hopes and dreams dashed

As hopes and dreams go, mine have been dashed as of late. I keep getting knocked down. But you got to get up to get down (on the dance floor that is). Boogie woogie.

In a long series of misfortunate events that I will not go into, a bulldog swallowed a toy on the supposed day of departure for vacation to Lake Powell.  I was going to see the remnants of the largest sand dunes the world has ever known. And I was planning to navigate these canyon lands on a houseboat with dear friends. I should have been packing Monchichi(google it), a smorgasbord of salsas, a swimming costume, and adventuring where I’ve never set foot before. But as Lady Luck would have it-

Name: Judge Irwin Doom

Species: English Bulldog of Mayhem

D.O.B. 5/22/2011

ingested a toy that fateful day that required x-rays, surgery, and a lot of nursing.  Trip was canceled. And I admit that my initial reaction was very grumpy and selfish. When we finally got to take Judge home from the dog hospital, he laid on my lap and we watched the spring clouds and sunset into the layers mountains. I came to, and felt big gratitude that my little boy was there snoring on my lap. And he is doing great now. To be healthy is to be wealthy. Can’t say it enough.

So in lieu of a houseboat, I stayed at home and tried to mind my own business. My only true responsibility was to feed Judge six times a day a lovely mixture of wet dog food and hot water- gruel. I would prefer never to staycation again. When someone says the word staycation, I roll my eyes. Staycations mean doing chores that you have been putting off for good reason in the first place. So instead of organizing my closet, I find more productive things to do, ie, going to the coffee place that has three donut holes for one dollar frequently and napping excessively.

The last couple of days, the sun shone at long last. To celebrate Judge’s birthday we took a little canoe ride on Long Lake. My friend Ray, his pooch Gabby, Judge, Twinks, and I all managed to fit in the boat and paddle from one end of the Lake to another. We did not capsize and this was a Christmas miracle. So there are glimmers of hope in a staycation. Don’t I look cool in this pic? The mutts don’t want no part of it.


Plans fall through. Vacations don’t get taken. Staples get put in the dog’s abdomen. But the world keeps turning.

I’ve had to stop looking at what I may have missed out on and let go. That’s a lot easier to do with Dr. Liz (best vet evar) doing such a great job and getting that icky toy of my babe’s tummy. I’m beyond grateful that the bull boy has been successfully repaired so many times. I think that when life doesn’t give you want you want (did I mention the State Trooper gave me a speeding ticket today to add to the mix?), you got to sit back in that recliner, think hard, and find gratitude. I’ve taken to making lists.

Mason promises me that the rocks will still be there to look at later. Hopefully next year I will get to feast my eyes on desert sunsets on those lovely red sandstones and get to spend time with my tried and trues.  And maybe this year will be the year that Judge stays out of trouble. Thank you for reading my report on my vacation. And trumpets, snare drum roll, I am going to Texas today to visit my little homie/nephew. After all that complaining,  she gets another shot at vacation.

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picking up hitch hikers

Approach strangers with distrust.

Strangers wield power through evoking pity.

Strangers never know where they are going, and ask for directions while eyeing your purse.

Strangers forget their cell phones at home and need to have long conversations with their girlfriend on yours.

At a public place, a stranger makes life inconvenient by asking you to watch their stuff while they sneak off to the bathroom.

Strangers are more than likely alcoholics just looking for some tokens to cash in at Liquor Mart.

Hitch hikers are at the top of the food pyramid of strangers. They want in the car to get a ride to Lawdy-knows-where. They don’t got no car. They don’t have bus fare. They rely on the kindness of unsuspecting citizens to get to an fro the places that life takes us. These vagrants have a penchant to murder little old ladies that were just trying to do something nice in the name of all that is Holy.

So while driving by these drifters, avoid eye contact. Avoiding eye contact happens to be the key to solving most problems in life.

I’m usually quite the square and abide by these simple rules, outlined by  the people that go by Mom and Dad. But in Crested Butte, things are a little different. Strangers seem to be a little less on the dangerous side, and more on the harmless acquaintance side.

So what happens when a hitch hiker does not want to cut your throat and instead really just needs a ride to town?

There is a middle aged man with round glasses and a round derriere. As he fidgets taking off his cap, he reveals a dome piece that is also quite round and devoid of hair. His head is shiny though, just the way I prefer bald heads to be. He half heartedly sticks out his thumb, trying to get a ride to work.

With his lack of commitment, I also feel some hesitancy in picking him up. I finally place the old acquaintance as a gent I met several years prior at a bar, during my drankin’ days. I struggle to come up with his name as I motion for him to come on over. I move over the accruements of a working class student to the back off the car, and we are off.

What I was never told about hitchhikers is what happens after picking up the straggler – divine social awkwardness. I am a strange breed, and I truly relish interactions with other human beings that are off, clumsy, and uncomfortable.

