Friday, May 28, 2010

Zaugg Painting

A client asked me to do a custom art piece for their new penthouse.  Ya, in my former life I thought I was going to grow up and be a starving artist. Well, maybe 'starving' could still apply to my career.
For this painting the client insisted on no blues or greens to coordinate with his very European minimalist taste.  Inspiration was from a photo Zach took of the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho.
78" x 48", acrylic

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Meal Time

Last night I perused the internet looking for something yummy to do with the morels.  I found a lot of recipes for frying or battering them but I felt like once you do that it would probably taste just like anything else fried.  Instead I cut up about five morels sautéed them in olive oil and butter with garlic and scallions, added a white wine reduction and served over pasta with parsley and parmesan cheese.
Dinner is served!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Morel Season

This afternoon I received this picture from Zach showing me the fresh morels he had scavenged.  Ironically on my lunch break, I was reading up on a lecturer coming to speak about finding these little beauties in our valley, not knowing that Zach had his lunch box already filled.  Guess we won't be needing any expert advice...
So excited to have some fresh morels with dinner!  Any recipe ideas out there?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Idaho Spring?

Last week was a traditional spring event for the valley, Bike to Work Day.  Imagine trick-or-treating for adults, minus the costumes and candy.  Instead everyone is in bike gear and takes their ride somewhere between the 30 mile stretch from Sun Valley to Bellevue (on their way to work) stopping at local vendor booths with prizes and treats for all.  I scored a new Smith t-shirt, some socks for Zach and I from Scott Sports, and a new bike tube from Sturtevants.  Being a spring event I would picture sunny casual weather, however, it was rainy and cold.  Not a big surprise considering we do live in the mountains but it always seems to be a shock to get out on your bike and need to bundle up in winter gear.

And the "spring" weather continued this weekend with scattered snow showers and rain.  Zach and I decided to finish up some projects that have been put on the back burner because of are usual eventful weekends.  We have been working hard on building a new dining table that will seat more then four people.  More details to come on this but Zach, Nick, and I slaved over building the top this past weekend.  It looks gorgeous!  Can't wait to pull it all together.

We worked on the table top out Indian Creek at Zach's parents house and every trip out the canyon we crossed by some neighborhood signs that said "Slow Down Kit Fox Crossing".  I spotted three of the little darlings a few weeks ago and actually got a picture of one of them this weekend. 

Jean pointed out another wildlife sighting of what we later identified as a Lazuli Bunting bird.  At first I thought it was the Idaho Blue bird but this little Bunting fellow had a distinct white stripe that was rather different from our state mascot. 
Note: Zach took the picture of the Bunting with the black birds.  The clear picture I borrowed from the internet for reference. 

So I guess even though Idaho hasn't caught on to the idea of spring we are moving forward with it regardless of the weather. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Fur Ball Friday

Our little monster is shedding lately with the change in weather.  We try to get to the fur before it get's to our house so we brush her with the "Furminator" and as you can tell she is one big fur ball!  If you have a dog and don't have this brush I highly recommend it.
Zach was working at Sun Valley Ranch today so Lucy got to go swimming and then she got the Furmination. Phew!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baby Westbrook

Hooray for Seth and Tessa who welcomed little baby girl, Aven, into the world on Tuesday the 18th!  Looking forward to meeting your newest family member :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

City of Rocks

Zach and I joined fifteen of our close friends for a camping/rock climbing trip down to the City of Rocks National Reserve in Southern Idaho.  A three hour drive south on country roads leads you to a literal climbers paradise.  We are lucky to have friends with amazing knowledge and experience in rock climbing so we can learn the sport with ease. 

