Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

We had a very fun and busy Memorial Day weekend. First, we planted a Montmorency cherry tree in our front yard. It's a little dinky thing now, but I'm so excited for when it's a spreading white tree and I can make cherry jam and cherry pie.

On Saturday, we did all kinds of more yardwork. I think I about got heat stroke from shoveling out pink rocks in the 80-degree heat. In the afternoon we went on an afternoon hike with our friends the Raymonds to the Crags, a lovely hike on the side of Pikes Peak. After this, we ate at Wines of Colorado, a cute little restaurant on a rushing creek.
On Sunday, the Swans came down to see us. We're friends because we know what it's like to have people be jealous of us. And they accept me no matter what. Even if my hair isn't nearly as "innovative" as theirs.We went to the Garden of the Gods Trading Post where Travis took many an ironic picture.
Then we hiked up the Williams Canyon below Cave of the Winds. And took many more pictures.
Travis loves food as much as I do, so we had a nice dinner at home with margarita pizza, delicious strawberries, and brie with crackers and jam.

Then today, we went to Colorado Coffee Merchants and discussed things like hierarchy and toffee. Next, to Territory Days in Old Colorado City where we ate Jake and Telly's gyros and bought two incredible loaves of Styria Bakery's lemon-white chocolate-mint bread. I love that bread.

Next, Manitou. More ironic pictures. Actually, more goofy and weird than ironic.
I carried around Emery Revere in Sarah's ErgoBaby and learned that the only better accessory than a cowboy hat is a cowboy hat with a baby. I think I might get me one.
And that was the end of our weekend together. Thank's, Sarah and Travis for our weekend together, it was "great."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Busy in the Rockpile

I was going to name this post "Busy in the Garden," but I realized that would be a misnomer. I guess the fact that we live on the side of a rock quarry could have tipped us off that the soil in our yard would be 70% rock. Mike and I have been engaged in the arduous task of converting large amounts of our pink rock and grass to mulch.

This week, we took out a corner of our icky crab grass and rock and replaced it with mulch and put in a crabapple tree. A crabapple tree so small, you can barely even see it in this picture. This will rid our use of at least one sprinkler head.
That plot of ground looked so big, until you see it from the front of the house and it looks like a tiny little speck back there behind the evergreen tree. I think our lawn conversion is going to take a long time.
We also planted two lilac bushes. Hooray! That's them there along the fence. I can't wait till they're huge! I'm learning that gardening is not an instant-gratification game.
Then we also had dug up all the rocks and the dead juniper in this plot under our window, and tonight we planted a bunch of little plants here that will hopefully one day be big and flowery.

And this is why i haven't had time to blog.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adventurous but not Omnivorous

Last night at small group, we're sitting around eating pizza discussing our thoughts on life, the universe, and everything. And David, a man with penetrating laser eyes who could best be described as "earnest" says to me, "I don't think you actually like anything."

I love earnest people. (Really, I do.) David has a point. When discussing books or TV or pop culture, there's a whole lot more that I don't like than what I like. I'm not very fun to discuss pop culture with because I'll most likely tell you what's wrong with it.

My critical/analytical spirit is the essence of my editor being and what I get paid to do, for that matter. The world surely needs us editors. I read a quote last night by Steven King (who I now realize is clearly brilliant): "To write is human, to edit is divine."

Being critical is of value, but how to be critical without seeming like an uptight, bunned, crotchety stick-in-the-mud who just smelled something nasty?

Mike, who is as, if not more, critical than I am, dodges this by simply not reading or watching what he knows he won't like. He's very habitual in his media ingestion. He treats books like he treats food. He finds one good restaurant where he likes one good dish and perpetually orders it.

But I treat my books like I do my food: I want to try everything and go everywhere and even if it turns out to be a nasty Indian dish that smells like hell and gives you indigestion. As Mike describes it, I'm adventurous but not omnivorous. I want to try it all, but I probably won't like most.

So I haven't figured this out yet. Do I keep my mouth shut? Do I seem more sunshiny? Surely not. But if any of you out there know how to be critical without being curmudgeony, let me know. Until then, you probably don't want to invite me to the season finale of Lost or your book club of The Secret Life of Bees.