We trade how-do-you-do’s. He needs a ride down to the Gas Cafe to get some breakfast before refurbishing wood floors at a local watering hole. We try to find another topic to talk about. Silence prevails. It becomes painfully obvious and impossible to ignore what is playing on my CD player.

It is my early 2000’s Spring Rap Mix, written in green sharpie, a classic album with some of my all time favorite urban music. Mystikal happens to be singing “Shake Ya Ass.”

Now I could change the song to make things more appropriate, to alleviate the unease. But in this situation, there is really only one option at 9 in the morning, and that is to carry on and let Mystikal serenade us with “Shake ya ass, But watch yourself, Shake ya ass, Show me what you’re working with.”

But seriously, that song is a really good song.


the weather in colorado, the surprise we get every year

As a teenager, not a young teenager, but more like a nineteen year old teenager, I affectionately named a certain type of interaction I saw older people having. I saw adults congregate and make irrelevant remarks that received polite, yet forced laughter. To me these little failed attempts at humor were to be forever known as adult jokes.

To provide better imagery, there is a backyard party. A group of people that have nothing to say to one another find themselves in an awkward, silent circle. At long last a Jimmy Buffet enthusiast in the Hawaiian shirt says, “How about that weather! Will it ever make up its mind?” The middle age folk clench their Bud Lights a little tighter, open their mouths to form strained smiles, and attempt to make the sound of laughter. Everyone is slightly relieved that the quietness has been broken, but do not feel particularly moved by the subject at hand.

So there you have it, adult joke – a common place statement that people acknowledge with a courtesy chuckle.

I’ve been thinking about adult jokes lately, because of people’s general reaction to spring weather. The weather in Colorado, as long as I have been living, is fickle.  During April and May, sunshine and snow flakes will happen in the same twenty four hour period. Coloradoans cannot and will not ever become accustomed to this. It just blows their tops off. How on Earth can there be a 75 sunny day perfect for frisbee tossing or front porch sitting, followed by a day with three inches of snow?


This pattern of weather is the surprise that happens several times a year, every year. People scratch their noggins, look to the sky in a state of distress, fall to their knees and exclaim, “How can this be?”

So today in the mountains in May, it snowed about six inches. And I might be the only one, but I’m not surprised, nor do I have a strong feeling about this. I am going to go ahead and wager that something similar will happen in the year of our Lord 2014.

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boots of importance

To be a geologist-in-training is to be rugged, and never shy away from trips to the field – to see rocks in their natural habitat, Ze Great Outdoors.

For the field trips this semester, we have been privy to climb up very steep slopes as to walk through the different formations of rocks and time. Without getting into the thick of it, the young baby rocks hang out with the top shelf liquors like Ketel One. Old granny and grandpappy rocks will be at the bottom sippin on syzzurp.

My white haired professor is some sort of billy goat that can hoof up mountains at an alarming rate, leaving slow poke Singleton huffing and puffing in his great cloud of dust. I like to walk slowly, talk slowly, do everything slowly. I especially like to walk down steep pitches slowly, and have a young man to hold on to with one hand and a cane in the other.

Teacher tells the troupe of adolescent students with good knees, to walk around the protruding cliff bands, whilst he goes ahead and climbs up and over them.

For this particular adventure, the precipice we walked up looked something like this –

I don’t know the angle of this jaunt, but it was steep. Students fell. Rocks came tumbling down as others above stumbled through scree fields.

With all of this danger, excitement, and heavy breathing, it is important to wear certain clothing. Do not show up in flip flops or without a jacket. A typical choice of foot wear might be bowling shoes or Keds. Something that surrounds the feet and provides good traction. I’ve tried this, walking up escarpments with trusty tennies. Dirt finds its way through all crevices making socks dirty and life itchy.

But for this hike, I had a jazzy time, because I wore galoshes! These galoshes are grey with a nice black cheetah print for blending in with the environment. Galoshes’ functionality is usually restricted to puddle jumping in rainstorms. Dare I say that this footwear has much more versatile reach. Not only did I make it to the top of the Harding Formation (where there are rocks made up of miniscule purple fish plates) but I did so in shoes made for rain walking.

Coming on down was a little unnerving but I slid down quite successfully in my rain boots even though it wasn’t raining. I had one little fall at the end, and I only think one person saw.

being unprepared and listening to elders

If the title didn’t grab your attention, this story has to do with Julia Roberts.


My friend Jennifer, that has some decades on me, invited me to a yurt dinner last night to eat a 4 course meal and howl at the full moon. I had heard about this jolly supper that the Nordic Center puts on before. To my understanding, one skis or snowshoes out to the hut, eats, and then returns back on the trail with a flashlight and a full belly.

I filled my backpack accordingly with a head lamp, extra gloves, heat packs, water etc.

