Archive for the ‘Boulder’ Category

Apparently it is NaBoloPoMo, yeah, I didn’t know what that meant either until I looked it up. National Blog Posting Month, where folks challenge themselves to blog everyday to get [back] into the habit of it. I’m not sure I can come up with something worth sharing EVERYDAY, but I can go for 2-3x week (at most).

Sunrise in Boulder, CO

Between my new job, (which I started after returning from Labor Day/Rosh Hashanah week Boulder, during in the middle of the High Holidays), commuting, and general house chores I am exhausted most of the time. Thankfully the major holidays are over and things have settled down to our new normal. We attend Segulah Minyan every other week, and blob out at home and maybe stock up on local produce and other items at the farmers market on the alternate weeks. Ben has been keeping me sane by packing my lunch every morning, otherwise I’d be spending all my hard-earned on lunches (plus I’d be breaking my personal policy of not eating out more than 1x week).

Here are a few photos from our week in Boulder. It was SO nice to spend time with friends (and their baby bellies and babies), as well as have some time with Ben where I didn’t feel like I was keeping him from work or where either of us were competing with a laptop for the others attention. Sometimes we have trouble putting our gadgets down, it’s a work-in-progress.

Yom Kippur was a Segulah Minyan event, at a rented church social hall in Sheppard Park/Silver Spring. Services were great and I actually felt present for most of them, but it really punctuated how much we miss CBS in Boulder. Speaking of Congregation Bonai Shalom, the synagogue was CRIPPLED by the flooding in Boulder in mid-September (it started 2 days before Yom Kippur, which was thankfully held at nearby Naropa University’s East Campus). Reading the news out of Boulder in mid-September was terrifying and sad. If you have any pennies to share, I’m sure Bonai would appreciate them (instructions on how to donate via email or phone are on their website).

You’ve already seen our photos of the AMAZING sukkah Ben built on the patio, and my friend Jennifer came down from NY for the day for the first day of sukkot (we dwelled with dinner, brunch over the news paper in the AM, and general lazy lounging in the afternoon after a nice walk exploring my neighborhoof) before she had to head back to the city for work the next day. Boo. We don’t see each other enough. I guess I need to take a turn and go to New York again!

What else is going on….

Weight Watchers as a program is great, but my progress has been glacially slow. lately I’ve either hit a plateau or gotten lazier at tracking than I thought. Blergh. Soon it will be cold enough to blame it on heavy winter clothes, but that trick only works once!

Now that we’ve moved past the craziness of ALL the Jewish holidays feeling like they are ALL AT ONCE (it always feels like that when they swallow Shabbat whole, or turn it into a virtual 3-day chag), and I’ve gotten more used to my 8 hour + lunch day, things are settling down.

In more upbeat news:

In late September we helped my friend Andrea, from way-back-when at IAC, move from her temporary furnished apartment into a gorgeous flat in Adams Morgan. She’s pregnant and her husband was traveling for work and Ben and I didn’t want her trying to unpack without help! We also explored her neighborhood a little (all new to all of us) and ate some awesome falafel and fries for lunch and pizza for dinner, YUM! It was the first real fall-weather day we’d had and it was crisp and beautiful. It was a bit of a shame we spent it unpacking, washing bedding, installing a new printer, and buying what felt like ALL THE THINGS at Target, but it showed off how great her apartment is that the windows really let in the light and air and it was still nice and quiet even though she’s 1/2 a block from a major urban shopping/dining area (think Pearl Street in Boulder). I’m kinda jealous.

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Apparently my wedding dress was on-trend when I bought it (I’m watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on TV right now). Herminone’s dress from Slugworth’s Christmas party is like a v-neck version of my wedding dress in pink, BEAUTIFUL!

Who knew that I could be trendy? I think of myself as fairly conservative, and possibly frumpy when it comes to fashion. I prefer a boxy college t-shirt and/or hoodie and Levi’s to most other forms of clothing for everyday-wear.

Ben’s parents were in town for the week of Sukkot. There was a LOT of eating out, and Ben and his dad had a lot of time to chat about Ben’s papers that are in the cue for publication and his forthcoming thesis and defense presentation. While they were here, I feel like I ate more in8 days than I usually eat in 14!

To celebrate our anniversary Ben’s parents took us out to dinner at Jill’s, the restaurant at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa, where we were married. It was yummy! The flambé cart that they purchased for our wedding dessert is in regular rotation in the dining room with table-side bananas foster on the dessert menu (along with shrimp scampi and a table-side preparation of Caesar salad too). It was a yummy night on the town.

