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spring meets green

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Recipe: japanese-style asparagus frites

Did you guys stay up to watch the total lunar eclipse late Monday night/early Tuesday morning this week? We tracked the eclipse until the moon entered totality and dropped behind a cloud. Sometimes shoots don’t go as planned (in fact, most nature shoots rarely go “as planned”). I saw that cloud start as a little puff in the night sky. Estimating the trajectory of the moon for the duration of the eclipse, I figured I’d be in the clear as long as the cloud remained in place. It stayed in place alright, but it also grew like a mofo. Over the course of 90 minutes, this tiny, unassuming cloud stretched and grew until it became a standing wave cloud right in the path of the moon during totality. Also, it was damn windy (and cold – even for me), which made wrangling a 500mm telephoto a bit of a challenge. But the path to growth and wonder is not the path of leisure and comfort… or some such mumbo jumbo.


the start of the eclipse (left) and the start of totality (right)



This kind of shoot is what I call character-building (there was a lot of swearing at the winds). Ignoring the shoot, it was absolutely beautiful to watch. People say once you have seen a couple of lunar eclipses, you don’t need to stay up to see more. I disagree. I’ve witnessed quite a few and each one is spectacular and special and amazing. But yeah, the winds sucked big time because we were transitioning from cold and stormy weather to sunny warm weather. Whenever that happens, the atmosphere gets a little squirrely.

here we are at treeline as a storm front blew in (and snowed on us – yay!)



This is what spring does. It’s volatile and dynamic. The sun is in the sky longer, heating the ground, the oceans, and the atmosphere. Here in the mountains, it’s melting the snowpack and putting more moisture in the air. Everyone seems to have their panties in a wad that spring is a transition of seasons rather than idyllic sunny, warm days of blooming flowers, baby animals, and yadda yadda yadda. I’ll tell you what. Asparagus know the drill. They’re frost tolerant plants, which is a good thing since we have the seesaw snow/sun thing going on in Colorado. My pal, Wendy, watches the weather like a hawk and begins monitoring all of her wild asparagus sites about now. I forage with her because it’s so fun, but I always let her keep all of the ‘gus (I call them gus gus) because she lives on this stuff and I’m just along for the ride. I like foraging, but I’m no forager. I buy my spears at the store.

let’s make asparagus tempura: asparagus, ice water, egg, baking soda, flour

mix the flour and baking soda together

whisk the egg and ice water together

stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients



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weekend jollies

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Recipe: strawberry cinnamon rolls

Jeremy and I usually spend our weekends working because that’s when all of our favorite places tend to be the busiest. But after a long day of shooting (for me) and editing a scientific paper (Jeremy), we needed to get out for a break. My idea of a break is exercise in the great outdoors. And they really were great that evening, touting some of the finest spring conditions I’ve enjoyed in a long while.


there were clouds all around except for one giant blue sucker hole above us

excellent snow (fast, yet good grip for climbing)

skiing back to the car, we ran into a few thin spots



And then we got 8 inches of snow on Sunday. I’m not complaining! We usually get a big dump of snow the day AFTER our local ski hill closes for the season. At least this time it was on closing day. My friend, Sarah, asked me on Friday what I was going to do now that ski season (she meant resort ski season) was drawing to a close. I smiled and said, “BACKCOUNTRY skiing!” That’s part of the reason I wasn’t freaking out about skipping closing day. I wasn’t skiing it because of that whole weekend-crowds-bad-timing-of-the-powder thing AND because I was busy making a mess at home. But what a delicious mess it was…

dough: flour, vanilla, milk, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, yeast

pour the yeast over the warmed milk

mix in the sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and vanilla



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family time

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Recipe: egg salad

Jeremy’s parents visited with us earlier this week for a few days. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them because we haven’t been able to travel with Kaweah to their house for the past year. Jeremy drove out to their place last October to do some IT work for them (because he’s a good boy), but I stayed with Kaweah in Crested Butte. We agreed that their energetic male dogs would have been too much for our frail, old girl. Whenever they come to Boulder, we always go out at least once for dinner. Jeremy and I try to find a place they haven’t been to before. Not a difficult task as Boulder has so many great restaurants from which to select. This time, they chose Frasca.


duck egg spring salad with browned butter vinaigrette

the pasta course (that’s my iced tea – i was designated driver)



When Mom first walked into the great room, Kaweah was lying in her bed. She doesn’t even get up when Jeremy and I come home anymore. But as soon as she saw Mom, she struggled to stand and walk over to her. Jeremy’s mom was the one who picked Kaweah out for us. Mom kept her for 2 weeks: potty training her, getting all of her shots and vaccinations, and loving on her. Then Mom put Kaweah on a flight from Albuquerque to Syracuse where we picked her up – my in-laws’ gift to us on our anniversary. I watched as Kaweah leaned against Mom’s leg, tail wagging as much as it has in a year, receiving ear rubs and sweet hellos. Old as our pup is, she has not forgotten. I haven’t seen Kaweah show this much affection for anyone in quite some time. At the end of my in-laws’ stay, Jeremy was carrying Kaweah back into the house when Mom paused to say good-bye. She kissed her on the top of her head many times and gently hugged her neck. I know Mom knew this was probably the last time she’d see her grandpup, but I’m glad she got to see her.

Wednesday morning, I drove up to our local ski hill for a date. There was no new snow and I’m not even sure the mountain dropped below freezing overnight (gah!). But it didn’t matter. No lines, blue skies, bright sun, and my good friends were there with their 3 year old son.


sweet little felix and lovely nichole

felix and his dad riding the lift

mastering the pizza wedge

felix shredding the bunny slope!



It was on this mountain over 6 years ago that I met Nichole. I was just starting chemo and we were in an advanced telemark program together. No one makes me laugh so hard on the ski lift as Nichole. So it was really special to get together with her family and watch/photograph them teaching Felix to ski. I’m always in awe of their parenting which is firm, but full of love and incredibly fun. As Felix’s energy wound down, I stayed with him while he had a snack and told Nichole and Luke to take a lap together. Felix explained to me that snow is his favorite thing and that ice isn’t so bad, oh – and he likes water too.

i asked felix if he crushed it on the slopes and he said, “cwushed it!”

selfie with my homeboy (iphone)



All signs point to spring. A favorite local trail has closed for the next three months to protect migratory birds and calving elk. I have mud on my ski boots (*sob*). The winds don’t feel as menacing anymore. The aspens in our yard are starting to fuzz out and I saw forsythia blooming in Boulder. I’m seeing a lot of pastel colored candies, decorations, and egg-dye kits in the stores. Can you believe the first time I ever dyed eggs was in my 30s? It was with my friends’ two little boys and I dare say I had as much fun as they did. I also dyed a batch for an Easter-themed client shoot last year, which left me with a bunch of boiled eggs. Boiled eggs are awesome, because I love me an egg salad sandwich.

eggs

cover with cold water



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