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My mom came home a few days before Passover. She used a bunch of sick leave to have a whole week state-side, every day she had a doctor’s appointment (dentist, eye doc, etc.) she was able to use a sick day. Anyway, my dad has a friend who works in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s PR department and he was able to sneak us in on a tour of the new/temporary orchid exhibit with a bunch of local garden club members!

The exhibit closed recently, but here are a few of my photos that actually came out. I was trying to catch how glittery and lush the orchids looked, but I only had my tiny point-and-shoot with me. Oh well.

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5% gone!

In case I haven’t mentioned it, I’m now a proud Weight Watchers member. I just met my 5% goal, meaning that I’ve lost 5% of my body weight since I joined just before Thanksgiving. Yes, that was 4 months ago, but since then we have mover out of our old place, Ben graduated and our families came to celebrate, celebrated MANY holidays, taken a big road trip, lived with my parents for a while, and moving into a new place. I’m pretty proud of myself.

As a little gift, I got a dance video game: Zumba Core. All I have to say is “Whoa, do I feel uncoordinated!” If you think you’re a hot stuff dancer, go for it, if you’re a couch potato who thinks they should move more, stick to the treadmill. I think I’ll do the game every once in a while, but ack! I felt like I was flailing on (or off) the beat and my knees kinda ached the next day. I suppose that’s why they recommend wearing aerobics shoes and not running shoes, but all I have are running shoes! Back to the treadmill I go. Laaa dee dah.

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Around the high holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and for some people Sukkot too), I found out that the office I had been working at over the summer was closing. DOH! Laid off again!

I bummed around the house for a bit, getting REALLY into my yoga practice but still generally bored and baking too much. Then, about a month ago, the executive director at my synagogue contacted me and asked if I would work there until I moved and they hired a real office administrator. I said yes and I’ve been busy since then.

Between working 30 hours/week, going to yoga twice a week, and trying to get to at least one WeightWatchers meet per week I’ve kept myself busy. I wish I could say I’ve been skiing, but the weather has been unusually warm and I don’t have plans to go up until next week. Plus, I’ve been trying to make a big deal of shabbat so that Ben gets a real break in his week. About a week ago he successfully defended his thesis! Not that anyone ever doubted him, but it was nice to see a little note from his advisor and his approval of 72 credit hours of ‘A’ for his thesis work.

Now, we’re trying to get the house ready for Ben’s birthday party next week and then we’ll start packing. We’ve already been slowly purging things, a few paper bags full at a time, and dropping them at the Goodwill truck that parks behind the grocery store. After Ben’s party we’ll start unloading our storage closet and really packing.

For now, other than Ben’s thesis defense (all my photos came out HORRIBLY), the only fun photos I have to share are from Shabbat Hodu, our made-up name for the shabbat following Thanksgiving.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone! I could list a million things I’m thankful for, but I’m going to be lazy and just give everyone a virtual hug >______☺_______<

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You Can’t Go Back Again….. Or Can You? An Essay On Memories and Interlochen – Overbooked and Underpaid: Notes from a Yes-aholic.

I was there in summers before and after the benches were replaced, The Bowl was renovated, Frohlich Piano and Percussion Building  and The Harvey Theatre were opened, so to me it looks EXACTLY how I left it other than uniforms have changed (badges are now on lanyards instead of buttons worn on the hip, and girls are allowed to wear pants -not only shorts or knickers) and there are a few more new buildings that I haven’t seen yet.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

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HORAH PERSONALIZED WALL ART | Jewish Wedding Gift | UncommonGoods. $300

I -so- wish that I could afford this piece for our walls. It is customizable with the text color (though I like the green best), and you can pick the bride and groom’s hair and skin colors. It would be 100% perfect if the artist could add glasses and a halter top to the bride!

We don’t even have a single wedding print up on the wall, the only photos we have at all are from some of my world travels in the study, the rest of the art on our walls are prints, paintings, and embroideries from all over the world. We’re so weird about our wedding photos. I made an album out of the proofs, but we STILL haven’t finalized our wedding album for printing (it has 2 too many pages and we’ve needed to thin it and thin it for the last 18 months, this is the 3rd or 4th round of edits!).

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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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This recipe make a TON of scones. I baked them like a cookie bar a 9×3 AND an 8×8 lined with parchment. You could easily half the recipe and make it either as written or in an 11″ spring-form if you’re like me and too lazy to shape your scones without letting a pan do it for you.

I served these scones with Rhubarb Vanilla Jam, a small batch recipe from Sweet Domesticity. Though next time I make this jam I’ll use a low-sugar pectin and only 3/4 of the sugar called for. It is way too sweet for my taste, but I only made it a week ago, so maybe it just needs to mellow out some more. Also, when making jam I always use Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, instead of vanilla extract because it gives you those awesome little vanilla flecks without the expense or hassle of a whole vanilla bean. Yes, it carries its own over-sweet notes, but those cook out in a good jam anyway and blend with the sugar and fruity flavors of whatever you’re making.

