Saturday, July 23, 2011

Birthday Boy!

Justin Bieber and me.  July 2011
Happy Birthday, Dave! (Dave is the least likely person to read my blog or go on Facebook, but I'm putting it out there anyway.)  Dave is a whopping 27 years old today. 

On my (29th) birthday back in February, Dave surprised me by waking me up early, giving me trekking poles as a gift, and packing me in the car with our snowshoes.  He had a day of snowshoeing in the mountains planned for us.  It was snowing so beautifully, we really had a great time and barely made it home in time for dinner and drinks with friends.  Here's a picture of Dave in his goofball hat on MY birthday.  

My birthday, 2011.  Snowshoeing near Moffat Tunnel.  Nice hat!
For Dave's birthday we have a fun day planned that involves watching the Tour, listening to some live tunes, compliments of a band member of String Cheese Incident, tasting lots of different types of beer, hanging with good friends, and even attending a portion of a wedding.  Plus, he just arrived back into town after two weeks away!  My gift for him totally won't come via UPS until Monday.  Shoot!  We'll all just have to wait patiently.  (I think I'm the most impatient in this situation.) 

"Crack Canyon!"
Happy Birthday, hun!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gluten Free Rice Krispies mean...

...gluten free Rice Krispie treats!!!!!!!!!  Dave's mom found gluten free Rice Krispies at the store in New Jersey, so the first chance I got, I ran down to the grocery store and, on the shelf above the regular Rice Krispies were gluten free Rice Krispies!  Thank you, Kelloggs!  The funny thing is that they advertise it as containing brown rice, as if regular rice wasn't gluten free.  It was the malt flavoring that ruined it for us!  I would like to point out that I just paid $5.49 for this box of cereal, but the regular box was on sale for $1.99.  For real, but at least now I can have breakfast with Sir Snap, Mr. Crackle, and Dr. Pop every day! 

I ran over to the baking aisle and grabbed a bag of marshmallows and I just ate my first Rice Krispie treat since 2003!  It was everything I remember it being.  It's like my childhood in a little snack.  In fact, the taste brought back a very specific memory of O.M. practice after school in 4th grade and every time Angie was in charge of treats, her mom would make us a batch of these babies. 

I am in heaven.  Actually, I'm a little freaked out that I can't control myself and might eat half of the pan before Dave gets home from work. 

I would like to point out the fact that General Mills has been on board with this for quite some time and they have their own line of delicious gluten free options.  The Honey Nut Chex is my candy, the Rice Chex is perfect for puppy chow (chocolate, peanut butter, butter, powder sugar amazingness) and making your own chex mix at home.  I'm also a huge fan of the Cinnamon Chex in milk.  On any given day, you can find one of these on my pantry shelf and one in my office.  In fact, sometimes I make these my breakfast AND lunch when I forget a real lunch and can't get away to eat.  

I do, however, have one wish that some day, some how, I can eat Lucky Charms again.  General Mills, have you considered packaging just the yummy marshmallows that come in the Lucky Charms?  Because I could mix those with the Rice Krispies and be content for the rest of my life!  I'd also probably be really, really fat, or maybe just energized for the day?  

Until then, I will be chowing down on expensive, but tasty Rice Krispie treats!  Hurray for Kelloggs!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another cloud

July 1?, 2011.  I love how this cumulus cloud has its own shadow on the cloud behind it. 
























Not much new to report here, but I am excited for my Thursday-Sunday and can't wait to tell you about it, assuming everything goes as planned.  Part of the planned coolness depends on a package arriving on Saturday via UPS.  We both know it will be late and show up on Monday, right?  I guess if that's the case, the fun will just be a little stretched out.  Still, I'm excited for the possibility that everything might fall into place. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Basil time

I have about ten basil bushes and I realized that some of them started flowering.  Oops!  I did a little youtubing of basil harvesting videos and they taught me how to pinch off the flowers so the plant doesn't stop producing basil leaves.  Then it showed how to pinch off stems that are getting long to promote branching.  I think if I do this regularly, I should have a constant supply of basil from now until September.  While "pruning" them, I gathered enough for a batch of pesto.  I usually buy pine nuts for my pesto, but realized it was getting too expensive so I switched to roasted soy nuts.  These taste good, but are a bit drier than I'm used to.  Maybe some more oil would help for next time. I also roasted my garlic to avoid killer garlic breath.  I'm super stoked about using my own basil because in the past, I've spent $5 on basil at the store for one batch. 

