Friday, March 29, 2013

Gearing Up for A-to-Z

This year's A to Z Blogging Challenge begins on Monday, but I suspect you already knew that. My theme for 2013, as in the last two years, is local. After all, this is a hometown blog for me, and it seems strange to suddenly shift focus to 'Characters from Shakespeare' or 'Infectious Diseases.' Though I love it when you guys do stuff like that. Honest. 

My 14-year-old son--also a Choice City Native who likes taking pictures--is helping me this year. We've been talking about it for weeks, and as of today, the number of pictures we've taken is an Yes, one. Please don't laugh too hard, all you pre-posters who are already working on your entries for 2014. 

Fear not, for we have a list and are going on a photo safari this weekend. I hope you'll stay tuned for an alphabetical glimpse at life in Fort Collins, Colorado, aka The Choice City. At the very least, I promise the posts will be short. And hopefully reflective of some of the things we love about our hometown. But mostly short. 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quick Trip to Moab, Utah

We planned to spend a few days exploring Moab during spring break last week. None of us had been there before, and it's only about six hours from home by car. Due to a few unforseen circumstances, however--including no hot water in the hotel, one son's head cold and what may have been a staph infection (lab culture was inconclusive), and not wanting to drive across Vail Pass in a blizzard--we ended up spending only one and a half days there. But we made the most of our time and saw some amazing sights in and around Arches National Park:

La Sal Mountains

My family under Delicate Arch (I was too chicken, so I stayed back and took the photo.)

The Three Gossips

Balanced Rock


I ran into a writer friend from home! Here we are with Tunnel Arch in the background.

We were disappointed that we had to leave early, and we've already decided that we need to go back and give ourselves waaay more time to do it right.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Picture of the Week: Go Rams!

Congratulations to the Colorado State University men's basketball team for their first NCAA tournament win in 24 years! Last night they beat Missouri soundly 84-72 and will now face the Midwest #1 seed Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. Here's what I hope will happen:

And, yes, I did just spend five minutes posing stuffed animals in my living room and taking pictures of them. It's spring break and I'm not feeling that productive, okay?

Anyway, good luck Rams! March Madness always brings one great Cinderella story, and my vote is for CSU this year. Maybe Coach Eustachy has a fairy godmother...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Parade Recap

I know, the weekend was ages ago, but we only have two parades a year around here (Homecoming being the other) so I feel obliged to give a quick picture recap of Saturday's St. Patrick's Day Parade. For your convenience, I've divided the photos into two categories: things I expected to see in a St. Patrick's Day parade, and things that struck me as a little more unusual.

For instance, I was not surprised to see:

The Guinness Beer Truck

The Fort Collins Pipe Band

Beautiful Draft Horses

But I can't say the same for:


Zombie Drummer Guy

Star Wars Stormtroopers

But at a parade, it's all good, and everyone had fun. Well, except maybe for this guy:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ross Natural Area

I try to walk my dog every day, unless it’s too cold (chilly paws) or too rainy (wet dog smell). It’s good for both of us, but I also do it because if I don’t, she’ll keep a close eye on me, wagging her tail against the floor every time I walk by. It’s like my own non-sinister version of Poe’s The Telltale Heart. Thump, thump, thump.

We usually head out the front door, but yesterday I decided to take her with me in the car so we could check off another name on my 20th Anniversary Natural Areas Passport. Purchased in 1978, the Ross Natural Area is small, tucked between Rolland Moore Park and the Spring Creek Trail. The creek itself meanders through, as do paved and gravel walking paths. Parking is close by, Ross is wheelchair accessible, and off-trail exploration is allowed. I’m sure the residents in the nearby neighborhood visit this area often, and avail themselves of the benches when the weather is nicer.

Monday’s late snow covered any emerging traces of spring, but I saw a couple of pairs of mallards, one paddling and one on the wing, doing whatever they do to keep busy on a cold morning in March. Because of the biting wind, the dog and I didn’t take a long walk. But it must have been enough, because she didn’t thump her tail at me for the rest of the day.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Photo of the Week: Up in a Tree

You never know what you might see in a tree when the leaves are this case, a basketball and a wasp's nest the size of a basketball. Maybe the former was used to try remove the latter. If that's the case, whoever threw the ball is probably lucky he or she missed. Wasps don't have a very good sense of humor. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Beans and Wolverines

On a snowy morning, with a little time to spare, there's no better place for me than a coffee shop/bookstore. When I'm downtown, that means The Bean Cycle Coffee Shop/Wolverine Farm Publishing and Bookstore. It has the requisite coffee, tea, and snacks--and of course books, both new and used. But it is also a great home-grown mix of arts and social consciousness. From this fertile ground spring such labors of love as the Matter Journal newspaper, weekly literacy outreach and tutoring sessions, poetry workshops with Fort Collins poet laureate Jason Hardung, and the Old Town Book Fair. Oh, and they also support local agriculture. It's one of those places that just has a good vibe to it...which is only partly due to the copious amounts of caffeine available for consumption. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Five: It's March!

It’s March, hooray. Even though we may have more wintery weather to come, bleak January and February are over. I don’t know if there’s any truth behind that “in like a lion, out like a lamb” business, because it often seems like the opposite around here. Regardless, spring is right around the corner, and that makes me happy. So do these other five things about March:

Birthday Boy: My older son turns 14 soon, and we couldn’t be prouder of him. 

Great Plates: For the first two weeks of the month, more than thirty restaurants in downtown Fort Collins offer $25 dinner specials and/or $2.50 breakfast deals, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the local food bank. Good food for a good cause.

St. Patrick’s Day: I love the wearin’ of the green, the parade, the corned beef and cabbage. Not a big fan of the green beer…maybe this year I should try O’Rion Irish Red from local Equinox Brewing instead.

Spring Break: Whether we travel or stay home, whether we have a foot of snow or 70 degree weather, it’s a nice respite before the whirlwind fourth quarter of the school year.
Women’s History Month: Since 1987, every president has issued the annual proclamation designating March as Women’s History Month. So far, they’ve all been men, but how cool will it be when a woman finally gets to do it? This Sunday, March 3 marks 100 years since 5,000 women marched up Pennsylvania Avenue in the National Woman Suffrage Procession of 1913. I owe them, and so many others, a debt of gratitude.

Have a great weekend!