We had the Hermans and Camerons up to Breckenridge for a weekend of fun in the sun and snow. While the Camerons were out teli-skiing, we opted for some snow-shoeing (with the dogs, of course) and enjoyed the beautifully sunny and mild January Breckenridge weather!
Anyone that knows me and my favorite furry girl, Ellie, knows that we are very close. She regularly follows me around the house and stays by my side. However, lately Ellie has been a little extra protective of me. I’ve heard that dogs can sense expectant women and sometimes even change their behavoir when their person is expecting. I’m thinking maybe Ellie is even more in-tune with me than I ever knew!
Here is my favorite recent Ellie story —
When the painters came to paint Andrew’s new room, David was at work and I was home alone with Ellie. Ellie always goes a little bonkers when people come in to the house, but this time she went maybe even a little extra-bonkers. My mom was going to take Molly for walk, so I asked her to stop over and take Ellie with them so Ellie could get some exercise while I was stuck at the house with the painters, and so Ellie would leave them alone. Ellie LOVES my mom and is always excited to see her and go on walks with her. Frequently when my mom is around, Ellie couldn’t care less where I am. Well, not this time. About 10 minutes after my mom came and took Ellie for a walk, they showed up back at my house. My mom explained that Ellie refused to go with her. Ellie kept turning back to look at our house and pull towards home. My mom tried to get her out of visual distance of the house, hoping Ellie would then be fine to go for a walk, but Ellie stood her ground and just wouldn’t budge. So, after my mom tried and tried to get her out for a walk, she finally gave up after less than a block and brought her back to me. We think Ellie didn’t want to leave me alone with strangers in the house. There is no other explanation. The weather was fine that day, usually she’d have loved to go. Ellie has never ever fought going on a walk before unless it was weather related.
She is such an amazing animal. I love my little Ellie-dog.
So, I’ve heard of the CWA before – kinda – but finally after about 13 years of living in Boulder, I went to it! I had no idea it was such a big deal, a huge production. I was definitely impressed.
The Conference on World Affairs is an event held each year in Boulder at the CU campus. Presenters come from all over the world, on their own dime, to participate. The presenters ranged from the film industry (actors, producers, directors) to philosophers, politicians, ambassadors, musicians, magicians, international businesspeople, technologists, journalists, feminists, astronomers, geneticists, molecular biologists, priests, historians, artists – and all of these are real legitimate experts, not just people who talk out of their asses (well, there were a few).
At any given time there were about 5 sessions going on all over the CU campus. Some of the sessions I went to were:
Space: The Battle for the 51st State
China’s Looking Out, Look Out for China
God vs. Science: Can We Both Be Right?
The Candidates on Iraq: The Silence is Deafening
Hardwired to Believe
Why Young Voters Care Again
There were a ton of sessions on politics, current affairs here and abroad, art, pop-culture, media, space, religion, atheism, health care, government issues, the election, technology (even a session about facebook), entrepreneurship, science. Pretty much any topic about the world you might be interested in, was likely covered here in one week!
I’m ashamed that it took me so many years of living in Boulder to take advantage of this wonderful event. Especially after not working for a while, it felt great to use my brain this week! I feel like I have so much to talk about! There is so much going on! It was very inspiring and makes me want to learn more about a lot of things!
I’ll summarize my two favorite sessions, God vs. Science and Look Out for China.
In the God vs. Science panel, there were 4 guys – all exceptional speakers, and 3 out of 4 were atheists who were not afraid to show it. They talked a lot about evolution and how we started with science, created religion, and now are turning back to science to explain the world and what is happening around us. I don’t want to start a debate about it here, but I agreed with the atheists whole-heartedly and look forward to a time when our society catches up to the modern scientific way of thinking. Yikes (well, hey, this is my blog and I can say what I want to!). They discussed topics like intelligent design, evolution, genetics, the need to have answers for the unexplainable, and how the smarter we get as humans, the more we are able to explain the way the world works with science and have less of a need for the ‘stories’ of religion to tell us where we came from and where we are going. In another session on a similar topic, I thought the philosopher, Achim Koddermann put it wisely when he said something like (I am not quoting him here, just summarizing) – our society is moving from Christianity to Scientism and that we aren’t leaving religion but that Scientism will likely be the new religion. Regligion goes through major changes every few hundred years, and they believe that scientism is the next big movement. AMEN to that 🙂 Anyhoo, I’m not asking for you to believe anything here, I’m just writing about what I found interesting at the CWA.
