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While driving to the airport the other night to pick up my parents I listened to one of my favorite radio programs, e-town.  If you ever get a chance to listen in, I would highly highly highly recommend it.  The producers of the show are the parents of two gals I played volleyball with in high school (almost a decade ago, man alive!).  Nick and Helen are amazing people and so fun to watch at a live taping of their radio variety show.  Although listening to the show is entertaining, viewing a taping at the Boulder Theater is even better.   Watching Nick and Helen fluidly move from one act to another while feeding off the live audience while also keeping in mind that the show is to be listened to rather than seen is magic to me.  Oh how I love e-town.

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Cooper and I have spent the past two days in Granby with my sister’s family.  Even after all this time I still can’t believe that my sister has created a family (although she is the best mother and wife so I didn’t doubt her abilities).  The ride up to the mountains was almost disastrous for me…I couldn’t handle trying to entertain a baby for 2 hours while curving through the windy mountain roads.  Cooper wanted to stop to take a photo and it was a good thing he did because I was about to lose my lunch.  Luckily I fought the urge (because I was embarrassed to barf in front of some random snowboarders) and was able to make it to my sister’s house in one piece.

Today we spent the day outside in the amazingly fresh mountain air and did a semi-photo shoot of Amelia and the family.  I will try to post a picture once Cooper is finished copying the photos to a dvd.

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Tomorrow Cooper and I are off to Mexico for destination weddings #2 and #3.  It is going to be a crazy couple of days ahead of us, but also plenty of down time to do absolutely nothing.  Hopefully the prices for beer holsters are cheaper than in Zihuatanejo so we can pick up several dozen to have on hand for those moments when you just need to wear a beer holster.

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cooper and amelia sittin’ in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g

Oh how I love Boulder and coming home to be with family.  My addiction towards Amelia is growing stronger and stronger…I might need to go to AA (Amelia-ism Anonymous).  The moment Cooper and I arrived at my family’s bright yellow/mustard colored house, Amelia was drawn towards Cooper.  It was amazing to see how she felt so comfortable around him and flirted up the wazoo.  I might have to watch out or my niece might take my boyfriend from me!

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Last night I had the pleasure of going out for happy hour with the one and only Miss VonHatten.  I decided that last night (actually I knew a long time ago, but it is good to refresh myself on my thoughts) that Ashley is one of those really good, normal persons in this world.  No more of this cloning sheep stuff.  Clone Ashley!  We hadn’t seen each other in about 4 or so years and even though it has been ages, it never once felt awkward or like we had been apart.  Oh!  And I now have a new favorite drink: The “Med Fizz” from the Boulder Cafe:  pomegranate molasses, lemonade, tonic water, and vodka. 

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Soon we are off to shoot a wedding.  Hopefully the winds, rain, and tornado warnings will hold off until morning.  Gotta love Colorado weather. 

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“old mac donald” mixed media painting

Tomorrow morning Cooper and I are off to Colorado to photograph a wedding then Puerto Vallarta for two more weddings.  It is going to be a whirlwind of travels and work, but I suppose someone has got to do it.  I certainly can’t complain!  We just booked an all inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta for the second half of our Mexico adventure.  I guess we figured it would be nice to enjoy ourselves for a few days and not have to worry about pinching pennies at each meal.  Now all we have to hope for is good weather and decent food at the hotel. 

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Every time I go home I like to take something to my little niece (I am not trying to buy her love, I am practicing the art of spoiling her).  She is only 16 months but I think that soon she will be able to enjoy one of these.  I want one for myself.  She might also enjoy something like this.  I once had the best collection of plastic foods.  When in elementary school I packed my own lunch one day thinking it would be funny if I pulled a plastic sandwich out of my brown paper bag, but after the inital giggles were over I realized that I then didn’t have anything to eat.  I am one smart cookie who will do anything for just a few seconds of laughter. 

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A random thought:  There is something about cutting into the spongyness of a mushroom that I really do enjoy.  I could spend a good couple of hours cutting mushrooms. 

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A soon to be finished baby blanket for anyone who might have a kid

There is something about knitting that warms my heart and soul…or at least gives my hands something to do when I have moments to spare.  I love the process of starting a project from scratch and watching it slowly evolve into something.  Oh, if only there were more chilly days in California so I could wear one of my many scarves.  I guess I should stick to baby blankets for now and maybe Cooper could send them to his brides once they get pregnant.  Or, maybe my sister should work on having another baby (winka, winka)…or, perhaps my big brother is next in line (triple winka winka winka).  I’ll just keep knitting until something happens.

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Tea consumption

I think I must be fighting the tail end of a cold while also experiencing mad allergies.  Cooper too has been sniffling up a storm and sneezing like mad…it is a very pleasant sight in our apartment!!  I can’t remember if I have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things to do when I sneeze is to let all my mouth muscles go loose and just let the sneeze take over.  It makes for one of the best sneezing experiences known to man.  The end result is a lot like the noise a horse makes while your cheeks vibrate in a rapid motion. So well worth a try. My one suggestion is to reserve such sneezing for the privacy of your own home.   

