Sunday, October 30, 2011

Unexpected House Guest

Saturday night as I sat in front of my computer with Suki on my lap I heard a kitty cry outside. Suki actually heard him first and perked right up. We both sat staring out the windows trying to see where it was coming from. No luck. So after about 15 minutes of crying, it stopped. An hour later we heard it again but still didn't see anything. The third time the crying started again (this had been going on for hours at this point) I went out on the deck to get a better look. As soon as I got out there a little white kitty ran across the parking lot. Being the cat lady that I am, I called down "hey kitty cat, what's wrong?!" because obviously he was going to tell me. He looked right up at me and ran to the base of the building and started crying again. Now I felt really bad for the little guy and went down to check him out. He ran right over and started purring and rubbing against my legs and shoes. Cutest little guy ever with big baby blue eyes and ever so slightly cross-eyed (can't win 'em all!) I started walking upstairs and he followed right behind me like a little puppy. He walked right into the apartment like he owned the place (Suki was already closed in a room because I obviously had no intentions of bringing this kitty inside.....)

Well, if Collin would have been here he would have put him right back out after all of the crying he did after I fixed him up in the bathroom with food/water/litter. I called one of my best girlfriends asking for her advice but there wasn't much I could do. So I kept him inside and he did settle after I turned the lights off. He is the absolute friendliest cat I've ever met. He just curls right up on my lap and wants me to pet him. 

Suki on the other hand, the spaz that she is, immediately threw-up when she heard the kitty in the room next door. She did calm down when I brought her into our room so she didn't forget that she is still queen bee. 
This morning I did everything that I could possibly think of to try to track his owner: posted ads on Craigslist and PetFinder, placed found claims at two different shelters, contacted my leasing office, called the newspaper, and have a call into the vet. Maybe posters will come tomorrow. 
This isn't eating into my study time at all.....

This is what is going on inside my head at the moment! Wahhhhh

Oh and I did get my glasses. Bigger than I expected and extremely nerdy but I like them. And I can see my computer/books MUCH better and I guess that's really the point. 

Collin's flight was cancelled today so he and his sister will be coming in tomorrow instead. I can't wait till he gets back!

And I hope everyone in PA enjoyed the big snow! Nothing here except on the mountains!

Friday, October 28, 2011

In Loving Memory of Brennan

This past week has been rough to say the very least. I haven't posted because we were unexpectedly back in PA after receiving some terrible news. Collin received a phone call Friday night from his mom saying that his younger brother had been found dead at his apartment in Philly. Brennan was born with a serious heart defect and recently had open heart surgery to replace a valve. Although they are not yet certain, it is believed that his heart condition contributed to his unexpected death. Collin was obviously devastated. We packed some clothes and left immediately for Denver to meet his sister and fly back to PA. Now, after spending a week in Williamsport, I'm back in Colorado and Collin will be back on Sunday. It was difficult to see Collin and his family in such pain but the 400+ people who attended the services show how much Brennan was loved and will be missed.

Brennan's Obituary

The next four pictures are of Collin with Brennan when they were little

The five kids at Christmas in their matching PJs. Collin is cracking up about something 

Brennan and Liz

The Linn kids at Ryan and Jen's engagement party

Thank you to those who have already heard the news and sent their thoughts and prayers to Collin and his family. It is greatly appreciated. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Manitou Springs

I have a mind like a black hole. Somehow I completely forgot that we actually DID do something last weekend! We ventured over to Manitou Springs which is sort of known as the hippie-town sister of CO Springs. I knew I'd like it! We didn't get to spend much time walking around because we went on a Friday night after Collin was finished working so we're definitely planning to go back. I planned to do a little antique shopping to see how it compared to my hometown antique capital of the world. But, no-go. They were all closed by the time we got there. So we walked up and down the main street to see what was around.

The town is right at the base of Pikes Peak

Downtown is very cute and surrounded by mountains

The North Pole!
And there is a railroad somewhere in this pic that takes you to the top of the mountain

This was a hand-painted 3-D map of the town that was apparently done by kids. Not sure about the story behind it.

There were many little winding side streets, unique little staircases built into the side of the rocks that led to who knows where, and bridges over crystal clear streams that really added to the eccentrically charming feel of the town. I didn't get many pictures though. :( Next time.

We decided to grab a drink and find a place for dinner. We stopped at the Townhouse Lounge for a few drinks first. It definitely had a locals feel and was our kind of dive bar with happy hour specials too, perfect.

After that we decided on mexican for dinner. Fantastic mexican out here by the way!! There was a new restaurant that opened this year a little ways up the mountain so we gave it a try. It was called Crystal Park Cantina (named for the road it's on) and they had pretty great reviews so we headed up the hill. 


They had awesome margs and the food was pretty good too. I had baja style tilapia tacos and Collin had a pulled pork burrito with green chile sauce. Very good but we'll probably try another place when we go back just because there seemed to be such a selection!