This is not my usual cup of tea. My father taught me how to camp by relying on his friend Dick who brought all of the tents, food, and camp stove. Usually, I also abide by this school of thought, and rely on others for my well being in the outdoors. But this time, oh I would be the responsible individual.

I show up to pick up dear Jennifer, and with one look I know that she is not pleased with my ski gear. “Dahling, we are going to a dinner party! You cannot wear that!” My cheeks flush and I return home to switch into a more contemporary casual dining outfit. We make our merry way down to the wigwam (a word I like much more than yurt). Jennifer tells me that we are to follow the tiki torches down the path. I assume she knows something I don’t, and that it is melted out enough to drive there.

No sir. It becomes very clear that we are walking on a packed snow trail with tiki torches few and far between. Contemporary casual dining outfits are not the best for walking through the snow in. Also contemporary casual dining outfits do not include hat or gloves. I am the biggest sissy in the cold, and as we trudge forth, I can’t help but worry about my cold mitts and how this is going to work on the way back.

Any individual with two legs or charioted by a wheel chair could have made their way down this 1 mile trail to the Magic Meadow Muffins Yurt. Outside of the canvas circular tent, there is a rack of 42 skis. Inside the warmths and frosted windows of the yurt, was Tiny Tim sitting on Uncle Scrooge’s lap smoking tobacco out of a pipe. Lies hurt the most. I’m sorry reader, let’s open door number one again to find a group of people eating, drinking and being merry. 42 people in their finest sportswear looks angelic as they feast on their amuse bouche and listening to a man strumming on a gee tar. It’s really quite cozy in a wigwam full of white people from Indiana. (They weren’t all from Indiana, I just met two drunk Indiana women at the Port-o-pottie. They were dolls and let me borrow their head lamp when I had to use the ladies’ room. Oh and yurts, do not have plumbing so take it outside.)

We got to sit down with two nice Crested Buttians named Ben and Laura. There was vino, and somethings in between, and then tiramisu. I only care about dessert.

Jennifer comes off a lot strong, and I mean this in the best ways of possible. This woman began working at 5 years old starting garage sales, moving on to a concession stand business, ran away at 15 to pick strawberries, and used her student loan money to buy investment properties. But now, years later, she visits from Kauai where she is working to bring small purple potatoes to major American cities. So enough of that, let’s get to the real talk. Jennifer told us that Julia Roberts also has a home in Kauai and also grows her own crop of root vegetables. Julia happens to sell her carrots at the Farmer’s Market. As a self-proclaimed scallywagg, my first idea was to take this photo and sell it to Us – Celebrities are just like us! Jennifer told me this was “very uncool.”

What was also very uncool was the prospect of walking back in the cold dark tundra in sweaters and jeans. But then the doors of destiny opened out the back of the kitchen, down the stairs, and to a rugged man with a snowmobile. With a rev of an engine, we got a gasoline powered ride. This happens to be much faster and more enjoyable than walking. With moonlight guiding us and the mountain looking spooky with low clouds, there were a lot of giggles and wahoos.

And the moral of the story is, even Julia Roberts can grow carrots. AND! Sometimes being unprepared can be better after all.

out on a limb


In chemistry class, my eyes wander. I get sick and tired of hearing about enthalpy and waiting on the world to change. 

During these moments, I look at all my classmate dumplings and rate their attractiveness. The beauty appraisal is much like a dog show. Some of them have silky soft long hair which is good with me. Others seem to have nice teeth and claws. Best in show went a girl with soft gamine eyes, and perfectly curled hair. I looked at her further, when I noticed her sweat shirt and what was missing under said sweatshirt.

There was no arm. Exclamation. This beautiful fellow student from another pretty face to exceptional. To be so lovely, so attractive, and to be missing a very instrumental limb. I was so intrigued as I imagined all the hardship she must have faced. Insecurities, trouble catching balls in gym class, the inability to drive stick shift, all of this was a cruel reality for this young girl. My heart was overwhelmed with the largeness of the human spirit and all that we can overcome. 

And you can understand the dismay I felt when she raised the “missing” hand to ask the teacher a question.


walking with a limp

Kitchen accidents happen to really good people.

Sometimes chopped fingers end up in deviled eggs or potato salad. 

ImageMy kitchen injury was of a completely different variety. I was discussing the scene where Quasimodo lifts up Esmerelda up over his shoulders in The Hunchback of Notre Dame with my wee sister. I opened a cupboard and dropped two glass measuring cups on my big toe. The conversation changed from hunchback heroics to Lizzie hearing many expletives. 

It hurt and no one will be kissing my toes to make it better. 

So now I walk in discomfort and will not be putting any ski boot on this right foot of mine. It will be orthopedic zappados and a prayer that my toe nail doesn’t fall off in 2013.