Too bad there's no tomatoes ripe yet, or I could start doing capreses.  I will be patient, though!

My tomato bushes are infested with red aphids and despite my best efforts to power blast them off my plants with the hose and squish them with my gloves, they continue to reproduce.  I'm hoping that the last 4 days of 90+ degree weather has weighed on their population and they will die off naturally soon.

This week from the CSA I finally got something besides greens!  I got baby salad greens, spinach, butter lettuce, kale, rhubarb, broccoli, baby beets, snow peas, and a bonus 1/2 doz eggs. Note that your eggs can be low in cholesterol if your chickens are properly fed.  It's so worth splurging for the nice eggs. 

I made some peach rhubarb jam that is quite good and I started eating "Italian salads" where I use any lettuce, put shredded Italian cheeses on top, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and Italian dressing.  It's helping me get through things more quickly because it is so tasty.  I have also been doing quinoa stir fries.  Whatever  veggies I have around, plus CSA veggies like pea pods, spinach, broccoli, and green onions, and even my own podless peas from my own garden.  As soon as I get a moment where it's not more than 80 degrees in my place, I plan on making some glazed baby beets and kale chips.

This coming week I'll get rhubarb, kohlrabi, spinach, green onions, lettuce, green garlic stems, broccoli, cylindra beets, and snow peas.  I'm going to have to be very diligent these next few days to put a dent in last week's veggies since I'm all by my lonesome and still have more greens left than I care to admit.  

Any kohlrabi suggestions?  I've got a recipe for hash-brown style kohlrabi and another for kohlrabi coleslaw, both of which sound right up my alley.   I might have to dive into the recipe books first, though. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Oh my butterfingers!

I tried this recipe for home made butter finger candy and they are pretty good!  I think I'd use semi-sweet chocolate in the future instead of bittersweet and use more of it.  Be sure you have a candy thermometer before you get started.  One note is that if you are trying this at altitude (mile high), be sure to reduce your sugar temp to 280 (or slightly lower) rather than 290.  I burned my first batch because my thermometer wasn't getting a reading since the liquid was so shallow.  Oops!   The blogger suggests freezing it to put it on ice cream and I might have to, either that or give some away.  I do this a lot.  I have a craving, fulfill it, then have a lot of leftovers.  Ah well.

 The texture is very similar to a real Butterfinger in that it's crunchy and gets stuck in your teeth!  I'd err on the side of lower sugar temps to make mine slightly softer next time.  I also threw some powder sugar on mine to sweeten up the dark chocolate.  The whole thing took about a half an hour even with my first oops.  Butterfingers are naturally gluten free, no special ingredients required.  Butterfingers and Cheetos are two things I can get from a vending machine that are gluten free.  And that's exactly why I need to be sure to bring a lunch with me every day or I might get myself into trouble!

My very own home made butter finger candy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Flash Flooding July 13 in Boulder and Fourmile Canyon

Last night, some of the worst fears came true for the Fourmile Canyon and Boulder.  I would argue that it could be worse, the storms they got could have been bigger, more stationary, and more pleantiful, but apparently what they got was enough to do some big damage.  This is particularly disturbing because this monsoon season isn't over yet and today could bring more problems for the area, depending on the placement of the storms.  Here's a collection of information I put together from the events.

Wednesday evening a very intense thunderstorm dropped large amounts of rain over the fourmile burn area.  Here's the text from the NWS's flash flood warning:
...A FLASH FLOOD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 915 PM MDT FOR
CENTRAL BOULDER COUNTY...

AT 703 PM MDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED VERY
HEAVY RAIN FROM A THUNDERSTORM NEAR SUNSHINE...OR ABOUT 32 MILES
NORTHWEST OF DENVER. THIS STORM WAS MOVING NORTHEAST AT 15 MPH...
AND HEAVY RAIN WILL END BY 720 PM.