Although the cold, allergies, sneezing, sniffling, and sore throats are not fun, at least we drink a lot of tea and I get to add the used tea bags to my collection (for art projects, of course). 


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bbq in texas, oh my stomach was so happy

Cooper and I are back now from destination wedding #1 and had one heck of a good time.  The trip out was not quite what we expected…our flight from Houston to Zihuatanejo was changed so we had to spend a night in Texas.  Although it would have been nice to have had one additional night in Mexico, our pit stop in Texas allowed for us to enjoy some fam-damn-tabulous bbq which was TOTALLY worth it. 
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view from our hotel room, Zihuatenejo, Mexico

The next few days in Mexico were much better than I had anticipated.  Zihuatanejo was such a cute mellow fisherman’s town full of tons of character and very nice people.   Our room was at the very top of a hill overlooking the ocean and cove which made for a fantastic view, but the hike down to the beach was a doozey.  Imagine trekking loads of photo gear on your back up and down at least 8 long flights of stairs…we got our workout, no doubt.

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And then there is the wedding…oh my gosh what a BEAUTIFUL couple!!  It was really tough to take a bad photograph of Erin or Josh, and I am not just saying that to be nice.  The photos I posted above don’t do the event justice.  Click here to see a slideshow of the rehearsal dinner, getting ready photos at the most amazing villa, then the ceremony/reception.  Luckily we had our main man Greg there to keep us entertained through the night.  It wasn’t until he dropped his beer in the sand and continued to drink his beverage full of sand when we knew he might be having a good time.  After a few days in Zihuatanejo, Cooper and I headed to the level resort-esque land of Ixtapa where we had a safe in our room to keep the photo gear while we enjoyed margaritas by the beach and long dips in the pool. 

It is nice be back in the not so humid air of the bay area, but now that I think about it, soon we will be leaving for dry Colorado then back to the humidity and heat for destination weddings #2 and #3 back in Mexico.  I may have to give my skin some deep conditioning when I get back!   

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a photo in honor of my g-ma and g-pa

The above photo encompasses memories of my “grandpa b” and “grandma kopp” (dad’s dad and mom’s mom).  My grandpa used to love butter mints and would always have them near his favorite seat in his house.  My grandma used to serve me a bedtime snack of cocoa pebbles with vitamin D milk in this green bowl.  This coming Friday marks the one year anniversary of my g-ma’s passing.  It is amazing how certain people can make such an impact on your life.  I hope, hope, hope, hope, hope that I am able to keep some of the little grandma kopp-isms with me for as long as I live.  Below is a list in progress of the things that made her “grandma kopp.”

  • the above mentioned cocoa pebble nighttime snack
  • sizzlean (a bacon substitute)
  • her love for the Irish
  • the way she would “decompress” before she stood up
  • playing golf in her 80’s
  • ice cream for breakfast
  •  going to happy hour at the Pumphouse with her granddaughters and daughter while in her late 80’s
  • the way she would tactfully clear throat after finishing a meal (something my sister and I now have developed)
  • being my personal cheerleader at volleyball games and wearing a gold skirt and purple turtleneck (school colors).  blowing me a kiss before the games would start.
  • posting my business card to her front door at the independent living apartment.
  • her zest for toast with butter
  • no one can ever fry a ham quite like my grandma could
  • taking power naps with her at around 3:00
  • an appreciation for closed captioning
  • her taste for mogan david wine.
  • the best jello with applesauce and 7-up in it (so mid-western!)

Oh, how I miss my grandma kopp

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penguin in the sun

I realized the other day that I have two cooking related things that give me a thrill:

1.) After cutting most of the fruit off of a mango for everyone else to enjoy, getting to eat the rest of the fruit off the seed when no one is looking.  It is messy, juicy, and so dang enjoyable.  Man, I wish I had a mango to share right now. 

2.) Peeling garlic.  Not smashing the garlic to remove the peel, but manually trying to get each layer off in big pieces.  It is similar to peeling off a big chunk of skin after a sunburn (I know. That is gross. But, doesn’t everyone enjoy it?).

Speaking of peeling skin off after a sunburn…tomorrow Cooper and I take off for Mexico trip #1.  I am so excited, although a little fearful of how I might handle the 90 degree heat.  I am not good with heat.  I guess it just means that Cooper and I will have to take lots of turns going into the water/babysitting the camera bags.  Zihuatanejo here we come! 

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garbanzo beans looks like little brains

My brain currently feels like the size of a garbanzo bean.  Maybe I need to go back to school.  Or maybe I should just do some brain puzzles.  Here is what I learned today: an average human brain weighs approximately 1,300-1,400 g, while a sperm whale brain weighs 7,800 g, while a goldfish brain weighs 0.097 g.  If you want to compare more brain sizes, check this link out.

It is a beautiful day here in Berkeley/Oakland.  I feel bad for ol’ Cooper…he has been stuck in doing more accounting/tax work.  I know he is feeling stressed when his hair starts to get frazzled (which it currently is at the moment).  I have either a bottle of champagne ready for him when he finishes or tissues if he has to pay $29759837529387.  Soon he can hopefully put tax hell behind him and we will have a bucket of beers on the beaches of Mexico.  Greg…have you gotten your base tan from a tanning salon?  Just joking.  Make sure you have your strongest sunglasses around because I am whiter than the whitest white and am sure to blind a few folks. 

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Four foot long box of cookies  from my big brother and his wife

All while Cooper and I had a four foot box of cookies waiting for us in our apartment, we decided to give the box a break and get out for a few minutes to run some errands before we leave for Mexico trip #1.  What happens when Assie is let out of the apartment?  She might spend money.  Cooper was fantastic at finding Take Five candy bars on sale in the Easter aisle for $0.63 a bag, but Allison managed to work herself into a tizzy and spend $150!!!  Actually, in some in with all the different stops, I ended up spending over $200.  But, what a minute…Allison, you are unemployed and have no money coming in, silly girl!  When I got home I tried all the frivolous stuff on again and managed to find 6 things that I can return, which will cut my spending spree down to a little over $50.  Don’t let me out of the apartment.

When I wasn’t wasting money, the past few days have been spent 1.) watching Cooper try to balance his business account so he can start his taxes (Charliemannn…where are you when Cooper needs you!?!?!) and 2.) painting my arse off.  I did a really good job of making a grand ol’ mess and have scrubbed several layers of my skin off my fingers.  I bet I don’t have a fingerprint anymore. 

I have a number of projects in the works, but here is a sneak peak at one of the paintings:

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Easter Brunch 2007

It is 5:52pm and I just washed my face.  It is amazing what unemployment can do to your normal schedule.  I am typically not the kind of person who likes to just lounge around and not be active with my day, but today I totally failed.  As a matter of fact, I am still wearing the same shirt that I was wearing last night when I went out with some buddies, and I just now put a hat on to hide any greasy hair.   I know “they” say you should get up, shower and dress as though you are going to a job and then apply to hundreds of jobs, but I am no where near that today.   At least I have been semi-productive and applied to a job and already got a call for an interview, oh and I watched the missed episode of the bachelor on my laptop (I just lost 29357927359280283409235928759873984723 points for saying that).

Last night Jeff and Gordy did a fine job of reassuring me that unemployment is ok and is a time to enjoy doing nothing (within reason).  Gordy suggested reading lots of Russian novels and consuming chocolate all day long.  Love the idea.  Jeff encouraged me to really pursue the arts.  Love the idea.  So, after a day of way too much computer use, I have made my plan of attack for tomorrow:

  • go for a long walk
  • take a shower!
  • go to the cheap art recycle place and get inspired
  • go to the expensive art store and get inspired
  • paint!
  • look and apply for jobs
  • if time, knit, take photos, or go to a coffeeshop to read

Repeat on Thursday.

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This past weekend my parents were in town for Easter.  We did the usual fine job of going from one restaurant to the next…I see the stretch marks forming already.  Cooper and I made brunch on Sunday morning…what a treat it was to have our first dinner party in our new apartment!  Who knew six adults could survive crouching over a coffeetable to eat their meal?  Some day we will have a real table, someday.

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purple silk from Morocco

So many little things to report:

a) I did my one good deed today…I found a little stuffed animal sheep on the sidewalk when I was out for my morning jaunt.  I thought to myself, “Hey Assie, this must be an early Easter gift that someone just lost.  How sad.” Then I looked ahead and saw about 3-5 blocks in the far off distance a woman with a stroller.  I decided that there was maybe a 65% chance that the sheep belonged to her kid so I might as well try and return the animal to them.  Sure enough it was theirs and the mother/nanny/friend was sooooooooooo grateful.  I felt like the shiz-nat.

b.) I had a garbage man say good morning to me today outside of Jeremy’s clothing store.  This was momentous because 1.) he didn’t say good morning to the people in front of me and 2.) I was hidden behind my hat and looked deathly so he must have made an extra special effort to produce his greeting.

c.) I made the following recipe today in an effort to try and use some semi-expired yogurt that had never been opened.  IT IS  SO TASTY (and moist, although I don’t like to use the word moist too often)!!  The taste is reminiscent of Intermezzo’s bread and Emily’s sweet pizza dough.  Love it.

Courtesy of Stonyfield Farm

Ingredients
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup plain Stonyfield Farm Yogurt
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Shift the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a large bowl. In another bowl, beat the cooled butter, eggs, yogurt and honey until frothy; add the herbs and beat again. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; pour the liquid mixture into the well and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended. Pour into a lightly greased 8×4-inch bread pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
Yields
1 loaf

d.) I have my confirmation number for a ham.  How often do you have a confirmation number for ham?