instant Netflix.
I don't even know how DVR works or if people still have Tivo's, but I just wait for interesting TV shows to come out on Netflix, then stream them to my TV via our PS3.  It's also good for watching movies, but not always new releases.  For that, you might want the DVD by mail deal. For a gift idea, you can give someone a few months of Netflix.

4.  Bananagrams.  It's like scrabble, but easy.  This portable game goes with me on every trip, backpacking, camping, or flying home.  If you're into board games, a few of my favorites are Carcassonne, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan for two, Power Grid, Agricola, and Thurn and Taxis.  I think playing board games is a great way to stay sharp. 

 5.  The Help.  I'm reading this now and it's a great book! I could see any woman enjoying reading this on their winter break.

6.  Good boots.  My dad bought me some good boots a few years ago and I use these for snow shoeing and playing in the snow and walking to work.  Dave's favorite boots are on sale at REI right now.  They are super comfortable!  I tried them on!

7.  Bittman's How to Cook Everything.  This is my cooking bible.

What are a few of your favorite things? 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Puree and Gluten Free Thanksgiving Plans

Since I last posted, Dave had a successful PhD defense, and is now Dr. Dave!  We also took a trip to Wisconsin and got to see lots of Dave's and my family.  It was a lot of fun!

Believe it or not, a month after the first frost, our CSA is still delivering weekly boxes of amazing veggies.  In the last month we've gotten lots of squash and pumpkins.  This weekend, the start of fall "break," I had a chance to catch up on five loads of laundry, cleaned my house, and decided I'd better start taking care of these pumpkins.  We have three huge ones, one small one, and Dave already used a different one to make a pumpkin stout that will premier on Turkey Day.

The pumpkin stout went CRAZY and Dave had to improvise with an external air lock.  Don't mind the orange wall and the red chair.  (Yes, we have a room that is orange, and we put a red chair in it, it kind of looks like a throne.  Hey, we rent!)
Two of the pumpkins are "Cinderella" pumpkins, which are really "Rouge vif d'etampfs," which you can read about here.  One pumpkin was green, one is a deep orange.  We got the green one first, and we had another small pie pumpkin that was old, so it was time to bake these things in round one.  It took Dave's muscles and a huge butcher knife to cut the big guy open.  His meaty part was so thick!  This was definitely not a carving pumpkin!  We filled three pans with massive pieces of pumpkin.

I spooned out the baked pumpkin and pureed it in my kitchen aid food processor.  Don't be fooled, that jar is twice as big as a regular canning jar and holds 8, yes 8 cups of puree. 

I decided I could use 8 cups of pumpkin puree, but the other 8 would have to be frozen, so I made 1-cup bags and threw them in the freezer.  My kitchen is the smallest kitchen known to man.  You'd be surprised how often I use the stove top as a counter top.  The huge seeds that came from this monster are drying there on the left.  I might plant a few of these next year. 
 I think this is a good time to remind you that this was from one cinderella pumpkin and one small pie pumpkin.  I still have another, larger cinderella pumpkin, and one giant "New York Cheese" pumpkin left!  So, if you're one of my Boulder friends, and you're in need of some puree, please stop over! 

What's a girl going to do with all of this pumpkin puree?  My good friend already claimed pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving (she also belongs to a CSA and has the same problem).  It was time to get creative.  I made pumpkin fudge, and due to a massive failure of an ingredient substitute (canola buttery spread instead of butter-- hey, we were out!), I now have a huge amount of really thick candy-like jelly that might have to become a topping of some sort.  Try it yourself, the recipe is here.

Luckily, I've had a few other great suggestions.  I just bought some gluten free gingersnaps to try pumpkin cheesecake squares.  Best of all, though, one of my friends that dates all the way back to grade school loves loves loves pumpkin everything!  She just blogged about Pumpkin Risotto.  I whipped some up tonight and ate the whole thing (well, I cut the recipe down to 1 serving).  Savory pumpkin puree might be the way to go.  This was like thanksgiving in my mouth and I am so thankful that Alisa shared this recipe with the world.  Try it!   
Pumpkin Risotto.
Lastly, Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Due to my gluten-free-ness, I am making a few extra dishes to make sure I can get all of my favorites on Thanksgiving Day.  Some I'll bring to share, others I'll just bring enough for me (stuffing, dessert).  I'm making
I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving!   

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Don't forget to catch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" tonight on ABC.  I'll be flying to Fresno, CA for a quick two day conference and will miss it.  Maybe the airline will have TV? 