The scone recipe is below the jump.

(more…)

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This graphic is 100% representative of our bed. Poor Ben. He usually makes up for it by taking 1/2 of the comforter and dropping it off his side or the end of the bed so that I’m just holding onto the top left corner and have my feet tucked under his when we wake up.

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3 Speed Fiets Women’s | Schwinn Bicycles.

Just incase you want to spend $300 on me for my birthday. Its just a few months away! I would ride it to/from the bus, to/from synagogue, and to/from the grocery store. It is so cute, and it has a removable little basket!

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Since mid January I’ve been working part-time, as a contract legal assistant in Golden. It’s great. I really enjoy estate planning, it’s helpful! Seriously, law mostly feels like civilized arguing, but estate planning is helpful to the people who seek it out. OK, I’ll stop kvelling.

What else is going on….. Our betta fish, Mr. Rocky Balbetta, has been adopted out after eating my oldest cherry shrimp, one of the younger shrimps is now pregnant (although it’s her first clutch and she drops an egg or two every time she shifts her gestational sack to poo). We also added two spiky dwarf snails to the aquarium, who ate all the algae off the windows in 3 days! Now we have to add algae tablets to the tank once a week to keep them well fed.

Two weeks ago was Ben’s lab ski retreat. I did the meal planning and took the two first-years who organized the trip to Costco. They seemed to think it was going to be a bachannal, it wasn’t. Some of the older students (Ben’s age and post-docs) brought their Magic The Gathering cards, and someone else brought National Parks Monopoly. It was what we all needed, two days of great skiing and evenings of eating too much and hanging out in the hot tub.

Last week, Ben and I went to a preconception class at the Boulder Community Hospital. It made us realize that 1) BCH is awesome and it would be a great place to birth a baby, 2) we’re not financially or really even emotionally ready to have a baby, and 3) I need to loose 10-15% of my body weight to have as healthy a pregnancy as I can. That might take a while. The good news is that I can indulge my selfish emotions and spending habits by continuing to ski, buying new skis, and exercising on them in the meantime. So the only thing that’s changed since the Affordable Healthcare Act has upgraded my insurance to include dental and maternity care is that I’m going to the dentist next week and I’m experimenting with starting pre-natal vitamins and trying to find one that doesn’t block me up (apparently high doses of good-for-you-stuff makes me have sad tummy). Please, don’t ask about anything until Ben graduates (December at the earliest).

This past weekend I fell in love with a pair of demo skis. I’ve been using Becca’s old skis, but they’re not right for me, so I rented a pair of regular old intermediate skis and HATED them. Seriously, I don’t know how to ski on those, it was like skiing on 2x4s, so I went back to the rental shop and told them as much, after chit-chatting with the technician he asked what I usually ski on (busted old hand-me-down 156 Nordica Dobermann skis with some seriously heavy racer bindings). He gave me last year’s Volkl Kenja skis, 149, and ultralight Marker bindings, and I fell in love with them. They’re some of the lightest skis in the all-mountain category, and they felt GREAT, but I’m not sold yet. So, Thursday, Lisa and I are going up for a Women’s demo day, up at Loveland, to try out my dream skis and some cheaper ones too. Becca and her dad, Ed, have sourced my dream skis for $425, un-mounted, and I’ve heard rumors of financial assistance when it comes to bindings…. That’s still a lot of money compared to the free ones I was on, but those no longer suit me.

Also this past weekend was  a big fundraiser dinner for Aish Kodesh, the local modern orthodox congregation. I got a free ticket by being one of the board members for the local Jewish CSA (Tuv Ha’aretz), since we donated a large share with a fruit share to their congregation (the original idea was that it could be used for kiddishes but they decided to auction it off, whatever), so they gave us a ticket to the gala as a thank you. It ended up being one of the highest valued ticket items, and one of the most bid on too. Ben was able to go as a representative of our Young Adult Minyan for only $36, and we entered the iPod Touch raffle and big on a pair of earrings (and won!), so we didn’t feel like complete free-loaders. It was fun and we actually knew a lot of people there.

Finally, this week my boss in Golden is out of town (thus the Thursday ski trip), so I’m working about an hour a day from home for her. It’s nice to have a mini vacation! I get to blog, catch up with my TiVo, give the aquarium a through cleaning, and I’m going to experiment with making granola tomorrow and elaborate challah braids later this week.

So there you go, great voyeurs of the internets, you should all be caught up on the past month’s major goings on now.

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