And I have to say I'm really proud of my husband.  Not only did he turn his fear of heights around but he made climbing look easy!  He scurried up the sides of rock walls with no problem or hesitation.  This time last year he was wanting to go on a bike ride not even considering climbing.  Now we are tackling routes like it's any other sport.  Thanks to the Resko's, Lloyds, Sundbys, and everyone else for a great weekend at the city!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Organic Weed Killer

I had to share this garden tip because I've been searching for a sure fire way to kill the dandelions in our yard without digging every single one up!  In this week's Green Home Guide from the U.S. Green Building Council someone asked about a weed killer for dandelions that did not contain herbicides.

Answered by a LEED AP representative:
Burnout -- blend of cloves, vinegar and lemon juices.
It works fast and kills anything it touches -- it says that it won't kill nearby plants and the area can be seeded the next day. I had to use a second application for those tough older weeds, though.
The good news is that it is safe for our pets, children and helps with stormwater runoff pollution. But it does have a potent smell.

Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Garden

I wanted to put a post in on Mother's Day for all the wonderful mom's out there but the day seemed to slip away from me.  I spent all weekend in the yard and my new raised garden bed (thank you Zach) to get ready for this summer.  In a way that is how I usually spend Mother's Day, in the garden.  Unfortunately, this year I couldn't spend it with my mom but she was definitely in my heart.  I remember learning how to plant seeds with my mom, trying to be very careful and patient.  With a little water, sunshine, and care the hard work always paid off.  And having a tomato out of the garden ruined every other tomato I would ever eat!  You can't beat a fresh grown garden tomato. 

My grandmother, Dorothy, always had an amazing garden when we visited in Texas.  I remember learning that dill was a plant and eating a flower.  I had no idea!  The butterflies, climbing clematis and her English garden were such a treat to visit.   Of course, Dorothy, wasn't your average gardener.  Being from Texas it wasn't uncommon to hear my grandmother shout, "Robert, get the shotgun!  There's a damn armadillo in the garden again."  

Just visiting my Nana in California it is evident that her green thumb abounds.  All the oranges we brought back to Idaho where treasured.  People told me they were the BEST oranges they ever tasted!  And the oranges aren't even in season right now.  Normally we would come home with boxes of the sweetest fruit you've ever tasted.  I can hardly wait to hear how good the lemons, figs, tomatoes, and apricots are going to be this year.  My Nana taught me that a jade plant can be a bush.  Not a little potted plant with five leaves, like mine always were in Nevada.  Her jade grows without fear just like her!

Jean, my newest mom, is my local sounding board.  She let's me know what will grow best in shade or sun.    I've learned that the cute little fluffy creatures we call "rabbits" are really a disguise for a terrible garden destroyer.  Jean has tricks for compost, tomatoes, and hydrangeas to keep them happy throughout our short Idaho summer.  Our plants have to be tough here!  We only have around 90 days for growing and Jean has taught me how to maximize that time.  She helps me know when to cover the garden bed because it's going to freeze at night or at times snow! I'm lucky to have her guide me through the garden in Idaho.

To all the wonderful Mother's I have in my life thank you for teaching me so much about the wonderful world of gardening.  Your thoughtful guidance will be treasured and shared :)

*PS- I didn't have the visual to go with this story so all the pictures are borrowed from various online sources. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Visit with Nana

While on our way to San Francisco this past weekend, we got the chance to visit with my Nana in Los Altos for lunch.  It was another gorgeous day and we sat poolside at her favorite spot, Dinah's, for lunch.  Her home and yard looked beautiful and are always beaming with flowers and fruits.  Zach picked some oranges and lemons.  The orange blossoms smelled so good I had to pick some for the ride home! 

Nana it was wonderful to see you and I hope we can do another lunch date soon!  xoxo

Monday, May 3, 2010

Escape From Alcatraz

I did it!  With the support of my family (Jeannie, Ben, Erin, and Zach) I finished the Escape Triathlon in San Francisco this past weekend.  And I have to was one of the most enjoyable triathlons I have ever done!  Honestly, you must think I'm crazy to put myself through all the training and pain of the event.  But I guess that's what makes every tri-athlete a little loco.
The day of the race the weather couldn't have been better, with temperatures in the 70's and blue skies it made getting around the city by bay, bike, and beach a treat!