AUTOMATED RAIN GAUGES AND WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED BETWEEN FOUR
TENTHS AND 1.18 INCHES OF RAINFALL IN THE FOURMILE BURN AREA.  THE
HEAVIEST RAINFALL HAD OCCURRED OVER THE NORTHERN AND WESTERN
PORTIONS OF THE BURN AREA.

THE BOULDER COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGER REPORTED DEBRIS FLOWS IN THE
FOURMILE BURN AREA.  IN ADDITION...FOURMILE CREEK WAS ALSO RISING.

LOCATIONS REMAINING IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
WALLSTREET...SUNSHINE...SUMMERVILLE...SALINA...CRISMAN AND GOLD HILL.
PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE
EXTENSIVE AND SEVERE FLASH FLOODING OF CREEKS...STREAMS...AND DITCHES
IN THE FOURMILE BURN AREA. SOME DRAINAGE BASINS IMPACTED INCLUDE
FOURMILE CREEK...GOLD RUN...AND FOURMILE CANYON CREEK. SEVERE DEBRIS
FLOWS CAN ALSO BE ANTICIPATED ACROSS ROADS. ROADS AND DRIVEWAYS MAY
BE WASHED AWAY IN PLACES. IF YOU ENCOUNTER FLOOD WATERS...CLIMB TO
SAFETY.

DO NOT DRIVE YOUR VEHICLE INTO AREAS WHERE THE WATER COVERS THE
ROADWAY AS THE WATER DEPTH MAY BE TOO GREAT TO ALLOW YOUR CAR TO
CROSS SAFELY. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FLOOD WATERS. ONLY A
FEW INCHES OF RAPIDLY FLOWING WATER CAN QUICKLY CARRY AWAY YOUR
VEHICLE. TURN AROUND...DO NOT DROWN.
and an update to this
BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
FLASH FLOOD WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DENVER CO
808 PM MDT WED JUL 13 2011

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DENVER HAS ISSUED A

* FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR...
CENTRAL BOULDER COUNTY IN NORTHEAST COLORADO

* UNTIL 1100 PM MDT

* AT 806 PM MDT...FLASH FLOODING WAS OBSERVED ALONG FOURMILE CREEK.
THE CREST OF THE FLOOD WATERS WAS REACHING BOULDER CREEK...WITH
A RAPID SURGE AND INCREASE OF AT LEAST 4 FEET OF WATER.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
WALLSTREET...SUNSHINE...SUMMERVILLE...SALINA...ORODELL...CRISMAN...
AND GOLD HILL.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

THIS IS A LIFE THREATENING SITUATION. HEAVY RAINFALL WILL CAUSE
EXTENSIVE AND SEVERE FLASH FLOODING OF CREEKS...STREAMS...AND DITCHES
IN THE FOURMILE BURN AREA. SOME DRAINAGE BASINS IMPACTED INCLUDE
FOURMILE CREEK...GOLD RUN...AND FOURMILE CANYON CREEK. SEVERE DEBRIS
FLOWS CAN ALSO BE ANTICIPATED ACROSS ROADS. ROADS AND DRIVEWAYS MAY
BE WASHED AWAY IN PLACES.

THIS WARNING ALSO INCLUDES BOULDER CREEK FROM FOURMILE CREEK
DOWNSTREAM TO THE CANYON MOUTH WEST OF BOULDER.

IF YOU ENCOUNTER FLOOD WATERS...CLIMB TO SAFETY.




This map of the Boulder Flood areas might be of interest. 

Here are some pictures from twitter, not from me, that show just a few glimpses of what was going on up there.
Gold Run Rd at mid-Salina after the flood 
Sunshine flooding: Car washed away CR 83 and Whispering Pines 
Sunshine canyon flooding 
Corner of Fourmile and Gold Run post flood 
 Our office of emergency management is always ontop of things and 
the Daily Camera has a nice summary of what happened.