Speaking of spooky things, here's a few lenticular (lens) clouds from a few weeks ago.  People sometimes mistake these for UFOs when they are in their best form. 
Lenticular Clouds

Gold Nugget Squash

Another fun find from my weekly CSA veggies this fall was a gold nugget squash.  I just followed the directions on the sticker that said to fill it with applesauce and honey and bake it for an hour.  I didn't have applesauce, so I put in some apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, water, and honey.  I made some honey-water and wiped it around the edges so it didn't dry out.  We each ate a half for dessert with a spoon.  It was quite tasty!
Gold Nugget Squash

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

I made pumpkin pie smoothies last weekend.  I took the recipe from here.  It actually tasted like a pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Spaghetti Squash Three Ways

We got lots of interesting fall veggies from our CSA (community supported agriculture), including a cute pie pumpkin, a Yugoslavian finger squash, and a spaghetti squash.  Just last weekend my good friend and I were wandering the farmers market and she suggested I get one of these spaghetti squashes.  Good thing I waited until they came to me in my weekly box of veggies! 

Baked spaghetti squash
A spaghetti squash is shaped like a watermelon, but is much smaller.  When you bake it, the squash's meaty part becomes the texture of spaghetti noodles!  I cut mine in half, baked it face down in 1/2 inch of water in a casserole pan at 375 for 45 minutes, then flipped them face up for another 15 minutes of baking.  Then I  spooned out the seedy part.  With a fork, I scraped away at the inside of the squash.  It will be like spaghetti!

I threw mine in a frying pan with some butter.  I did mine three ways, one with butter and garlic, one with pesto I had in my freezer from our garden basil, and one with red sauce, which I had just made fresh using almost the last of the tomatoes from the garden (and the garden of a friend).
Spaghetti squash three ways:  butter and garlic, tomato sauce, and pesto.

Blanching garden tomatoes for my red sauce.
Pasta sauce is so much better made at home, from scratch.  It smells amazing
We both liked it!  It reminded me of the texture of thin rice noodles.  Surprisingly, it had very little squash flavor, which I am not a huge fan of anyway.  If I'd do anything different, I'd just salt it a bit more.  I wonder if you could use it in desert dishes?  This was a fun, new, gluten free find for me. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Eggplant Parm Gluten Free

Our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) gave us a cute little eggplant.  It was actually a little different in color than the standard deep purple eggplants at the grocery store, same on the inside, though.  I made eggplant parm two nights in a row, so I thought I'd share the recipe, since it is eggplant season in Colorado at least.  This little guy made enough for Dave and I, then the next night I used a regular sized one for three people and we were overly full by the end of the meal.

CSA eggplant
My Eggplant Parm Recipe:
Lots of olive oil
1 eggplant
1/2 cup gluten free flour
2 cans stewed tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
dash leaf oregano
dash salt
mozzarella (buffalo or regular)

In a pot, heat a small amount of olive oil.  Add three cloves garlic, diced.  Just before the garlic turns brown, add stewed tomatoes.  I used one small jar of tomatoes that I had canned from my garden, plus one fat can of petite diced tomatoes from the grocery store. Add a dash of oregano and salt.  Let this simmer. 

In a frying pan, begin warming a thick layer of olive oil for frying your eggplant.  Preheat your oven to 400. 

Cut your eggplant into 1/2 inch slices (thinner=better).  In a small bowl, pour 1/2 cup of jules gluten free flour and a dash of salt.  Push each eggplant slice into the flour, coating both sides.  Once the oil in your frying pan is hot and ready to fry, place your eggplant slices in the oil.  I let it fry about five minutes on both sides, or until brown.  If your pan is small, you might have to do a few batches to get all of your eggplant fried.  As you take them out, you can put them on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.  I usually have to add olive oil a few times because the eggplant really likes to soak it up. 

Take out your favorite casserole or cake pan.  I used a 9X9 for the small batch.  Ladle a layer of your tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan.  Add a layer of fried eggplant, cover with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, then more red sauce, then more eggplant, sauce, and top with cheese.  I like to create eggplant stacks, so it comes out as four, two-high stacks of eggplant. (About four slices total per person.)  Bake for 20 minutes, or until your top cheese has browned. 
Serve with garlic bread!  Dave made an amazing gluten-filled chiabata bread for himself.  I usually take a slice of Udi's, butter it, garlic salt it, put a little bit of mozzarella cheese on it and throw it in the toaster oven so it is ready with dinner.  Yum!