Fish Tacos!!

I also want to try this place called Craftwood Inn. It looks pretty fancy shmancy and the menu looks amazing. Everything from wild boar and elk to calamari and scallops. We didn't actually see it while we were there but read great reviews and checked out their website. Here's a picture:

Ok. I'm off. Maybe my sieve of a brain will remember something else tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Walking Dead

Collin and I just started watching the show The Walking Dead on AMC. Super violent but a really good show if you like a little zombie suspense in your life. Season 2 just started this week so we watched the first episode and then decided we needed to catch up on the first season too. So, we downloaded and watched all but one episode yesterday before bed.
Here's the season 2 trailer:

I'm hoping we have a halloween party to go to later this month because I think it would be an awesome makeup-fest trying to turn myself and Collin into walking dead!

The only thing I did this week besides cook and study (and drink a few beers) is go to the eye doctor. My eyes have been getting noticeably worse with all of the reading and staring at the computer that I've been doing. I noticed it during school but kept pushing it off. Ends up that my suspicions were true and I need a new Rx. Instead of spending a hefty $500+ on new glasses I found this website with crazy discounts on frames and Rx lenses. I ordered a pair using the Rx my Dr gave me and I'm not-so-patiently waiting for them. They have a 100% refund policy and I know a few people who have used the site so I thought that I had nothing to lose really. They should be here Friday so I will update when I get them!

As I mentioned last time, my next couple of weeks would be rather uneventful. That meant my blog would suck for that time period too. Sorry! Presently, I am at the club house at our complex to get some undistracted study time in...obviously it's not working right now.

We did make some amazing chili (Collin's yummy recipe--we made it with Colorado prong-horn antelope!) and italian sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions this week but not blog-worthy at this time.

Hope your week is better than mine!! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Books, Peppers, Apartment Pics, and Sake

It looks like the next two weeks or so are going to be rather uneventful. I FINALLY got my permission letter to take my boards so I'll be studying away for a couple weeks until the big day arrives.

Recap of this week:
There is a thrift store nearby that Collin and I visited for some pots and pans for our camping trip. After spotting an intern from his office we promptly checked out which left me with 3/4 of the store to browse another day. I decided to head back there this week and see what I could find. I ended up with a pile of vintage books and two old glass milk jugs for only $20! I love thrift stores!!

Some of the books sitting on our coffee table

There was also a set of antique ski poles and a few other things that I wanted but that we definitely don't need in our apartment right now. Collin was happy to hear that I had enough self-control to leave them alone!

I got another fabulous recipe from a blog and it was once again NOT disappointing. I'm not a huge stuffed pepper fan. The concept always appealed to me but all of the stuffed peppers that I've had were pretty bland. This recipe substituted the rice (boo!) for orzo pasta (yumm!!). It also incorporated turkey sausage (I had chorizo sausage and substituted that instead), onions, and garlic...all top my favorite ingredients list. Collin and I both thought that they were awesome...and easy too! Here is a link to the blog (it is a friend of a friend's blog who is actually a chef):   Orzo Stuffed Peppers
She didn't mention how many peppers you would need but I bought five and could have filled at least two more. But the filling is so good that I didn't mind saving it and eating it for lunch or a side to another meal. For some reason green peppers are also my least favorite pepper so lucky for me the red, yellow, and orange variety were on sale so that is what I used.

My yummy peppers! 

Some random pictures that Collin snapped this week:

Suki enjoying the bear

Old crazy eyes enjoying a glass of Cab with Suk

Apartment picture time! Still quite a few bare walls and things out of sort but oh well!! Here we go...

Front door/entrance
Laundry behind the double doors and coat closet to the left


Our bakers rack turned bar with my Nana's old milk glass lamp that was given to me before I left for CO! (working on hiding the cord!)

Also, the pretty handkerchiefs are from Nana!

All white bedding + fish painting by me and my mom

Bargain queen: I got the main Ralph Lauren bed spread from TJ's for $20, the extra large Cynthia Rowley Pillows at TJ's for $20, I bought the other two bed covers at the bottom of the bed at a yard sale that my grandmother's friend was having for only $8! (which also included another blanket we use for camping, the middle sham, and those two blankets--which were never used and amazing quality to boot!) I'm not done pillow shopping for the bed but just like the rest of our apartment, it has to wait!
Crackled side tables by me and my mom

Girls Bathroom

Boys Bathroom

Guest Bedroom/junk room/litter box room...If we actually had some guests I would gladly remove the litter...Come on people, get out here!

Last night we went to our (so far) favorite sushi restaurant. The food is outstanding and so is the staff. The chef's seemed to remember us from last time and even remembered what we after we were finished eating, the head chef brought this cute little orange bear over to us. How nice!

Collin ordered some sake while I was in the restroom. For those of you who may be wondering, I didn't break any mirrors this time.

