Saturday, November 22, 2008

Piedra River Trail

We took a trip to Pagosa Springs. This picture is from our hike along the Piedra River Trail. After this, we soaked in the hot springs and had a tasty mocha latte at a cafe and gallery owned by a really nice couple.

UPDATE: If you're in Pagosa Springs, make sure you stop by The Quaking Aspen for some organic foods and some cool photography.

Friday, November 21, 2008


It may look like a dangerous thorny plant but it's just the balusters on our deck, covered in a wicked frost.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How does anyone ever learn to read this language?

As I've mentioned before, I work with the Children's Literacy Center, tutoring and acting as a site coordinator. It's fulfilling helping the kids, and they really enjoy it.

What I don't understand is how the heck anyone ever learns to read the English language. There are no hard and fast rules. Really. There's "i before e, except after c or when it sound like a, as in neighbor and weigh." But what about height and weird? And one the kids taught me: "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking -- like in ceiling or quiet. Oops. Guess that one doesn't follow the rules either. (Hey! There's another one right there.) When a kid is struggling with a word, you can't always tell him to sound it out. Think about sounding out the word "phone" or "one." Then you see words with "gh" in them, like "through" (makes the "oo" sound), "though" (makes the long "o" sound) and "cough" (makes an "awf" sound) and things just spiral into insanity.

Luckily kids are really smart and really resilient, so they take this in stride. They trust us when we tell them that's just how it is. They work hard to remember the rules and don't get too frustrated by the "naughty words" that don't follow the rules -- or any rule at all. Seriously, look at "two." What kind of word is that?

Here's an interesting factoid for you today:
Studies have shown the relationship between language development in early childhood and later success in reading. Parents and other family members have great influence on a child’s development of language and other pre-literacy skills.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No pain, no gain

We've all heard the slogan no pain, no gain. I always subscribed to the idea of no pain, no pain. I worked out. I just never believed I had to hurt in order to be in shape. When I did wind up with sore muscles, I knew not to push myself quite so hard next time. I think it worked for me. Granted I've never really been buff, but I'd like to think I look OK.

But now, I've gone and done it. In taking up running, I have caused myself pain in the name of fitness. I know there's a difference between muscle pain and joint pain. I've experienced both. I know to stretch and work through the achy muscles and to rest and rehab achy joints. But this latest pain is worse than achy muscles or sore joints, and it's not something I can really work through.

I have a blister on the arch of my foot! I didn't realize my sock had bunched up there. And I must have been in the zone, because I didn't feel it until walking around later. And I could sure feel it today when I ran. I'm not going to let it stop me. If Tiger Woods could win the U.S. Open with a broken leg, surely I can run with a little blister. I mean, sure, he had to play one of the toughest games of his life, and I just have to get through a non-competitive 5k. But, yeah, they're comparable.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Four books I want to read by the end of the year

I know I'm being overly optimistic thinking I can get through these. But I'm going to give it a shot.

1. "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck
I'm halfway through this one, but it goes on the list because I have to finish it.
2. "Dreams From My Father" by Barack Obama
I want to know more about our next president.
3. "The Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama
Ok, I want to know a lot more. And I got a discount at for ordering them together.
4. "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Polan
I started this but haven't finished it. It's not much fun. But I feel it's "important" to read. This is the one book I'm not sure I'll get through. But I'll give it another shot because it comes highly recommended by two different friends.

I can get through these books if I sit down and read, rather than let myself get distracted by what's on TV or some stupid computer game. I do have other things I have to get done (besides TV and computer games) so unfortunately, I can't just sit and read all day. I would if I could.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Always preparing

I've thought of a side benefit to training for a 5k run: When the zombie apocalypse comes, I'll have the stamina to outrun them* -- or at least I'll be able to outrun all the people who don't work out, giving me time to get away.

*Of course, if they're the fast-moving variety, I'm still totally screwed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Did you ever notice

Did you ever notice when manufacturers try to market something that's traditionally male-oriented -- sporting goods, tools -- to women, they often don't change much except the color? You want a set of household tools in one handy case? Well, because you're a woman, here's a pink one! You want a set of golf clubs. Hmm, you're a woman. You must want them in pink! Not pink? Ok, here's some in pastel blue! Oh, you don't want pastel colors either? Hmmm. Oh, here we go, here's a set in beige ... with flowers on them! They're even making football jerseys in pink. Huh. I thought the Denver Broncos colors were orange and blue, but here's a women's version in pink.

I get the Pink Ribbon items, although I don't think everything has to actually be pink in order to get the word out about breast cancer awareness. But I'm not addressing the items that are pink for a cause. I'm talking about things that are pink (or flowered or pastel) just to try to appeal to women.

Maybe it's because I've always been a bit of a tomboy. Maybe it's because I have three older brothers who I always felt a need to compete with. Maybe it's because I grew up watching ERA demonstrations and hearing about Title IX. (Shut up. I know I'm old.) Or maybe I just don't like the color pink. It's probably all of those things but I don't understand trying to make these things more girly.

On the other hand, if the item is made with the same quality as the men's version, but sized to fit a woman, I'm all for that.