Author Archives: Jacquie '11

the aspens

“I like being near the top of a mountain. One can’t get lost here.”
Wislawa Szymborska

Colorado high country is known for its aspens. The beautiful, color-changing trees lose the green of summer leaves and take on a rich yellow hue in the beginning of fall – generally around mid-September. Travelers come from all over the country to watch the aspens turn gold, and to explore Colorado in car, on bike and on foot. Over the year’s first block break, a few friends and I went up to the Maroon Bells outside of the city of Aspen to spend some time outside and watch the colors change ourselves.

maroon bells

Though our original plan was a four pass loop, we ended up backpacking over Buckskin Pass and camping near Snowmass Lake, taking day trips away from our beachfront home. We were completely isolated and alone – surrounded only by water, trees, sky and 14ers. We passed afternoons lounging by the lake, eating trail mix and peanut butter, and mostly appreciating the peace and four and a half days to adventure in the mountains.

lake

It was a great first block break and a perfect way to relax between classes, spend time with friends and breathe in some fresher, high-altitude mountain air. And, of course, to walk amongst the aspens as they changed color.

trees

Kaiser and Cartel

KaiserCartel is an indie/folk pop duo from Brooklyn New York that makes beautiful music and puts on an amazingly personal and entertaining show. Courtney Kaiser and Ben Cartel both write, sing and play multiple instruments and create/compose music that is both light and easygoing and darker and heavy as well.

guitar

KaiserCartel performed last week at Shuga’s, an adorable, hip restaurant-bar in Colorado Springs. The two are close with the restaurant’s owners and visit to play for Shuga’s guests and KaiserCartel fans frequently. Our table was about two feet away from Courtney’s mike; the pair would pause between each song to chat it up a bit and connect with the audience; and finished their show with an acoustic number. The lights were dimmed, Ben grabbed his guitar and Courtney her xylophone, and they left their mikes to roam through the audience, pausing for a few moments to quietly serenade each table.

Their most recent album, Secret Transit, was released just a few months ago (June 2010) and they’re currently touring around in their Prius (named Gertie) sharing their love and music. The album has a great mix of songs from two very talented and lovable musicians, and 15% of all proceeds will go to a non-profit organization called Art of Conservation in Rwanda they are currently working with. I don’t even know these two but I’ll do some advertising: Click here to be directed to their website and donate now! It is seriously a great CD and such an incredible cause.

audience

KaiserCartel’s performance was and their work with Art of Conservation is unique, touching and inspirational. I am a huge fan of them. I think you should be too.

(Excuse the photos – flashes wouldn’t have been chill.)

A slice of one of their older songs:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrNJhIi3VZM[/youtube]

young drivers

“Few driving tasks are as intimidating as parallel parking.”
-The DMV

This young one has mastered it by age 4.

This post has absolutely no intellectual value to it or driving purpose, I simply thought it was a funny thing to share. Little people are hilarious.

My family and I were eating at a restaurant on the main strip of Columbia City, seated by the window. I was staring out as I listened to my younger sister’s incredibly enticing recount of her day, and all of the sudden a little blondie in his convertible cruiser drove up (on the sidewalk, nonetheless) next to the window and began parking. He had the technique nailed. Sliding his small plastic car between a wooden bench and potted plant, he maneuvered the car perfectly in this tight space. More surprisingly – he did everything right. He pulled up next to the bench, put the car in reverse, pulled his arm across the passenger seat to look behind him and eased the car into the spot. We had to jockey a bit to get the car perfectly straight but the car was good to go, sufficiently close to the window and he succeeded in not hitting the bench or pot. Once satisfied, he hoped over the door of the car and ran up to catch his dad, lamely on foot, as they headed into the bakery.

He did, however, leave the keys in the ignition.

child parking

lavender fields forever

“If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.”
-Terri Guillemets

fields

There is no way to not love the feeling of standing in a field of flowers – whatever flower they may be – surrounded. This weekend I visited Vashon Island (a quick ferry ride from West Seattle) with my wonderful mother for a peaceful Saturday afternoon. We visited the farmers’ market (and ate probably the most delicious cinnamon roll ever enjoyed); strolled surprisingly abandoned beaches and stopped by some lavender fields to pick a few bunches for home.