P.S. This post is not a covert attempt at compliments, so please don't feel the need to comment, "Oh Amber, you're so nice. You're so sunshiny. You're so pretty."

P.P.S. Actually, feel free to say that last one.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Modern Warfare

I think the best show on TV right now is Community, about a Spanish study group at a community college in Colorado. The humor is fast and witty. Sadly, not enough people know about it, perhaps because it's on at the same time as Glee.

So in an effort to get the 10 people who read my blog to start watching, I'm posting an episode here. This one is a bit different - it's like a movie. (One that even makes fun of Glee.) You can also watch it at Hulu. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

He Blogs So I Don't Have To

I'm tired these days, folks. In part because my body doesn't understand how to sleep past 5, and in other part because I started biking to work again and my body is in rebellion, and in other part because I lay in bed late at night talking with Mike about espresso machine purchases and the like. It's a new phase of life, that's for sure.

Often when your life is about to transition, you have warning - like 9 months of a baby in a belly. But this store went from one day not thinking it was going to work out to the next day 24-hour ice cream insanity. We're eating, sleeping, and drinking ice cream. Which isn't all that bad, actually. But it is tiring.

Luckily, Mike has started a blog so that I can slack off. He's posted a couple new ones you can read here.

Ta ta, I have to go eat more caramels for market research. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekend at Aspen Hill

This weekend, my parents came to see us at Aspen Hill. First, we went to see where our ice cream store will be. Then we did tastings! We took them to the coffee roaster we want to use, then a candy shop we're considering. We sat by the river in Bear Creek Canyon and did "market research" about which candies would be the best. For dinner, we went to Marigold's, which is always delicious. The next day, we went for a stroll in Red Rock Canyon Park. To protect my parents' identities, I've used PhotoShop to turn my dad into Terminator Man and Mom into Stained Glass Lady. They're former super heroes who are part of a witness relocation program.
Mike and I sat in the sittin' tree, and mom regaled us with tales of magazines from the drugstore and "cheesecake." (Make sure to ask her about this sometime.)We walked about Manitou, then had lunch at the Loop, where one-eighth of a margarita put my mom and I both to sleep. The end. Love you, mom and dad!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All A-flurry With Ice Cream Activity

My husband is all a-flurry with ice cream activity. He's doing such heretofore-unknown-to-us feats as negotiating equipment sales, buying batch freezers, and choosing points of sale (what we called "cash registers" in my day). So far, he's used his mad-scrappy skills to save almost $25,000 by finding used (but good) equipment. Because ice cream equipment is dang expensive. Just you remember that before deciding to open a store of your own. Some of the buys and timing have been so coincidental, they seem that they must be Providential favor.

Yesterday, we went to the coffee roaster we'd like to carry and saw the roasting facility. Roaster Carl also sent us home with bagfuls of coffee and tea, so we can choose which we want to serve. Parents, want to do a coffee tasting while you're here this weekend?!

Tomorrow Mike has his "color" meeting with the designer. Doesn't that sound fun? I'm going to barge into the meeting in a fur cape (a la Cruela Deville) and, sweeping my arms wide, say, "Make it all orange!" Yesterday Mike got a cell phone. A Blackberry at that. If you don't know Mike, you don't know how crazy this is. He thinks cell phones are the devil. But a business must have a phone, so there you are.

Mike started a blog so you can be part of the dairy insanity. Check it out here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Aspen Hill

Bring, bring. "Hello?"

"Oh, hello, dahling. This is Delilah Buttersworth, I just wanted to give you a ring on the telly to see if you'd like to come down to Aspen Hill for tea and crumpets."

"Oh, heavens! Tea at Aspen Hill sounds simply scrumptious! I'll see you then. Cheerio." (The beginning of many conversations to come now that we've named our home and I've changed my name to Delilah Buttersworth.)

After much brainstorming, we decided on a name for our domicile! Aspen Hill. It was accurate enough for Mike, as baby aspens are trying to take over every square inch of our yard, and romantic enough for me.