We also broke out a bottle of home-made mead, which is honey wine we made a year ago.  It was a fantastic combination!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Green Bean Casserole Gluten Free

I was reading Jules Gluten Free's Thanksgiving cookbook, which she gave away for free last week, and it got me thinking that I should start practicing for Thanksgiving.  Really, it means that rather than waiting until Turkey Day to enjoy the goodies, I can start now so I can perfect my recipes.  One challenging dish is the classic French's Green Bean Casserole.  A few years ago, I tried a recipe from the Food Network and not only was it a time consuming recipe, I burned the onions and over salted the whole thing.  Classic green bean casserole uses cream of mushroom soup, which usually has flour (gluten) in it.  The French's Fried Onions are also gluten filled.  

I went to Sprouts, who have 25% off all  packaged gluten free products right now and found Gluten Free Cafe Cream of Mushroom Soup.

I grabbed some French cut green beans to go with it and I was all set.

At home I threw some olive and canola oil in a frying pan so the bottom was covered.  I cut up some sweet yellow onions that came from my organic community supported agriculture farm.  I threw the onions in some milk to wet them, then tossed them in Jules Gluten Free Flour and some salt.  I put them in the frying pan and fried them until they were golden brown.

In my casserole pan, I mixed a can of cream of mushroom with two cans of green beans and threw it in the microwave because I was too hungry to wait an hour for the stuff to warm up in the oven.  When the onions were crispy, I tossed them ontop of the warm casserole and put it in the oven for 15 minutes at 350.

Sorry for the bad lighting, I couldn't find my camera, and apparently Dave's is too smart for me. 
Yum!  The properly made fried onions and authentic cream of mushroom soup really made this dish just how I remember it in my pre-gluten free days.  Eight years without proper green bean casserole made this experience positively heavenly.  I'm hungry just talking about it.  I think I will need to "practice" again soon!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Need advice on using a blog for class

As I go through the semester, I have all of these great ideas on how to improve my course for NEXT semester.  However, it's still possible I could try a few of these things this semester if I act quickly.  I'm throwing this out there in case any of you have ideas or experience with this sort of thing.
I'd like to use a wiki or a blog for my climate change course.  The wiki or blog would serve a few purposes.
  1. A place to link to readings and have a place for students to comment on the readings.
  2. A place to post summaries of class lectures/discussions
  3. A blog roll of climate change blogs
  4. A twitter feed of a few good climate change tweeters
  5. A place for student generated content.  
Let me expand on #5.  I have 30 students and they each were assigned a country, which belongs in a group with three other countries.  For example, the European Union, East Africa, the Middle East, Coastal South Asia, Large Asian Countries, Developed Countries, West Africa, and Latin America.  Each group then has four countries under its heading.  Each student is responsible for writing four papers throughout the semester on their country and then joining with their sub-group to decide on main talking points they can bring to the table for class discussions.  First, before we can get to discussions, they were assigned to write a paper and give a two minute presentation (2 slides) on the climate of the country and how it shapes that country's culture and society. 

I also want students to get a feel for other students' regions, not just their own, so I need a place where they can check out the other regions beyond our two minutes in class for each country and be able to add their comments or suggestions for peer review.

After the climate and culture assignment, they have upcoming assignments on climate change contribution, climate change impacts, and climate change mitigation and adaptation for their respective countries.  These assignments will culminate in a sort of in class United Nations discussion/debate on policy.

Okay, now you know what I want.  I imagine this colorful space where students can create their own page for their country, covering the four parts of the project.  I imagine a space where I am the center of control and can have the latest reading or announcement for them as the first thing they see, but the pictures for the countries in there peripheral view that they can click on.  (I also want those countries organized in their groups.)  I think having this be public would be fun, but not required. 