This was my first visit to a lavender field on Vashon. And ever. We visited the oldest farm on the island, Lavender Hill Farm , currently owned by actress Catherine MacNeal. Her house sits perched on a hill with a view eastward of Seattle and the Sound, and rows and rows of lavender fall down the hill toward the ocean. My mother and I gathered lavender for fresh vases at home and to dry and save around the house. And, of course, for the smell.

bunches

some things just require [pie]

“A great many things can be solved with kindness
Even more with laughter
But there are some things that just require cake.”
-Unknown

Pie 1

Or pie.
I realize all I ever talk about now is food. Perhaps my greatest love – and I feel no shame in sharing it. This pie is AWESOME. We picked up the peaches from the farmers’ market in Old Colorado City and they made for absolutely mouth-watering unforgettable deliciousness.
Bonus lesson: pies make friends.

Pie 2

Try it yourself:
Peach Pie the Old Fashioned Two Crust Way

Ingredients:
– 1 (15 ounce) package pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
– 1 egg, beaten
– 5 cups sliced peeled peaches
– 2 tablespoons lemon juice
– 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 cup white sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later.
3. Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently. Pour into the pie crust, and dot with butter. Cover with the other pie crust, and fold the edges under. Flute the edges to seal or press the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in egg. Brush the remaining egg over the top crust. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.
4. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the vents. If the edges brown to fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool before serving. This tastes better warm than hot.

Happy baking!

happy birthday America

One of the things we love most about summer? Barbeques. Fourth of July? …Barbeques. What a perfect day to go big with the grill – meat, corn, bananas, peppers and whatever else finds its way to that metal rack. Then of course add “potluck” to it all and pies, salads, watermelon and a beautiful array of salsas magically appear.

Charlie

This year’s Fourth consisted of serious sun, food, porches and games. (And around 10pm a hailstorm.) The procession began at the big red house with the first barbeque, the backyard and tunes. We moved on to Yampa Field for Slip N Slide, soccer, Frisbee, and more lounging, music and meat. We found ourselves welcoming the evening from porches and pretty much forgot altogether the clock from then on.

Lauren

Just a quick insight into our birthday celebration at CC! What a wonderful day to spend time with friends, eat delicious food and enjoy a summer afternoon..

Girls

Hope you all enjoyed your Fourths as well!

making caramel apples in July

Sometimes fall comes early. As a native Washingtonian and lover of all things fruit and candy, naturally making caramel apples seemed the ideal summer activity. I was recently informed by a friend’s mother (thank you Mary) that we are not actually in the prime of apple season, and the apple-making party would have been better suited for fall. I still maintain that the apples (especially those loaded with caramel, graham crackers and cinnamon sugar) were amazing and the day could not have been better spent. How could anyone ever say no to sugar.
So on a hot Saturday in July, we fast-forwarded to the apple harvesting of October, dipped, rolled and sprinkled our Granny Smiths, letting the sunburn sink in as we went.

Caramel apple

Sounds delectable, doesn’t it? Below is an incredibly simple recipe for the caramel. I would strongly encourage creativity with decoration – we considered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, marshmallows, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, any nut, M&Ms, butterscotch chips and Oreos.
My tips and recommendations: 1) Let the caramel cool and thicken (perhaps more than you would expect) before dipping; 2) Wrapped caramels will generally come with traditional popsicle sticks – don’t worry about buying a separate pack; 3) Add a bit more caramel to the mix to allow for more deliciousness on apple; 4) Let apples set on wax paper (obviously, save the mess); 5) Let apples cool in fridge, and definitely not the sun.