As soon as it gets here, I’ll publish some photos of our anniversary present to ourselves. I used a Groupon (and spent a $10 voucher I had) to buy a print of one of our wedding photos on aluminum. It should be pretty cool.

We don’t have a single wedding print framed in the house! When I had a desk I had one of our engagement photos framed on my desk, but the only wedding prints we have are in our de facto wedding album! I figured that two years later it was time to fix that.

Dang. I don’t seem to have a digital copy of the engagement photo I used to have on my desk. Here’s a paint version:

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I finally feel like I have the right number of friends: enough that I can call someone if I need someone to talk to and not overwhelm any one person but not so many that I feel like I’m constantly playing catchup to keep up with all of my friends.

Then there are my volunteer commitments, I recently backed out of one because I didn’t want to leave them in a bind when we move, and am looking for someone to replace me in 2 others (CSA media/newsletter writing and shabbat kiddish team). I’m concerned that once I leave our CSA will have no media presence and no bi-weekly newsletter. Bleh. I hate that I let things get so reliant on me!

Employment is a whole other issue. The firm I’d been working for all summer sold their building and closed shop. Doh. Thankfully, I had an interview for a new job before the old office was even packed out. Supposedly I’m the first choice of the interviewees, but they’re still debating whether to fill the position or just shuffle current personnel to fill the vacancy. I’ll just keep waiting. Until then, I get my last paycheck, for a 1/2 day’s work tomorrow. That ought to cover the groceries and tank of gas I bought on Sunday. I felt torn about even taking the interview, I don’t want to make them feel like I’m abusing the job opportunity by taking it for only a few months and then leaving, but I need a job. Our savings our not as much as we’d hoped to have by the time Ben graduates in December, so the only way we can really afford the 2-3 week trip to Europe we’d been hoping to take is if I get a job and put most of what I make into our savings account so that we don’t deplete it by taking a month off to move and go traipsing around Europe (my mom is currently working as a Child Psychiatrist for the US Army in Germany).

Yes, it’s offical: Ben is graduating in December. He’s been extended an offer to apply for a job at UMD College Park and is planning to take it. I’ve been looking at townhouses and condos online, since rent in places that aren’t corporate apartment megaplexes are PRICY! We can afford a tiny bungalow, but those are all old and require lots of maintenance, something I don’t think we’ll have the time or desire to care for if we also want to grow our family.

I’ve been chatting with a realtor who is looking for an end unit townhome or upper level condo with 3 beds and 2 baths that is near a bus line connecting to UMD and in Montgomery County. She’s found us a few things worth visiting if we were closer, but I’m sure they’ll all be sold in 3 months when we’re closer to moving. We’ll have to visit some synagogues in the area too, but

Uh, and to compound it all there’s family planning mishagas to deal with. No, I’m not pregnant, despite the unflattering outfits I sometimes wear and once-overs from old ladies. I don’t want to be until we’re settled somewhere. I just bought new skis! Skiing is probably a no-no while pregnant, even early on, so I’ll just nip that in the bud and keep taking the little orange pills. Also, I have trouble sleeping when I’m stressed. I’m guessing that moving and looking for a home will be stressful. I prefer to tackle challenges one at a time when possible. No babies (yet).

What other brain-dumps can I make on the internet? My in-laws are in town for sukkot. They’re here in time to watch people spin around helplessly after a teacher/awesome lady at our synagogue lost her battle with pancreatic cancer last week. The funeral is today, in half an hour. I’m having trouble deciding if I want to go, it’s so beautiful outside and I’m in a weird mood. Also, I volunteered to make shabbat dinner for her husband and adult son next week.

In other news both of my brothers are currently employed (Dan in San Francisco and David in DC, living at my parents house). Apparently only 2 of the 3 of us can be in a goos spot financially at a time. Doh!

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High Park Fire Larimer County Colorado

High Park Fire Larimer County Colorado (Photo credit: Striking Photography by Bo)

It smells like campfire outside, and it’s not a good thing. The High Park Fire is burning outside of Fort Collins (about 40 miles north of Boulder), and so far has consumed over 43,000 acres (over 8 square miles). The fire was started by a lightning strike 3 days ago. It started in the late evening, only 2 acres, and as the winds picked up over night it grew and grew and grew.

What I want to talk about here is how selfish it is to even start a fire. The last 2 fires I remember hearing about in Colorado were both caused by people. 2010’s Four Mile Fire, here in Boulder, was caused by a fire pit rekindling. The owner of said fire pit was a firefighter! He thought he’d done everything he could, but the fire still won. About a month ago there was the Hewlett fire, that was started by a camp stove.