I have experience with pbworks wikis, blogging, and most commonly I just write my own html for course webpages.  I need a space where introductory level students can add material without having to code.  I want it to be pretty, welcoming, easy to navigate, students spending lots of time there because they keep finding more information to check out and comments to make.  Any thoughts?  Can I have that much control on a blog?  or does the newest post HAVE to appear on top?  A wiki is not as pretty as a blog and I think they are not as intuitive to use.  I'm about to dive into a bunch of peer reviewed literature on the topic and am hoping to find some ideas and current class blogs or wikis, but any help you have now will save me time!  If you were my student, would this whole idea of public publishing of class work freak you out?  Would it make you try harder?  I tried experimenting with this blog on how much control I have over content placement on the main page... I have no control.  Help!  What platform would be ideal?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cottonwood and Taylor Valley

The reason I'm drowning at work is because last week was exam week, plus homework due week, plus daily activities due week, plus we went camping this weekend.  Adding on to this stress was a last-minute harvest of the rest of our tomatoes and basil after a frost advisory was issued last Wednesday night.  Anyway, we left Friday around 4:00 (just in time to get stuck in traffic in Golden) and got back Sunday evening.  It was my first meeting-less Friday, so we decided to take advantage.  We drove to Buena Vista, CO and decided on the Cottonwood Hot Springs for night one.  For $70 we got a tent site, bathroom and shower access, and most importantly, access to the hot springs!   

The aspens were turning colors and it was such a beautiful drive as we continued Saturday morning up Cottonwood Pass after some bacon and eggs for breakfast.
Once I find my camera in this mess I like to call home, I will share with you some sunset pics I took, but until then, here's the pics off of Dave's camera (but I took most of them).
Our tent spot for Friday night at Cottonwood Hot Springs.  The gazebo-type setup was very odd, but it worked.  We were able to have a campfire inside this enclosure and our tent fit in there as well.  It was right next to a coy (sp?) pond and the river, which was so loud, we had trouble hearing each other, much less our neighbors. 

We stayed here Friday night.  Left of the building is a series of five outdoor hot spring pools, a sauna, and a shower.  It was fun!  We tried out the different pools from warm to hot in between dinner and smores Friday night around 10pm.

Dave is pretending to be excited about his gluten free pepperoni spaghetti made from stewed tomatoes from our garden.  Nice face.

On Saturday, Dave fished the Arkansas between Buena Vista and Leadville.  I graded and got some sun.
We decided on camping another night, rather than backpack the sand dunes since the trees were so beautiful.  We went to the grocery store and got some chow for dinner since all we had left was backpacking food, grabbed lunch from my favorite Buena Vista old fashioned burger joint/ice cream shop, then were on our way.  I hate that I'm an ice cream shop lover.  It's not good for my figure! 

Top of Cottonwood Pass, the Atlantic Side.

Top of Cottonwood Pass the Pacific Side.

Standard travel pic... Dave with camera in hand, sunglasses, camping hats.

The other side of the pass was nasty.  The road was dirt and had little wash outs, bumps, pot holes, all while descending from 12,126 feet in a top heavy SUV.  I just about lost my breakfast.

We arrived at "Lakeview Campground" to find this sweet spot still empty.  The camp hosts were from WI and gave us dibs on their fishing spot at the reservoir.
Taylor Valley, Taylor Reservoir in the background and some sweet mountain range.  Dave is getting camp set up.  I'm always in charge of laying out sleeping pads, bags, and pillows while Dave runs the stove/fire.
Oops!  I forgot my fishing pole at home.  Dave had his fly fishing pole, but it was not ideal for the reservoir.  No fish for us.
Taylor Valley view at sunset.
 Shortly after fishing, we made kielbasa for dinner with corn on the cob and hot coco.  I had luckily brought along my ski jacket.  I wore that, my winter hat, gloves, a hoodie, pajama pants plus jeans, and socks to bed.  I was so bulky I could barely zip up my mummy bag that I had pre-warmed with boiling water in a water bottle.  I was cold! 

My hot springs-soaked towel had been left out to dry and we woke up to frost over it and other surfaces.  No wonder I had been so cold!

Turns out, just below the dam to the reservoir were hundreds of HUGE fish!  They would jump five feet out of the air and they were visibly everywhere in the river.  Dave and the rest of the world tried to catch them, but no one got a bite!  I swear if we had a net we could have just netted five at once.  It was bizarre.  I got some reading and paper grading done while Dave fished.
Later, downstream, Dave yelled up to me that he finally caught one.  I was grading, again.  What a prize winner!  Nice job, hun!  ;)

There was no way I was going back over Cottonwood Pass to get home, so we took the long way through Gunnison, then over Monarch Pass and up 285.  Here's a vew from the top.

Aspens lining the way home. 
The trip was lovely, but Monday was brutal, I had a schmoozing dinner Monday night, and I'm just now able to catch my breath.  Time to go clean up a bit!  I might take the night off of grading just so I don't loose my mind.  My four Exam 2's will be all multiple choice! And no more homework, ever!  ;)