On to China! So, in several sessions at the CWA, China seemed to be a big topic of interest. Sessions that had nothing to do with China, frequently brought it up – China was all the buzz at the CWA. So, I thought the Look Out for China session would be interesting. I was right!
The main theme here was that YES, China is growing massively right now and is a huge powerhouse – “the world’s manufacturer”. A lot of the media is starting to train us to be afraid of this fact, but according to the CWA panel consisting of years of expertise in global politics and living in China, they believe that China is not a threat unless we treat them like one. They need us and we need them, they don’t want to squash us. Their success relies on the global economy. So, basically, the relationship with China is ours to f@%& up, which, we very well may do.
Here are some interesting facts on China (from the CWA panelists):
The worlds largest manufacturer of TVs, refrigerators, cameras, coal, iron, cement (actually 1/2 the world’s cement)
1.3 billion people out of the world’s 6 billion
Out of the 20 most polluted cities, 16 are in China
China has unparalleled growth since the 1970’s worldwide
75% of the world’s used computers and electronic parts end up in China – a big contributer to pollution in their soil
US still dominates military and weapons spending worldwide
Even though they are a huge powerhouse, they are still very unstable:
Rich/poor gap is widening with their growth
Public health is a major issue
150 million migrate each year
National security issues with Taiwan
Corruption at every level in government
Another interesting thing about us and China is that every year there is a study called the International Human Rights Report which includes many nations in the world — minus the US — we refuse to participate in it. This past year, soon after the international report was published, China reported on the human rights situation in the US for us, how nice of them! — they didn’t want to be held to a double standard. They brought up issues like how the US has the highest inmate-to-population ratio in the world and the racial makeup of those incarcerated, as well as our rise of violent crime, police brutality, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, as much as they have problems that our government is so quick to point out, we aren’t so innocent ourselves when it comes to human rights issues.
The panel was definitely coming to the defense of China more than I expected, but a lot of them have lived or are still living in China, and out of 4 of them, 3 were fluent in Chinese. They liked to point out that if you ask the Chinese about them being an international threat due to their economic growth, most will be surprised that they are seen that way.
During Q&A, the most interesting question, I thought, was this:
A CU student of international studies and political science asked something like – “As a university student, with all that is going on with China and the world economy, what is the most important thing for this generation to know about China and to focus on for the future?”
The unanimous answer from the panel was this – LEARN CHINESE.
I could go on and on about other interesting things at the CWA — but I’ll leave it at that! I am definitely looking forward to going again next year, it was a geat experience and I’d urge others to participate as well!
Our friends, Garrett and Amy, got married in Winter Park on 2/23, right when we got back from Hawaii. They had a beautiful ceremony and reception at a lodge not far from the Brown’s cabin. It was a beautiful, intimate, family-oriented wedding. We were honored to be a part of Garrett and Amy’s big day! We had a great time and the newlyweds were stunning (umm, I mean Garrett and Amy, but we dressed up nice too!). I might have had a little too much fun at 10k feet…remember the altitude, it’ll sneak up on ya!
Last night I went to the Boulder Caucus at Boulder High School. It started off with a massive line of people that went out to the street and around the block, all waiting in the freezing cold, anxious to make a difference. The mob of 2000+ (so I heard) was split in to 15 precincts by neighborhood. My precinct had 110 people. They said usually there are about 5-8 of them and they meet at one of their houses and have tea and cookies while they run the caucus themselves. So, this was quite a turnout. It was exciting to see the Boulder Democrats get so excited and involved this year. This was my first caucus, and although it was unorganized and chaotic, I’m glad I went to vote and to learn how this process works. I even volunteered to be an alternate for the County Assembly in March out in Sparta (or, um, I mean Longmont).
It was interesting to see where my fellow Whittier neighbors stand. We had an 85% vote for Obama, and it was close to 100% vote for Udall for Senate, and then Polis had the majority for the Congressional vote, but a lot of the group had left by that point. There were a lot of people undecided for congress too, so it is a bummer that they picked County Assembly Delegates after the Senate vote, but before the Congressional vote. So, the majority of our delegates are undecided for their Congressional vote. We did get one or two Polis people as delegates though, and hopefully the undecideds will make the right choice 🙂
So, all in all, it was a good experience and I feel good about voicing my opinions and voting at this Caucus, which until this year, I had never even heard of. It was exciting to see so many people that are passionate about this race and really want to be involved. Go Boulder Democrats! Oh, and thanks to AZ and Johann for spreading the word about the importance of the caucus, without them, I probably wouldn’t have thought to go!
Good Luck Jared Polis!
So, I just have to vent about the fact that every time a restaurant changes their menu, I end up never getting to eat one of my favorite things again. It all started with the OG.
About two years ago, the Olive Garden took Chocolate Lasagna off of their menu. I didn’t even go there that often, but when people from work wanted to go, I was always happy to have the Chocolate Lasagna for lunch, and it became one of my all-time favs. It was layers of chocolate cake with marzipan layers in-between. YUM, and now I can never eat it again! Damn you Olive Garden!
Then the Cheesecake Factory followed in the footsteps of the OG – they had the nerve to take another one of my favs off the menu for good, the Boston Cream Cheesecake. I even complained to the manager at the Pearl Street store, but he was powerless against ‘The Cheesecake Man’. At that same time, David’s favorite dish there also vanished, the Sheila’s Blackened Chicken Pasta. He didn’t complain to the manager though 🙂
More recently was the upset at Walnut Brewery. I always order the Tuscan Chicken Salad, pretending to be healthy, but secretly knowing that I’m about to chow down on the delicious jalapeño beer bread that comes with it for free! Well, that is no more! We were just there and I was stuck eating a healthy salad with no beer bread and the waiter said that they changed the menu and they just don’t serve it as a side anymore. Why, why would they do that? If they can still make it, why don’t they just charge for it and let me have it? I would happily pay for their tasty jalapeno beer bread!
And that brings me to the most recent disappointment- Brasserie Ten Ten. They have taken the Roquefort Chips AND the Tempura Green Beens off of the menu forever!!!! When we looked at the menu, I just didn’t even know what to do with myself! The waiter was not very sympathetic either. He didn’t seem to realize what they had done! How could they just make a change like that without realizing what they were doing to their fans? Brasserie has been my favorite restaurant in Boulder for a while now, but no more!
For all you restaurant owners out there — if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. What I would do for a Chocolate Lasagna right now! Anyone have the secret recipe?
My mom and sister kindly hosted my lingerie wedding shower. Katie did the adorable invitations (I stole her line as my title here!). The day was perfect. It started at my mom’s house with a great group of girls. My mom had set up a wine tasting that included my current favorite wine called ‘Bitch’ Barossa Grenache, very cute! Everything was perfect from the weather (a sunny fall, blue sky day of about 65 degrees) to the wine, to the cake, to the company! Did I mention how good the cake was – YUM! Cake
I got a ton of gorgeous lingerie and pjs. It was a really great mix of the sexy, the cute, and the cozy. I even got some leopard print from my mother-in-law to be 🙂 When I opened it, someone yelled out ‘Looks like she wants some more grandkids’, it was really cute!