While this was happening, sun was setting and I ran out to photograph a storm southeast of me from the top of Lehigh/Greenbriar, so this is all in the opposite direction as the canyons at risk.  I'll share more pics after I sort through them, but here's a highlight.  
Thunderstorm southeast of Boulder on July 13, 2011.  Photograph taken by me!
A little before this picture was taken, the sirens went off and I was warned that "You have a flash flood warning, the flooding of South Boulder Creek is imminent."  I was up on Shanahan Ridge as this was happening, so I wasn't too worried about this, but realized if anything big happened, I'd have a nice view of it.  In fact, looking back, I'm pretty sure the sirens were going off for people below our neighborhood, or they would have been much louder.  Nothing big happened, just a surge of water.  (See flood map above.)  Similarly, the same thing happened downtown in Boulder.  

I spend a lot of time telling my meteorology students to pay attention to the weather, turn on the radio for information, etc.  I was extremely impressed to find that during an emergency situation, I got sirens, a man explaining the situation over a loudspeaker, a text message from CU, and my weather radio going off (although I didn't have those last two pieces with me since I was outside).  What more could a meteorologist ask for?  Well done, Boulder!  

Here's a video of the sirens.  
And the loudspeaker man.  (Sorry, I'd love to have combined and edited my video, but my video editing software seems to have disappeared since the last time I wiped my computer)
My good friend Jason has taken a video of his bike trip down Boulder Creek just a few days ago to show you how high the water already is from a full week of monsoon rains.  It is well worth a look!
 Around 11:30 PM my weather radio started going off again.  This thing is LOUD.  I ran over to shut off the alarm and listen to the warning and it was indicating what is shown below.  That the Fourmile canyon was getting another thunderstorm and was having a flash flood warning.  Similarly to earlier, they sent out evacuation phone calls to tell people to get to higher ground.  A small surge went through the city while we were all sleeping, but no one was hurt through any of this (at least as far as I have heard).  There is plenty of cleanup to be done, though.  Let's hope they get a break today. 
This little guy in the green outline just west of Boulder prompted a second warning around 11:30pm.
 

Rainbows are cool too

Storms kicked off later than expected today (Tuesday), but I took my dessert on a walk with me and while trying to get a picture of the storm in the background, a beautiful full rainbow appeared. 
Full rainbow (impossible to capture both sides in one shot!)
I looked north and saw a tower going up lit nicely by the setting sun, so I took a little jog over to my usual viewing area and enjoyed the view for a bit. 

Now I'm home and the lightning show has started.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Google Reader

If you don't use Google Reader, here's why you should start.  Every time I find a blog that I care to follow, I throw it on my Reader and then I don't have to remember the name of the blog or check it when I'm busy, but the Reader will keep track of what I've read, what I haven't, and list it all for me.  The one thing it's missing is the pretty background that bloggers pick for their pages, but it makes me feel a bit more in control with my reading.  It can handle anything with an RSS feed.  (Bloggers out there without an RSS feed button on your blog, I'm not reading your blog because it doesn't show up in my Reader!) 

I keep categories like, friends' blogs, gluten free blogs, climate blogs, teaching blogs, comics, and news.  Some I read daily, some I read over Sunday coffee, some I don't read at all, but it is nice to see it all there so I know I'm not missing out. 

Here's what the expanded view looks like, but you can also do a home view, then just click on what interests you for further reading.  You can see on the left, I have my categories, a few of the blogs in them, and the bold with the number in parenthesis are articles I haven't read.  Some of those climate blogs put out 30 a day due to having a gazillion authors, so I can't keep up. 
I'm curious how this will connect to Google+ in the future.  This whole new social network thing makes me a bit nervous because I'd hate for my students to find my blog and I'm afraid I'm going to screw something up once it's all connected, they'll be able to just type in my name, and it will pop up.  I hope I can still be active without worrying about this.  