First the boat ride out to Alcatraz with two thousand of your new rubber wet-suited friends was more than surreal.  We chit chatted while the San Francisco Belle ship positioned us near Alcatraz island.  Just before 8am I heard a muffled national anthem on the ships loud speaker, some cheers coming from the right side of the boat and the race had begun.  It was a mass of heads moving like cattle directly to the side doors on the boat.  Yeah, right past those ship railings that you are always glad are there because you wouldn't want to fall into the cold bay.  There I was being shoved into the water, not by choice, but instead the massive crowd left me with little decision to contemplate.  Flop!  I was in.  The fear of someone else landing on top of me kept me swimming to get out of the way and then the cold water started to settle in.  I was moving amongst 2000 something random arms and legs, waiting for my feet and hands to go numb but surprisingly it didn't happen.  Must be those Idaho winters or that one REALLY cold triathlon at Red Fish lake.   But the water didn't feel as cold as I was anticipating.  Sweet I thought time to swim.

Knowing that I was suppose to sight certain buildings on the shoreline for the 1.5 mile swim while navigating across the "river" (an area of rapid waves where the current moves in and out), and then eventually aim for the right landing spot on the beach to exit proved difficult for me.  If there was an overhead video of my water performance I wouldn't be surprised to see myself swimming in circles while inhaling salt water.  At one point it might have been more efficient for me to just float on my back and spout up like a whale.  Not to mention I kept thinking a fish (in my mind that translated to a big mean shark) was following me... until I realized it was a spot on my goggles.  Miraculously after about 30 minutes I popped my head up and had made it to the beach.  Wow!  I couldn't believe I just swam across San Francisco Bay from Alcatraz.  I had to stand there for a second and take in what I just did.

Not for was off to the first transition area to take off my wetsuit (which is never graceful) and slip into some running shoes for a 1/2 mile run to the second transition area.  This time I put on bike shoes, a helmet (which always manages to sit sideways on my head like a wanna-be gangster) and glasses to start the 18 mile bike ride.  My favorite part by far!  Every mile changed in elevation from rapid climb to rapid decent.  I felt like I was flying up the hills while most of the guys were struggling for breath.  Must be that Idaho air!  Unfortunately, they caught me on the downhills.  We were biking in the middle of the street in the best parts of the city.  Up into the Presidio, down by Cliffside, thru the Pacific Coast Highway at Ocean Beach, and up into Golden Gate park, before doing it all over again on the way back.  The flowers were beautiful and the air smelled sweet.  I was just lovin it!  Part of my bike high had to be contributed to the fact that I wasn't bobbing aimlessly in the water but mostly it was just an awesome ride!  I would highly recommend the route to people even during daily use.

Coming in for the bike and putting on running shoes always feels great until you start running.  In my mind I'm still on a bike and should just be able to fly past people.  Shouting out "ON YOUR LEFT" like Tea Leoni in the movie Spanglish from a mile behind the nearest runner.  Wisely, I refrained because I realized my mind was catching up to people faster then my feet.  Again another beautiful course!  Up around the Golden Gate Bridge down to Baker Beach.  Up the dreaded "Sand Ladder" (400 sand covered stairs straight up) and back up and down more paths and trails for a total of 8 miles.  Thanks goodness running is the last sport in the series because I always manage to make up for my swim circles by catching up in my tennis shoes.

And there it was the finish wonderful husband and family shouting out as I ran by almost brought tears to my eyes.  It was such a great feeling to have accomplished this long sought after event in a city I truly love. 

Thank you, thank you to everyone for supporting me and helping me achieve my goal!  There was a lot of fun pictures if you want to see more and some video you can go to Zach's or Erin's online photo galleries.  Now if you can excuse me I think I better work on my pool back-stroke so I have a shot at making it across the bay in a straight line next year...