After the shower a bunch of us hopped on the Banjo Billy Bus Tour of Boulder. It is a funky Boulder tour that tells a mix of crime and historical stories of Boulder while riding through town in a tricked out old school bus that looks like a hillbilly shack on wheels. We brought a cooler of jello shots and champagne, so we were quite the rowdy bunch, smartly placed in the back of the bus. John the tour guide gave us a drinking game to play – every time he mentioned a dead person (from a crime story), we would all cheer and take a drink ‘to dead people’. Check it out – www.banjobilly.com Bus inside Julie & Katie Judy, Me, Mom, Maureen
After Banjo Billy, we went back to my house to get ready for the night. We had a tea room at Zanmai, a Japanese Steak and Sushi house in downtown Boulder. It was a great time. Cindy, Me, Judy Cindy Koehler had gone wild with decorations, including Raoul the blow-up doll, that ended up out and about with us all night long. Kris & Raoul She also brought some ‘art’ to hang to the wall of each place we went for the night, and of course I was decorated as well – with a purple wig, tiara, boas and body stickers (sexy!). Me After Zamai, we went out to Trilogy for drinks and dancing Katie & Raoul. After a late night, a group of us (including a deflated Raoul)went back to my house for a PJJ (Pajama Jammy Jam). It was such an amazing night. Having my mom and my sister and my girlies all together was really special! Sis, Me, Mom, At Trilogy
It was a day and night to remember! Special thanks to Mom and Julie for the shower and Cindy K for the crazy bachelorette night!
Zihuatanejo, or Zihua, was an amazing place to visit. Unlike any of the other places I’ve been to in Mexico (Can Cun, Mazatlan), Zihua is not full of tourists and chain hotels, but it is still a charming little fishing town on the Pacific Coast. We stayed in an incredible hotel, http://www.lacasaquecanta.com/, La Casa Que Canta – ‘the house that sings’. It was built on the cliffs with views of the bay, the town, and the open sea. I think I can honestly say that this is the nicest place I’ve ever staying in my life, not bad for a pre-honeymoon! Here are a few pics…
While we were in Zihua, we went on a snorkel trip with our trusted captain, Martine, and his 9 year old son, Ulysses (who drove the boat most of the time). They took us to a small deserted beach with white sand and tons of beautiful shells and washed up coral. The snorkeling wasn’t the best, but the water felt great and the location was gorgeous, plus we really like our captain and first-mate! We enjoyed them so much that we did a second trip with them to catch some fish (we don’t fish or even eat fish, but when in Rome…). I caught my first-ever fish and then Martine and Ulysses grilled it up for lunch. They took us to a beautiful island, Ixtapa Island (not Ixtapa the resort town), where it was all locals and their families swimming, playing soccer on the beach, fishing, jet skiing and grilling up their fresh catches for lunch. Martine pronounced Ixtapa Island to us as “Istapa Ice Land”.
We also enjoyed some nice walks on the beach just below our hotel, Playa Del Ropa. It had some cute outdoor restaurants, one in particular that we really liked – The Tides. It was beachside dining by candlelight, each table under its own palapa, and they give you a water list as if it was a wine list. They even serve it like wine – they present the bottle, and pour it carefully into a wine glass, then wipe the the bottle with a cloth napkin so it doesn’t drip. We thought that was pretty funny.
Another highlight of the trip was a sunset cruise around the bay. It really is a breathtakingly beautiful location. Pictures just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself!
It was really a great vacation. To anyone interested in ever going to Zihua, I’d recommend going between November and April. While we were there, it was scorchingly hot and humid. The ocean and pool water could barely even cool you off and there isn’t A/C anywhere except your hotel room. It was too hot even to really go to the beach in the daytime. The locals said that it would be cooler and drier after October.
I’d love to go back to Zihua some day. But for now, the pre-honeymoon is over 🙂
We are doggy sitting for ‘Molly the Dog’ while my parents are cruising through Istanbul and the Greek Islands for 2+ weeks (rough life), and I’ve been sick for the past couple of days. Of course while I’m sick, Ellie stays by my side constantly and snuggles with me. Ellie and I were in bed the other day with the bedroom door slightly cracked open. Molly had been downstairs by herself, but I guess she got lonely, because she came up to the bedroom door and layed down just outside of it. Molly doesn’t realize that she can come in the room just by pushing the door open, so she started to whine a little bit because she wanted to come in. Before I had the chance to hop out of bed…Ellie heard Molly’s whining, hopped down from the bed, ran to the bedroom door, nosied it open, and let Molly in. When Molly came in, Ellie gave her a kiss on the nose, as if to welcome her in the room, and Molly gave her a kiss back as if to say ‘thanks’. I love my pooch.