My question for you is, have any of you ever been able to get journal articles feeding to your reader?  I heard a sound bit about Web of Knowledge (Web of Science) having a reader.  Have any of you used this or connected it to your Google Reader?  I'd love to have a feed of at least abstracts from my favorite journals.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Beautiful Storm

Well, I narrowed it down from 100 pics to this.  If you have any favorites, please let me know in the comments so I can narrow it for any future use.  These were taken from Fairview High School in Boulder, CO on Sunday, July 10, 2011.  (Note that I took these on my current, old camera.)
1

2 Devil's Thumb

3

4 NCAR

5 A ray of sun lights up the land

6 Crepuscular Rays

7

8

9

10

11

12 NCAR and Veil Lake

13

14

15

16  Mammatus


Monday, July 11, 2011

Monsoon season

Apparently, it's monsoon season for Colorado.  We have had nonstop afternoon and evening thunderstorms since Thursday.  It has rained and poured and lightninged and flooded and hailed, oh has it hailed.  The storms usually start off with a gust of wind, crazy cloud to ground lightning so I can't go out and cover my tomatoes, then hail, then heavy, heavy rain.  Today there's just enough thunder that I'm afraid to go out to see what happened to my garden during yesterday's hail. Thursday, both Boulder and Denver had downtown floods due to extremely heavy rainfall.  The burn area from last year's fire had a few mudslides, but no one was hurt. 

Every time it rains, my garage gets about an inch of water in the bottom and I get the pleasure of sucking it out with a shop vac in hopes of fighting mold possibilities.  The problem is, it actually comes in from our neighbor's garage and neither of us have permission to do anything about it because our HOA won't let us and when they try to fix it, they fail, and say, "Garages are not guaranteed to be dry, so please keep your belongings off the ground."  So, everything we own is on pallets, our boxes are up on wood, but it doesn't matter.  I don't want my stuff sitting in pools of water.  I don't want my storage items to be moldy or water stained.  It just makes me mad.  Of course you all know that they run the sprinklers every night, regardless of how much it rains.  It's good to know that they are sprinkling my garage.  I pay for the water, I pay them to do it, I clean it up.  Oh the life of a renter. 

Last night, before sucking the water out of my garage, I was driving home and saw the most beautiful mammatus clouds.  Because I can't seem to pick which pictures are the best, I'm only going to show one of them and save a few for next time.
Mammatus clouds at sunset.  They get their name from mammary glands and appear on the underside of the anvils of thunderstorms. 

From Thursday's storm alone. 

I wonder how much more water there'd be if I hadn't already done this every day for the last four days.  Las tnight, this much water filled that shop vac half way.

I've taken to propping it up and going inside to hang out for a while, then coming back and manually doing the rest. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tour de France

Two years ago, when I had cable, Dave and I watched the Tour de France every evening during dinner.  Last year we tried to pretend we were okay with missing it, but this year we paid for full online access to the video to the tour.  Now, although I stand by my rule that it's silly to watch people who are not your friends play sports, for some reason I really get into this biking thing.  I'm the #1 fan for Dave's softball team and that's fun because I know everyone on the team, but it's hard for me to get too wrapped up in any professional sports team.  Yes, I used to go to Badger games, and yes, it's hard to not support the Packers, but the whole idea of paying professional sports players millions of dollars while teachers, the people who do the real work, get paid crap, really makes it hard for me to enjoy professional sports.  I think it's a horrid symbol of what we value here in the US. 


Regardless, the Tour is really weird because it's an individual sport within a team sport and there's so much going on, including a Tour of France.  I just can't stop watching it!  Even without Dave! I don't know what next summer will bring, but I'd LOVE to go to Europe and run into the Tour for a day.  We've never been to Europe, or, anywhere, really.  What are we waiting for? 

My understanding of the sport:  Each team has like nine-ish people who wear the same color jersey of their sponsor (Garmin, HTC, Movistar, Radioshack).  They bike every day for a few weeks and go really, really far each day.  I think today's was 182 km.  And they climb up mountains!  Each day the award the yellow jersey to the dude who has the lowest time overall, but you can also get other jerseys for best mountain climber, best young rider, and some sprinter thingy.  The point of the team is that you can all hang out together in a line and mooch off of each other's wake (I don't know what this is called.)  At the end of the flat days, they might have a line of guys and the head guy is doing most of the work, so he'll quit after a bit.  After the last guy has quit, the sprinter is the last guy, so he takes off and wins the race.  You can obviously hang out off the back wheel of people not on your team as well and so they prefer to be in groups and they'll politely share taking the front.  As a teammate, your job is to get your number one guy to win.  There's so much personality to the whole thing, which is probably why I really like it. 

While riding they do fun things like take "natural breaks," which I didn't actually think existed until the other  day I'm watching the TV and this dude just whips it out while riding and pees off to the side of the road.  I yelled out, "I see a penis!"  I wonder what the neighbors were thinking. 
"Generally, they pull over to the side of the road, stop, and shed liquid ballast in the usual way. Some time in the first couple of hours of the race, a senior rider (a team leader or team captain) will organise a comfort break and the whole peloton will slow down enough that riders can stop for a break and easily catch up afterwards.
The etiquette is that you don't attack while a large-scale comfort break is in progress, and you certainly don't attack the yellow jersey when he's taking a leak.
 It's considered extremely bad form for photographers and TV to shoot this whole process which is why, as some readers have observed, you never see it on TV or in pictures."

They also do things like get a bolt on their bike tightened while going 35 mph, pulled up next to their team's car, and some guy hanging out the car fixing the bike. 

They crash, like, a lot.  There were so many crashes this week!  One of them took out one of my favorite dudes with a broken collar bone and gave another red guy a concussion.  Concussion dude actually finished the race, but was extremely, extremely confused when he got to the end.  During crashes they rip their jerseys, bend their bikes, bleed, and they just get a new bike from their team car, and keep going. 

The fans are crazy too.  Sometimes on the up-hill climbs, you'll see fans in costumes trying to get in the way.  I've seen fans get punched, elbowed, and just generally yelled at. 


If you have Verses on your TV, check it out sometime in the next two weeks! 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Yes Peas!

I grew these!  It was 99 degrees on the 4th of July and yesterday my peas started to look like they were taking a dive, so I thought I'd harvest as many of them as possible.  Not bad, right?  The key was a trellis and planting them early, like late March or early April, although one of the smaller plants just took off recently, so it's possible later would have worked as well.. 

I grew peas!!!!  In Colorado!!!!
My basil is taking off, which means I'd better get on that mozzarella goal of mine!  The tomato plants are looking flawless, but thus far only a few blossoms and 1-2 fruits.  No peppers yet either.

This week my CSA gave me baby salad greens, spinach, cilantro, green onions, romaine, red leaf lettuce, kale, and rhubarb.  Um, that's a lot of greens, people.  If anyone wants a salad, drop by!  I'm going to make peach rhubarb jam at some point, which means that I'll need to make something gluten free to put jam on, but things are going to be really busy this weekend, then I have a significant amount of time to myself over the next two weeks to squeeze it in.

In the next month, Dave and I will be in the same state for seven days.  We planned separate family vacations, which is pretty necessary when we both have jobs and we live in a different state than our families, who live in different states than each other.  Of course the vacations didn't overlap and they depend on many other families, so they can't be scheduled around us.  Last summer I was able to join him for his due to a different summer school schedule, but I couldn't reason canceling class this year, since I teach for 2.5 hours Mondays and Wednesdays.  (Fly Wednesday afternoon?  Rent a car?  Get there at midnight?  Spend Thursday and Friday at the shore, fly back Saturday?  It just didn't seem worth $500+ plane ticket plus rental car.)  They don't have subs for college professors, unless you can find a friend (sucker) to sub for you.  I know my students wouldn't mind the day off, but it's kind of my job to be there.  On the bright side, my students are amazing this summer! 

Sometimes I get nervous about whether or not I'll be able to entertain myself while Dave is traveling, so I overplan my time or set too many goals to complete and then get overwhelmed.  Why can't he travel during the school year when I'm crazy busy and am only home and awake long enough to eat dinner with him?   Anyone else have issues with this?  How do you deal with it?  (Wrote this on Thursday.  Back to class prep, today's goal:  Gravitational Force and its roll in atmospheric motions/balances.)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shoe Twins

There's something about Boulder, or maybe its just our friends, but we all have really similar shoes.  Shoes are fun.  I have gobs of dress shoes, but here are the shoes I actually wear on a regular basis (I've taken up wearing sandals to school, then changing into my dress shoes there).  


His and Hers Barefoot Shoes
Merrell Barefoot shoes.  These have no pad in the bottom for cushion, so it feels like you're barefoot, without the risk of stepping on something sharp.  They're meant as a running shoe to build up muscles in your feet that should be there if we weren't so dependent on supportive shoes.  It makes you run more forward because it hurts to land on your heel with no cushion, so I usually land flat or towards the front of my feet.  I usually demand arch support and I have had no problems with these.  They will make you sore below your big calf muscle when you run, though!  They also make trail running quite interesting because you can feel every little pebble.  Dave and I both have a pair, but so do the majority of our friends (one of them actually runs barefoot for real!)

His and Hers Chacos
Chacos.  Everyone has chacos!  Why?  I couldn't tell you.  I feel like I could hike up a mountain in them, or wear them to work on a hot day, or get them wet in the garden.  They are super comfortable.  Last weekend I went fishing with them and walked right into the creek with them on.  One night I was at a bachelorette party and looked down and all of us were wearing them.  Who needs 4 inch heels when you can dance in comfort? 



His and Hers Crocs
Crocs.  Seriously, I've harped on about Crocs for years and how amazing the maryjanes are.  I stand by this.  They are super comfortable, and I think the gold maryjanes are cute.  I can't say the same thing about the giant green crocs, but he doesn't wear them in public.... often.
Merrell hiking shoes






Merrel hiking shoes.  I think Dave recently switched to Patagonia, but this is my second pair of Merrells and although I'm not sure these are sold as hiking shoes, they give me everything I need on a hike, although I've really given them some discoloration from Utah hiking.

Any types/brands of shoes you find you and your friends all seem to wear? 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pea sized hail

Welcome to my patio here in Boulder, CO.  I hope you find this as amusing as I did at the time.  I was enjoying some insane cloud to ground lightning and made the decision not to save my plants due to risk of death via electrocution and it started hailing.  Listen to the video to hear my weather radio go off AS the hail is falling.  Luckily, my plants are fine!  I just think it's funny that the "warning" came too late to warn.  The amazing folks issuing the warnings are just two miles down the road, so I'm sure they had similar observations as me. 

Of course, going along with this, is the idea that the radar only sees the hail as it is hailing.  Since the hail started over me, I guess I don't get any warning, despite my best efforts.  It's also possible that the radar didn't catch the hail until it hit here because, well, there's mountains in my backyard.  Yay for live meteorology!  Lots of weather still kicking up in the area. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Camera Purchasing Help!

Any suggestions on what direction to go when buying a new camera?  As you can tell from my regular food photos on this blog, my pictures are, well, poor.  I actually used to care about photography quite a bit, spending time in the dark room developing yearbook pictures back in high school.  Since loosing access to those amazing cameras, my photography skills are just awful!  I'll blame the camera, I'm sure there's something lacking on my end as well, but I want to improve, which is good enough for me.  My current camera is an old Sony.  It's my first digital camera since switching over from film ages ago.  My old Canon film camera was quite nice, but now useless. 

I originally thought I'd just upgrade my small hand-held digital camera since a lot of pictures that I take, I take while hiking, and I pay big bucks to have light gear.  I'm not going to hike in a huge camera everywhere I go.  Then I realized that I take tons of pictures that don't involve hiking!  Why not keep my current digital for the few times a year I go backpacking, then invest in a nice digital SLR for everything else? 

I guess my one limitation is price.  I wouldn't say I'm cheap, but I would say I have a fear of investing a large amount of money into any one thing.  I think this is because I've only been out of grad school for 2.5 years, I live with a grad student, and, well, I don't make much money, especially for the city I live in.  God forbid I ever need to buy a vehicle or a house! 

It's easy to take a cool picture with views like this and a good looking guy in the foreground, but when the view isn't so exciting, my camera is a failure.  This is Dave on Grays Peak (14,270 ft).  See more from this trip here:  http://lifeafterluckycharms.blogspot.com/2010/07/dave-and-i-had-little-freak-out-moment.html

Pretty things are easy to photograph, but I had to take 30 pictures to get two good ones with my current camera. 


Anyone have a camera that takes great pictures that I should know about?  Or any general camera advice?   I'm going to do my own investigation, but why not start with your suggestions?