Now, I have friends who are getting married this weekend and their website claims that “in staunch defiance of the fire ban,” they will have a bonfire at their havdalah kumzitz. I want to yell and scream at them that there are TWO synagogues within 500 feet of where they want to have this bonfire, but I don’t have the balls to, so instead I’ll be passive aggressive and hope that they read this.

If someone who knows my otherwise awesome friends who are getting married on Sunday reads this, please pass along this message to them. I don’t want to bring them down before their wedding and I don’t feel close enough to call them out on this bullshit.

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Eclipse viewing glasses can be used to observe...

Eclipse viewing glasses. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, CU’s Fiske Planetarium hosted a big eclipse watching party at Folsom Field to watch the partial solar eclipse. Admission was by proving that you had solar viewing paper safety glasses (like old-school 3-D movie glasses) that were given away for free at local schools and at the university OR if you bought a pair for $2 at the concession stand before entering the stadium.

Those paper glasses work! You can’t see anything but the sun, and then it’s a weird orange color. I tried taking a photo through them and failed, here’s Becca’s photo instead, taken right before the sun sunk behind the mountains.

the orange double is just a reflection between the camera lens and the solar viewing glasses

Ben also brought his binoculars, which we used every few minutes (clouds permitting), to project the sun onto the risers of the bleachers between our legs. Not the most comfortable, but definitely an awesome view! You can just make out the outline of the mountains as the sun is setting in this projection. Amazing!

projecting the eclipse with binoculars

I’m looking forward to using my solar viewing glasses again in a week to see the transit of Venus in front of the sun!

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Exactly one year ago I put on this dress (with the help of my girlfriends):
Then I met Ben in the rotunda of the St. Julien Hotel and Spa:
Then we went to our Bidekin:

taking the rabbi's talit to symbolize choosing my husband

Where we signed these documents:
And stood under this chuppah:
quilted chuppah
Where we drank wine:
Where supported by our Rabbi and our friends:
And supported by our families:
Put on our wedding bands:
Then we kissed:

the "OMG, we're married!" kiss (with our beautiful ketubah in the background)

And we realized how blessed we are (and kissed some more):
Partied a little:
Lit some bananas foster on fire:
And had lots of fun at a bar:
And ended the night hanging out alone here:

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why Boulder?

Why not?! Boulder is where we live and a beautiful and amazing place.

Originally, we’d planned on marrying in DC or Northern Virginia, near where I grew up and my immediate family all live. Then things got complicated. My grandfather passed away last spring (April 2009), and we realized that having him there was what had been tying us to DC and without that we could be married anywhere!

There are two main reasons we chose Boulder, 1) it’s where we live and can easily plan things in a hands-on way without having to pay for any travel expenses beyond a tank of gas and 2) the cost of hosting the wedding here will be significantly less per person than in DC or northern VA, so we’re able to invite more people. The downfall of getting married out here is that it is virtually a destination wedding, even though we live here, we’re asking the vast majority of our guests to travel here to celebrate with us.

Does the blog-o-sphere have any input on destination weddings? Is it somehow weird or rude to ask people to travel to you, rather than going to where most of them are? I figure that it’s our wedding, and that everyone can plan their own wedding as they wish.

Sequoia, a restaurant in DC

original wedding & reception location


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I get the nervous giggles. Especially when giggles can be inappropriate, like auditions, or when someone is trying to take my photo. Oops. At least I learned yesterday that smiling for 4 hours doesn’t hurt my face like I thought it might. [side note- I wonder at what time of day my face will hurt, from smiling so much, on our wedding day]

Taking our engagement photos yesterday with Debi and Amanda was a blast. We started with a picnic near the Flatirons, up behind the Boulder NIST buildings. While walking back, Ben and I climbed on some rocks and stood in tall grasses to take some more photos. Then it was off to the St. Julien, where we changed into our fancy clothes and then took some photos of us all dressed up and eating ice cream (and by the rainbow wall).

view from near our picnic spot, only 5 minutes from the car!

These ladies have some serious camera stamina! They took almost 750 photos of us! Wow. I wonder how many will come out well, 1/2? 1/3? 1/4? It doesn’t matter, as long as we have a few where we both look like us, and without bra/spanx/xyz issues. The point was to get accustomed to being in front of the camera and spend some time with our photographers so that we’re not all strangers in 4 months when they are our wedding day shadows.