As if in protest (Hummingbird Hill and The Foxburrow were the runners up), the hummingbirds have been here humming in force, and the fox has been leaving us treats every day. By "treats" I mean half-eaten, half-bloody, half-furry bunnies you happen upon while weeding. Here's a video of the smug little fox now.


In honor of our smug new name, I painted our bay window area of the kitchen aspen green and painted a "Welcome to Aspen Hill" sign. (Let's kindly call the sign "rustic.")

So please let me know when you want to come down for your tea and crumpets!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Whirlwind in Moab

This weekend in Moab was a bit of a whirlwind, as we had to go late and leave a day early, because we're big ice cream magnates now. Here are a few highlights.

Elias discovered sand at Sandstone Arch.
The kids climbed many impressive big rocks.
I fed a chipmunk at Delicate Arch.
We biked down the Colorado River - beginning my training for the Courage Classic. (Can you tell I'm enjoying playing with my new Flip Video?)
We saw lots of dinosaur bones, on our failed M&M bike ride and on our Colorado River bike ride.
We watched the sun set over Moab after a walk.
And now we're back home. I could seriously live in Moab. Maybe one day I just will.

The Big News: Glacier Ice Cream Coming July 2010!

For the past six months, Mike has been working on opening an ice cream store in the Springs. (For all the details, read here.)

Since January, we have just been waiting, waiting, waiting to hear back from banks about our loan application. Banks are still feeling a bit shy, it seems, and don't want to loan to start-up businesses.

So about two weeks ago, Mike and I were ready to admit that the idea, great as it was, wasn't going to work out. We just couldn't get the funding we needed. Then something crazy happened. The man who owns the real estate development said, "Maybe I'll just loan you the money." We said, "Um, OK."

It's crazy! Despite all the waiting and difficulties, so many things have come together to make this happen: We got an incredible deal on licensing the product/brand (rather than paying the high fees of a franchise), we got an incredible deal on the real estate itself, including a huge amount toward our finishing costs, and lastly, the owner just up and loaned us the money himself. I love someone who believes in the little guy!

We accepted his offer for a loan on Thursday, signed the papers on Friday, and construction started today! I wanted to go in a red dress and lipstick and cut the ribbon or at least fashionably thrust the shovel into the ground for the first time while photographers snapped away, but I guess that only happens in the movies.

For those of you who don't know us personally, you have to understand how incredible this is - we're not exactly wealthy entrepreneurs who just do this kind of thing. We're more like angsty English major dreamers who are more used to having our ideas thwarted. So, this is kind of incredible.

Here are a couple of videos Mike took that show the site.
If all goes according to schedule we will have a grand opening celebration July 4th! And you're all welcome!

Now, our days are already looking different, filled with things like getting a tax license, health permit, building permit, and talking to coffee and equipment suppliers. But what fun!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Under a Desert Sky

For a month, I've been staring at this as my desktop at work: And now I'll be staring at it for real.

We're just about to leave for Moab, where I hope to hike on a big silent rock, hot tub under the desert sky, and eat ice cream on the city streets.

I'll be seeing you Monday or Tuesday, when I have some really big news to tell. (Unless you read my Facebook status before then.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Just Call Me Ammy

This post is stolen from Brandy, who won't necessarily appreciate it, as she did once quote, "They say impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I think it's just stealing." I have no problem with stealing.

I love nicknames. I'm not someone with many nicknames, probably in part due to my friendship issues and in part due to the fact that "Amber" is hard to shorten. But I agree with Brandy that there is something about a nickname that makes you feel warm inside.

My first nickname that I remember was from my dad, who called me "angel girl." My mom called me "Birdie." These names still make me feel cozy.

My sister Tara and I called each other "Coocoopapasin" and "Cocoa Butter." I don't remember who was who, but I sure hope I was Butter.

In high school, I was called "Ambo the Female Rambo" by friends. I don't quite remember how this started, but I think it's pretty obvious why, if you've ever seen my bulging physique.

My sister Chris calls me "Ammy," which makes me feel like the loved youngest, which is how I like to feel.

There are three people on the planet who call me "Am," which feels intimate and caring.

Mike calls me all manner of things including prefixes such as "monkey" and suffixes such as "buns," preferably not in that order.

So what is your nickname? What would you secretly like to be called?