Easy to Forget

Below are a few brief thoughts I wanted to share with you all before I get back to doing what I should really be doing. (That ever-growing pile of clothes next to my bed isn’t going to fold itself?)

A wonderful description of love I came across today, from this poem:

“I have one way
to be happy
and she is that way.”

I believe it is easy to forget the love others have for us and the love that exists in our lives, the same way it is easy to forget the existence of stars, and whole worlds that orbit them, while living under the dark night skies of a downtown somewhere.

We are not just this conversation on the sidewalk under a streetlamp. We are not that failed hour of practicing piano that turned into watching YouTube videos, or the forgotten promise to walk the dog. We are what they are – all those stars and distant, distant planets.

This image from the Hubble space telescope is estimated to contain 10,000 galaxies.

This image from the Hubble space telescope is estimated to contain 10,000 galaxies.

We are the entire universe “becoming conscious of itself.” We are energy the same way starlight and symphonies and ocean currents are energy – but we also have love.

“If you are comforted
by this thought you are welcome
to keep it.”

Fall in Cowboy Country

The other night I went to local bar to play bingo. This was legitimate bingo, where they hand out those square cards printed in blue ink along with what appeared to be a really thick marker for decorating your card – er, I mean, playing bingo. Afterwards I played a few rounds of pool with a cowboy/out-of-work-singer. The latter is how he identified himself; the former is how I identified him because he was wearing a black cowboy hat and kept referring to me as “Miss.”

He told me I was “a very nice dresser,” and that my boots (I was wearing these OTK Free People boots that I scored on EBay, with which I am OBSESSED) reminded him of a pair he uses to climb trees, except that mine aren’t covered in spikes for sticking in bark. I later told Matt this story, and he immediately gestured to a piece of furniture in our bedroom and said, “That’s also a very nice dresser.”

I use these boots to walk to work in the snow. Cozy!

I use these boots to walk to work in the snow. Cozy!

We’ve had nicer, more fall-like weather up here the past week. I find myself talking about the weather to every client who enters the office just because I’m so enamored by it. Wind! Ice! Will there be snow? Did it rain last night? Frost on your windshield? So sunny!

Pumpkins on a neighbor's porch got dusted with snow just before Halloween.

Pumpkins on a neighbor’s porch got dusted with snow just before Halloween.

I received the November catalog for Anthropologie in the mail last week and, what do you know, it features Wyoming!

OMG! These gloves are the warmest! But why are my knees so cold?

OMG! These gloves are the warmest! But why are my knees so cold?

The horse wanted to go on a picnic or whatever.

The horse wanted to go on a picnic or whatever.

Although that hat in the first picture is pretty amazing, I’m fairly certain the model and her horse would freeze to death at night unless she pulled a Luke Skywalker and sliced up the horse to sleep inside. But then all her white cashmere would get dirty, ugh!

The weekend before last Matt and I went down to Poudre Canyon in northern Colorado (just outside of Fort Collins) to do some climbing. It was the first time we’d returned since all the flooding that part of Colorado had endured; there were still parts of the road that follows the river in the canyon that were washed out. You could see debris piled up where the water had gushed down the mountains and into cabins along the riverside. Largely everything seemed back to normal. One family hung up a homemade sign outside their cabin that read, “Thank you, first responders!”

Matt and I had to cross the Poudre River to get to the climbing area to which we were headed, and the water was quite chilly. The experience brought back memories of fording rivers via the infamous Oregon Trail computer game.

Matt prepares to stay the course.

Matt prepares to stay the course.

Our shoes got really wet, and will probably never recover from their river-muck stench. The weather was great – low 60’s and clear skies, which is t-shirt weather in the sun.

The aptly named "Palace" climbing area in Poudre Canyon.

The aptly named “Palace” climbing area in Poudre Canyon.

We crossed the river again to head back to the car just as the sun was going down. Abe unfortunately spent the day at home due to his paralyzing fear of water. We have to return soon as there’s a crimpy, technical 5.12b sport face climb calling our names!

Matt and I are still trying to adjust to the much colder temperatures. It’s much easier to be comfortable when the sun is out, but at night…

Bedtime = down jacket time.

Bedtime = down jacket time.

… the cold sometimes calls for a hot mug of Swiss Miss, a weird bear-themed flannel poncho, a beanie, and a puffy down coat.

Sweet dreams to all!

Hearty Spanish Chicken Soup for Cold Weather

Who wants sooouuuppp???? Everyone loves soup, especially when there are a good five inches of crusty snow on the ground outside. Matt and I just bought season passes to a local ski area in the Snowy Range (yes, that’s really what the mountains are called). I’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before! Even typing out the word “skiing” makes me pause – two i’s? In a row? Is this Danish?

Understandably, I went on a soup kick this past week. In my cooking endeavors thus far, I’ve come to learn that you can go pretty much anywhere with soup so long as you have an onion, some garlic, a can or two of tomatoes, and some broth. Kale is always a welcome addition, of course.

Leftovers make for a good desk lunch!

Leftovers make for a good desk lunch.

Inspired by this hearty recipe, I ended up with the following Spanish-esque chicken soup. The unique mixture of spices makes the dish both sweet and savory. I’d say it serves 4, though you could always add more chicken if needed. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces (I thawed frozen ones)
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, ends removed & cut into 1.5-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup wild rice mix (you can also use white jasmine or basmati rice)
  • 4 cups chicken broth/stock
  • 28oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
Even in a tupperware, it looks pretty

Even in a tupperware, it looks pretty!

Directions:

  • Coarsely chop the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots.
  • Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and celery, alongside a couple pinches of salt & pepper. Saute, stirring frequently until softened.
  • Add the carrots and all 4 cups of the chicken broth. Stir and let simmer over medium heat. Once the liquid is boiling, turn heat to low and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.
  • Pour in the can of tomatoes with its juices. Stir to add the chunks of raw chicken breasts and cut green beans.
  • Add in the wild rice mix with 2 cups of water.
  • Add all the spices (cinnamon, cumin, paprika, oregano, bay leaves) and bring the soup to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the soup once more. Simmer for another 45-60 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Check the soup for seasoning to add more salt if necessary.

Enjoy your yummy soup! If you end up making it, or get inspired by this recipe to make something else, I’d love to hear about it. Let me know how it goes!