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Tentative Venue Decision

I think we’re getting married at the St. Julien Hotel in downtown Boulder. The major decider: a weather backup plan. Although October is the sunniest month of the year in Boulder, I don’t want to bet 100% that it will be beautiful outside. Yes, we’re still planning on having an outdoor ceremony but if it rains we can all smoosh into 1/3 of the ballroom. They can set up something like 120 seats, and everyone else can stand around the edges/in the back. As far as I know, the ceremony will only be 30 minutes or so.

On thing I wonder is: Who is Saint Julien? Turns out, no one in particular (according to wikipedia), and I’m OK with that. I was just curious. Though Saint Julian is considered to be the saint of hospitality.

Now, I need to meet with the planner there again and hash out the financial details. As in, can we actually afford it? We’d be considered a budget wedding for this venue and would need to hire a coordinator for the ceremony, contact a rental company to get the fencing you see in the background of the photo below. That succesfully covers up Canyon Street and the Library. I love the library, but I’d rather have the focus on Ben, me, and the Flatirons behind us. Oh, and we’ll getting married in that back corner, with people in chairs on the lawn. That gazebo thing, SO not our style. Plus, why would we want to put our awesome chuppah that my mom will be quilting for us under a gazebo AND face away from the mountains?

from customweddingsofcolorado.com

from customweddingsofcolorado.com

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Friday night, Ben and I went to check out the Hazel Miller Band at the Millennium Hotel, the place with the yurt. Remember how I couldn’t check out the bathrooms when we visited because they were locked. I kinda wish I’d never seen them….

Yurt Bathroom

I told my dad that they reminded me of CCC park restrooms. His response: “Heh, oooh. Not good.” Correct, not good. The public restrooms on Pearl Street are nicer! There is almost nothing that can be done with just a bathroom basket to nicen this place up, it’s just BLAH. Small, cramped, un-heated in the winter and BLAH. So, we decided that lest our guests believe that we never checked out the restrooms before booking the beautiful yurt, we said good bye to the Millennium Hotel.

From there, where the music was too loud for Mr. Ben’s sensitive ears anyway, we were still in search of dinner. The original plan had been to try out the food at the Millennium while there were other people there instead of being doted on in an almost empty hotel restaurant. I would have felt awkward when they asked where we were visiting from as opposed to going on a busy night meant for locals.

We decided to check out the Chautauqua Dining Hall for dinner. From inside the Millennium I called to see if we needed a reservation (we didn’t), and we were on our way. 15 minutes later we were walking up to the Dining Hall. At first I thought we were under dressed, wearing jeans and all, but once we got there I noticed two things 1) there was a wedding inside the main dining room and 2) not only were were not under dressed, in jeans, hiking shoes and a fleece jacket we were dress EXACTLY like 90% of the clientele that evening who weren’t wedding guests. Even the waitstaff were wearing kaki cargo pants/shorts and t-shirts with a silhouette of the Fiddler on the Roof with the caption of “a taste of tradition…” I like blending in.

Pasta Primavera

We shared a very good salad caprice as an appetizer, Ben had the Trout Amandine and I had the Fusilli Primavera. I thought Fusilli were the bowties, oh well, giant elbows are good too. Both our dishes were perfectly cooked and delicious. After we inhaled the appetizer and were sopping up the balsamic vinegar with the crusty sourdough table bread, I said “I just got a waft of something yummy.” Almost immediately, our food arrived! I’ll have to take Ben’s word for it since his dinner was covered in evil allergens, but he said his food was perfect too. Mine was so good that I couldn’t resist digging in before I shot the above photo. Sadly both photos I tried to take of Ben’s plate came out sad and fuzzy looking. Oh well. Low lighting is not the best for an older digital point and shoot.

Dessert was by far the best course. A lemon tart. Yum. Ben said the decaf was good too, again, I’ll take his word for it since I’m not a coffee drinker at all.

So, now we’re still deciding between the St. Julien, somewhere else (which is now the Chautauqua Dining Hall), and the elusive Flagstaff House Restaurant. We haven’t gotten to visit Flagstaff because we wanted to try the food but it’s too pricy for us while I’m out of a job. St. Julien is no wilting flower in the price department either, but we can still afford to go there for lunch and know that the food is wonderful. Flagstaff is only open for dinner by reservation only.

Would anyone like to gift us a fancy night out for two? We’ll be responsible (fiscally and calorically) and share the starter and dessert, or main and dessert, and drink tap water too so that we can keep our tab under $100. Anyone? No?I didn’t think so. My dad had better come visit soon, maybe he’ll take us….

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