Now for the deets, thanks to AllRecipes.com:
Ingredients
– 6 Granny Smith apples
– 6 wooden sticks
– 1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
– 2 tablespoons water
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1. Insert wooden sticks 3/4 of the way into the stem end of each apple. Place apples on a cookie sheet covered with lightly greased aluminum foil.
2. Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until caramel melts and is smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Dip each apple into the caramel and gently run apples around insides of saucepan to scrape off some of the caramel. Scrape excess caramel from the apple bottoms using the side of the saucepan. Place on the aluminum foil and chill until ready to serve.

dipping


Click here to view the recipe online

(And check out other awesome caramel apple recipes!)

word art

“A poem should not mean
But be.”
Ars Poetica

I’m not sure I could ever articulate what exactly it is about words that I find myself so drawn to – so incredibly mesmerized by. To me, words are absolute beauty, and I still believe words create the most beauty I will ever find in this world. Their sounds, the way they look on paper and they way they fit together captivate me, and rarely fail to produce immediate feeling, emotion and thought upon reading or writing them. For as long as I can remember this inexplicable passion has followed me; I have been collecting books, poems, quotations and lyrics and pasting them everywhere from the paint on my walls to the margins of my school notebooks.

The first book I ever (consciously) saved was a children’s collection of poetry and nursery rhymes my parents gave me from Australia. My first memorized lines came from the beginning of one of my mother’s favorite poems, Poe’s The Bells (how they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle in the icy air of night. While the stars that oversprinkle, all the heavens seem to twinkle…). I have also been writing for most of my life. Underneath my bed at home I have a box of worn and overused journals storing thoughts and words from the past ten or fifteen years – recording everything from what type of division homework my third grade teacher left me to short stories about stars and spacecars to hundreds of pieces of poetry.

Perhaps later I’ll find the courage to share some of those pieces. Today, I write to share some of the words that will forever remain beautiful to me… and to perhaps inspire an appreciation of words as well.

——————————————-

The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm
Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Mock Orange
Louise Gluck

It is not the moon, I tell you.
It is these flowers
lighting the yard.

I hate them.
I hate them as I hate sex,
the man’s mouth
sealing my mouth, the man’s
paralyzing body—

and the cry that always escapes,
the low, humiliating
premise of union—

In my mind tonight
I hear the question and pursuing answer
fused in one sound
that mounts and mounts and then
is split into the old selves,
the tired antagonisms. Do you see?
We were made fools of.
And the scent of mock orange
drifts through the window.

How can I rest?
How can I be content
when there is still
that odor in the world?

——————————————-

Explore some other well-known (wonderful) pieces and poets:

i carry your heart with me
e.e.cummings

Puedo escribir
Pabla Neruda

Knoxville Tennessee
Nikki Giovanni

My Father’s Hats
Mark Irwin

Questions About Angels
Billy Collins

beautiful people and places

“The earth belongs to anyone who stops for a moment, gazes and goes on his way”
Colette, French Writer

chile
Graffiti in Valparaiso, Chile

mex
A house door in Sayulita, Mexico

bolivia
Salt flats near Uyuni, Bolivia

utah
Dark Canyon near Zion National Park, Utah

salta
Central plaza in Salta, Argentina

patagonia
Glaciar Perito Moreno near El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina

austria
River in the Pinzgau Valley, Austria

slovakia
Town center in Bratislava, Slovkia

india
Young girl in rural village of the Melghat region, India

hw
Wild horses on the island of Maui, Hawaii

Thanks for looking.

the love of food

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”
-George Bernard Shaw

peaches

Summer is mostly about food. It’s a simple fact of life. So naturally, this past Saturday morning two housemates and I set out in search of a farmers’ market. Our hearts were set on Old Colorado City’s opening day. Live music, artists, and farmers – trucking along cartons of fresh produce. What more could you ask for from a Saturday morning? Unfortunately, Opening Day had been pushed back a week. Determined not to surrender to heartbreak, we continued chasing our morning plans and Colorado Springs Farmers’ Markets. Much to our surprise, we unveiled a hole-in-the-wall market, if you will… a hidden gem. Being the broke college students we are, with standards a little too high for our checking accounts, we found ourselves practically dodging all of the free food being thrown at us. We stopped by a bakery on the way back and headed home to set up breakfast.

The three of us sat on our front porch for the fair part of the afternoon, eating makeshift bruschettas with pesto and asiago bread, rosemary and garlic olive oil and perfectly ripe farm fresh tomatoes. Sweet peas and peaches on the side.

apples

peppers

“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson

eat