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su nombre

People can’t seem to remember my name – and it’s not half as complicated as John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

My name is Caroline, as in Caroline Kennedy or Caroline in the City (the precursor to Sex in the City, duh) or my personal fave, Caroline Manzo from the impassioned cast of Real House Wives of NJ. And no, it is not Carolyn. Caroline, like a straight y=mx+b sort of line. Now that the formal introduction is complete, we can move onto drinks in the drawing room and listen to the piano man.

The valiant Ezekiel, a custodianal hero, hailing from Mexico City, comes by every day pleasant and smiling at work. He asks me what I’m studying, how my day is… we talk about such important things as being sleepy or what’s for dinner. But without fail, “Su nombre!!?!?!?!” I reply “Esta bien senor. Mi llamo Carolina!” He will forget again tomorrow. If he just wanted to let it go and talk about beer or how many days left before the weekend that would be ok with me.

It’s not only native Spanish speakers that have trouble remembering me.

There is a white and portly man named Billy that is boiling over with friendliness and merriment. He works for a cat skiing operation up in Crested Butte. My boyfriend, his friend Heaven, and I went to meet him to purchase backpacks that have airbags in it case of avalanche. I cannot tell you anymore about these jetpacks. I wasn’t paying attention.

Mason introduced me to Billy Boy as Caroline, and we walked into his office. There was a long time in that office while I sat in the corner looking at the ceiling and them boys looked up youtube videos on how these avalanche air bags worked. Luckily I had some sixlets and gummy bears to keep me company.

Following there was a formal goodbye, where everyone said how much they meant to one another, kisses on the cheeks, hugging, tears in the eyes, the embrace that dudes do where they grab each other’s shoulder and make good eye contact and sort of shake their shoulders….you get the picture. And then after all of this good naturedness and coming together, Billy struggles , “Eh woman, what’s your name again?” It kind of killed the moment.

It wasn’t but last night, that we meet this larger than life Billy at the pizza parlor. Billy again ingratiated Mason with loving words about how exciting it is that it snows in the mountains, or something. Again, I wasn’t paying attention. Then Billy catches a glimpse of me and again misses the mark, “Tiffany??” We tried to brainstorm ways on how he could remember Caroline Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. We’ll see how it works.

Turns out Billy and I both like to talk about psychics.

back to school

I am yet to make the primordial back to school shopping trip. There is no new beret or cape in my wardrobe.

Tomorrow, I will fail to make a good impression with my classmates because my clothes are not of the new variety. And the unfortunate truth is that we only get one chance to make a first impression, just one. My posture will undoubtedly suffer without a new Jansport backpack or a 5 star notebook. One eye might bug out and I’ll look like Quasi modo. Hopefully I will remember to bring a writing utensil, because no one wants to let ‘Modo borrow a pencil.

It is funny doing college again. Back at my alma mater, the first day of school was about dressing to impress and strategically picking a seat.  I wanted to sit next to a hottie toddy that looked like they might be a contestant from my favorite game of yore, Dream Phone. This time I could care less what the 19 year old next to me looks like. As long as he doesn’t smell too strongly of cologne and refrains from asking to copy my homework, we will be AOK.

The most egregious of trespasses to me has always been when people ask to “borrow” or “take a peak” or “see if we got the same answers” on homework.

My answer is always bug off. Naw dawg. Mind your own.

And this is why – human beings are preoccupied with the concept of reciprocity. Back scratching, an eye for an eye, etc…….. You copying my problem set hardly does anything for me, except puts me at risk of getting in trouble with teach. So girl with the daily Egg McMuffins complete with offensive numbers of ketchup packets, and the worn fleece cupcake pajama pants, you serve no purpose to me.

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aerodynamics and fence posts

There are people that are quite aerodynamic, and I’m not referring to those idiots that jump off cliffs in flying suits and bang up their knees on rocks.

Sigh. Scoff.

People will do anything to get attention these days.

Don’t even get me started. Just fetch me my walker, the one with the tennis balls on the feet. Let’s talk about joy instead just for a minute – which is pizza bagels and unusual date ideas. No. Stay on topic. Don’t fall off the log while crossing the creek.

Aerodynamics – in terms of people that have their feet firmly planted on the ground – means that they are able to accomplish a lot within a day. These people actually cross off items on their to do lists, change their car wiper fluid, send out the loveliest Hallmark birthday cards with dainty fonts, and remember to do sit ups everyday. In conclusion, they have really nice abs.

I’m not one of those people. Although, I keep trying. My ability to soar through this world, flags waving, guns out, tongue out, getting ‘er done, can best be explained in one way. My movement through the air is about aerodynamic as this fence.

I think it is because I’ve always been a slow walker.

But, try, try, try again. And so here goes another shot at trying to write in my blog more. And I’ll try to make my bed in the morn. And instead of subsisting on fudgecicles maybe I’ll try to add spinach. Good luck to me.

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