Now back to studying/lounging. Smile!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Uneventful Weekend + A Bear

This weekend we were (once again) not in the Springs. We really have yet to do much in our own new town. Every weekend we've been away so I'm trying to make an effort to keep us here so that we can explore a little! Friday night we went up to Denver for the weekend so that we could doggie-sit Collin's sisters pups. They were away for the week in the awful, horrible place known as Cabo San Lucas . We, along with their regular dog-watcher, were in charge of making sure the dogs were alright throughout the week and weekend.

The Boys
From top to bottom: Tini, Kona, and Monty

While in Denver we met up with our friends Jake and Mari at a snowmobile expo. I was fine with it until Collin mentioned that he wanted to buy one. No way Jose. We live in an apartment on the fourth floor, the perfect place for a snowmobile! Also, I definitely didn't fit in and Collin barely did, although he was wearing the standard uniform of a plaid shirt and boots so he was better off than I was. I was wearing converse sneakers, a puffy vest, and a flowery scarf...not tough enough for those snowmobilers (who, I realized, are basically bikers in the snow). To top the whole experience off, it was pouring down rain all afternoon and part of the expo was outside. It never rains here. It was a sign. To go.

Other than that, all we did was stuff our faces. Not unusual. We left the expo and headed to a bar/restaurant called Three Dogs Tavern. They had good beer, awesome spicy waffle fries, and smoked hot wings. Definitely turned my frown upside down. Did I mention I've gained two pounds since I got here?! Two pounds shmew pounds, after filling our tums we went back to his sisters and left again shortly there after to get some ice cream. Oy vey!

Some good news: Wolfcreek ski resort in southern Colorado got 4ft of snow this past weekend!! And Denver and the Springs even got a little dusting!

Wolfcreek! Known for their large snowfall...not disappointing!

The view from our apartment. A snow capped Pikes Peak.

A snow dusting in Denver

Another note. Today, while lounging in my oversized sweatpants, someone knocked at the door. It was the UPS man with a huge 3'x2' package. I signed, took it inside, and opened it. It was a bear. Yup, a real dead bear. A bear rug and skull to be exact. Collin's hunt from before we started dating was finally finished at the taxidermist and found its way to our living room. I actually like it...well, the rug anyway! Certainly not everyones style but I think it looks pretty cool under our coffee table and the skull is sitting on top of an antique handkerchief on top of my old linen & leather chests. And another plus, Suki isn't scared in the least bit and has totally left it alone. If she doesn't continue this way she might be the next rug Collin makes!!

I'm getting used to the skull I guess. It's not completely foreign to me growing up in the house that I did! Still creepy-ish though...but it could also fit into the antique/rustic/romantic eclectic style that I love.

I'm not sure if I'll leave it like this as I'm still in the process of decorating but it will do for now. What do you guys think!?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Sticky Bun Bread

I found this recipe on my friends blog ( and had to make it! I'm a full-time pumpkin freak, I don't care if it's fall or not. The original recipe is called Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread with Buttered Rum Glaze, whew. That's too much of a mouthful for me, plus it tastes more like a pumpkin sticky bun anyway. I posted this on facebook but made a few tweaks since then. Word to the wise: this recipe is very time consuming but if you have a lazy Sunday it is certainly worth it. Being my first actual bread recipe (meaning it includes yeast and kneading) I was pretty proud of myself when it actually came out as delicious as it looked! 

What you'll need:

2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 envelope dry active yeast (2.25 tsp)
3/4 pumpkin puree
1/4 granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Cinnamon-sugar mix:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Buttered Rum Glaze:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp rum (or vanilla extract if you don't like rum)


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a golden brown (careful not to allow it burn/turn black). Microwave milk until warm (about 20 seconds or so). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook--or to a regular mixing bowl if hand mixing/kneading) and allow to cool a bit (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8-10 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead (or use dough hook) for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, melt 2 tablespoons of butter for brushing. In a small separate bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. 

Next, grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down (literally) and flip out onto a clean, floured surface and knead with hands for 2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20x12 inch rectangle (I had a tough time with this at first--it helped to roll it out slightly and then re-cover with the towel and let rest then try again after a few minutes and just keep working it until it cooperates. And I didn't get a perfect rectangle either!) Brush with the melted butter and evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips and then cut each strip into 6 squares (mine were certainly not squares but it still looked and tasted great!). 

Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan.
**Do NOT overstuff the pan. I did and some of the end pieces popped out onto the bottom of the stove :( I would recommend placing a cookie sheet underneath just incase! Next time I make this I plan to put the extra pieces in a mini loaf pan instead of stuffing them into the big one
Free apron...woo!!

Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After allowing the dough to rise in the pan, bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar. Place back on heat and stir until it thickens a bit and the powdered sugar dissolves. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the loaf after it is finished baking. 

Hope you enjoy!!! We sure did!

     My little spy throughout the process: