Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nine Years

As some of you may know, Jill and I are doing our level best to live simple, more environmentally ("Creation") friendly lives. We've made some progress, but still have lots to feel guilty about. We still drive the five blocks to the grocery store, buy fruit in January, forget to bring our own mugs to the coffee shop/church, eat red meat and seafood (occasionally), keep the house cozy warm, use a clothes dryer, build fires for the sheer joy of it, shower and flush the toilet daily, water our lawn, reproduce, and on occasion, drink coffee and beer (really, this is bad for the environment).

But we've taken some baby steps. For example, I walk the nine steps to my work (and Jill bikes/buses the seven miles to her work). If it's yellow, we let it mellow (except when we have company, because that seems to gross people out). We cast condescending looks at people who waste energy with their plasma TVs (as we can't afford one) and complain about lawn mowers and all "those people" who clog up the interstate driving into the mountains. We think about unplugging our dvd player when we're not using it. And, above all, we watch--and quote--An Inconvenient Truth.

And the last few weeks, we took two more steps. First, we set up the composter Jill got for Christmas in our backyard. This isn't your grandmother's composter (chicken wire and a pile of manure). This is deluxe. Hard plastic, strategically placed removable vents, a self-opening lid. It's a real hoot. Not only is it good for the environment, it has the added benefits of entertaining us on the nights when NETFLIX won't cut it (yes, watching leaves compost would make an exciting Friday night for us) AND helping us eat healthier (its so much fun it makes me want to eat a banana just so I can toss the peel in).

Jill also replaced many of our light bulbs with the long lasting mini-florescents. The good part is that we don't have change our light bulbs for nine years (I hate changing light bulbs, particularly because people expect me to do it all the time. Tallists.) The bad part is that we accidentally got the wrong ones ("Daylight Bright*") and now our bathroom glows. The yellow that's mellowing looks like nuclear waste. Our humble throne room now radiates like the Throne Room of the Almighty. It's really quite something. And, as I said, we have at least nine years to enjoy it. Lucky us.

*There is one that looks "normal", but "Daylight Bright" is not it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


We spent another day at the National Western Stock Show yesterday with the Young-ish Adults from church. We saw a lot of what you'd expect. Livestock, mostly. Also a lot of very large, shiny, belt buckles (Cowboy bling?). We even got to go to a lama show--which was actually less exciting than it sounds (if you can believe that). One of the more droll* events was a conversation I overheard near the RV/Trailer display. A man--clearly not from these parts if I'm allowed to say so--stood there gesturing at one of the dazzling new RVs. Apparently, he was in the midst of lecturing the wide eyed children who huddled around him. The topic? The strange ways of this foreign land. "In America" he said in his thickly accented English (Een Ah-marre-eak-ah), "when you are old, you leave your family, sell your house, and buy one of these."

I only wish I had stuck around to hear the rest of that conversation. And I can't help but chuckle(inside) at the thought of my parents spending their golden years rolling across the U.S. of A at 53 mph. Dad's hunched over the wheel and Mom's playing co-pilot--reminding him of the fast food places with the cleanest restrooms between naps in her captain's chair. When they need a break, they pull into the extra long parking spaces on the "Trucks/RVs Only" side of the rest area and spend some time chatting with the Billy-Bob and the other boys while they stretch their legs (Mom doesn't care for the smoke, but can't get enough of the conversation). They spend their winters sweating in Arizona and their summers swatting mosquitoes in a commercial camp ground in the Wisconsin Dells. To pass the time they tend their portable garden, watch satellite TV, and polish their gnome collection.

Ah, yes. Only een Ah-marre-eak-ah.**

*This word brought to you courtesy of Mr. Bill Elgersma and his sophomore English vocab lists.
**Disclaimer: No offense intended here. I do consider the RV comment a rather humerous example of the the trouble with sterotypes. I'm sure the comment was not intended maliciously or to offend, and do not mean to say anything offesnive myself...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

fifty-one fotos.

Yes, it's a lot of pictures. But we had a greeaat weekend with with Brother John and family (Jessica, Levi, Laremy) and wanted to share.
Here's the rundown:
Saturday: National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. Yee-haw!
Sunday: Church, long naps, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Train (Light Rail) Ride.
Monday: Duffy Rolls, Keystone (Loveland Pass, Gondola Ride, Pool), Beau Joes Pizza.
Tuesday: Up Early and out the door.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A miracle?

Returned home yesterday to find this in my fridge. Still deciding if it was indeed a miracle, a sign...or just a neighbor/friend with a good sense of humor.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shameless Plug

Can't get enough of me? Well, I can't either. Just a reminder that I have another blog (with my more serious thoughts)... . It's also updated sporadically but if you get "Google Reader" and set it as one of your home pages, you don't have to worry about that. Of course, if you get Google Reader, then my page counts get messed up and my ego will be crushed. You decide if it's worth the cost.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sophisticated Humor.

Yes, I know I'm very high-brow.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

In Case You Missed It.

Obama won for the democrats in Iowa tonight. Maybe Oprah helped.
Mike Huckabee won for the Rupublicans. Undoubtedly, this helped.

I can't decide if I think not taking yourself too seriously is a good trait for a presidential candidate or not.

Back "Home"

After a week in Iowa, Jill and I are back "home".

At least I think that's what we're calling it now.

We're happy in Denver--we (obviosly) enjoy the many recreational opportunities, we love our jobs, enjoy lots of sunshine and our great neighborhood (complete with great coffee shops within walking distance that are probably a little too hip for us). But we're still adjusting to the idea of calling it "home."

For the first five or so years of our marraige we were always anticipating our next move (summer assignments, year long internships etc). It's taken a bit for the reality to sink in that we could be here for a long time (five years? twenty years?). It's odd enough to think about it for ourselves, but its even more strange to think that our child(ren) will call this place "home"--will say they are "from" Denver--in a way that we never can.

There are a lot of things I miss about Iowa. There's the appeal (probably easily sentimentalized) of living in a small town--of running into people you know in the grocery story and being able to ride your bike or walk almost anywhere. They beauty of the plains (you may need a trained eye to see this, but trust me, it's there). And more than anything, family.

On the bright side, however, there are a few perks about no longer living there. For one, it doesn't get "freeze-yer-booger-cold" in Denver (it was something like 2 degrees the day we left). I also don't get thirty-seven phone calls a day telling me why Mike Hackabee should/should not be president. Furthermore, if my weight gain last week was any indication, if I moved to Iowa this week I would weigh approximately 438 lbs by next Christmas (so much food!). While this would open up the possibility of me being the heaviest contestant ever on "The Biggest Loser" and would also mean that I could actually find clothes that fit at Big and Tall stores, it would also mean my new pants wouldn't fit. I like those pants. So, all things considered, it's probably best that we stay here.

On a slightly differen note, I should say that some things have changed in Iowa during fifteen months since we were last there. Some changes are good (a bookstore in Sheldon), some not so good (a Super Wal-Mart in Sioux Center), and some are just strange. In this latter category, I place the appearance of a multitude of what I formerly new as bank signs--those electronic signs that show the time, date, and some inspirational message. Well, they aren't just for banks anymore. They are everywhere. Taco Johns, Demco, the furniture store, Fanatasia Gifts, McDonalds (oh yeah, they have McDonalds now too). No one in Iowa has an excuse for not knowing the current time and temperature. Here are two examples of said signs--located within about fifty yards of each other (and I think there's another one or two just down the block).