Monthly Archives: January 2010


Two weekends ago, we skiing at Steamboat Springs. A few college friends were coming in town, and we were able to stay with our friends Gabe and Nina. This was my first time at a “real” ski resort. Fancy place, fancy people. The slopes were great for me, as they have a number of runs that have minimal “sloping.”

Oh, an update: Right before Christmas, I went on snowboarding day #2. It was rough. I wasn’t giving up yet, but I did have a bruised tailbone for around a month afterward. Joel decided we should both go back to skiing, and I happily agreed. I bought some cheap skis on Craigslist and some boots on ebay, and I am set. I would have been miserable at Steamboat if I attempted to snowboard. Joel is still snowboarding, so I haven’t figured out if he really thought he would go back to skiing when he made his suggestion, or if he was just trying to make me feel better… Either way, I am a content green-level skier. The main reason I wanted to snowboard anyway was because I hate walking in ski boots. :)

Lee, Gabe, and Joel on the slopes
Us at a mid-mountain overlook
Notice the helmets - we highly recommend them!
Slightly blurry view from the condo. Did I mention that Gabe and Nina have access to an amazingly located condo?? (yes, that is the main gondola right there)

Meat meat

I just read this article, and I thought I’d make a post about meat:

We eat meat. That said, we somewhat “carefully” eat meat. I do often wonder whether I should be allowed to eat meat at all, as I am not currently willing to slaughter it myself…and I don’t even want to cut up a chicken at this point. It seems reasonable that I should be willing to fully prepare most things I want to eat.

Anyway, my family gave up red meat maybe 10 years ago for health reasons, but I’ve generally eaten a lot of chicken and fish (fish production is a whole different issue!). We’ve reduced our chicken/fish consumption over the past couple of years as we’ve realized how good some other things are. Gardening helps us too. Everyone knows that meat not produced on a factory farm is more expensive, but we decided that such meat was the way to go (healthier, no antibiotics that might make me resistant to them, not killing the environment, etc.). So, to offset the increased cost of buying sustainably produced meat, we just eat less. It works well for us, and we stretch the meat further when possible.

I’ve been hearing more and more about “Meatless Mondays” and the massive impact it would make if everyone did it. It seems like a great idea!

We get around

Weekend before last, we headed to Echo Lake to snowshoe. The highlight of the day was our first experience on a frozen lake!

We also headed to Evergreen, CO to Three Sisters Park. We had a great time hiking and scrambling up the 3 big rock formations. On the way out there, we saw a team playing hockey on a frozen lake…and we thought that was just in the movies.

Click to enlarge any pictures.


Our hearts are heavy this week as we learn about the devastation in Haiti. I am frustrated that this happened in the one place in the western hemisphere that is the least able to help itself. I am frustrated that the news media is so enamored with finding out the death toll. I am frustrated that aid can’t get in because the roads are so bad.

What am I not frustrated about? There are a number of great organizations out there who are ready to help. When we give to new charities, I like to look up their stats to make sure they are actually stewarding their money well, rather than spending it on fancy fundraising dinners, etc. Here are some basic figures from Charity Navigator. Although these show who spends prudently, it doesn’t tell you who can have the biggest impact or who has the best resources in Haiti. I don’t know much about a number of these organizations, so sorry if they aren’t great, but the numbers mean something!

*Listed in order of highest percentage going toward program expenses

*Name of charity links to their website. Program expense % links to their Charity Navigator page

*The number of stars is assigned by Charity Navigator and is based on the above factors plus organizational efficiency and capacity (and yes, there are charities with 0 stars!)

Charity Program Expenses Admin. Expenses Fundraising Expenses Charity Nav. Rating
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries 93.7% 5.5% 0.7% ****
Save the Children 91.7% 3.7% 4.5% ****
American Red Cross 90.1% 5.9% 3.9% ***
Samaritan’s Purse 88.6% 4.9% 6.4% ****
Doctors Without Borders 87.3% 1.1% 11.4% ****
World Vision 86.7% 4.6% 8.5% ****
Compassion International 83.1% 8.0% 8.8% ****
Oxfam America 80.1% 6.1% 13.6% ****
Healing Hands International 78.3% 10.8% 10.8% ***

So for now, we pray and give, pray and give…

Christmas Post

We have returned from our former home to our new home. The break was long and quite nice, almost the perfect number of days. We spent a lot of time with family and a little time with a lot of friends.

Here are a few highlights (starting with a non-highlight) from our trip.

1. We ran into terrible weather on our trip home. What should have been an 18 hour trip plus stops turned into nearly 27 hours, including 2.5 of sleep stops. We won’t make that trip again in the winter!

2. We ate lunch on Christmas Eve at Baja Burrito. Due to their extremely long holiday closure, that was the only meal of our entire visit that they were open. Glad I called ahead. Long live pineapple salsa.

3. We spent a lovely Christmas Eve with my family, eating at Finezza and exchanging gifts. Christmas brunch with my extended family and a somewhat polite game of dirty Santa rounded out the festivities on Christmas day. I can’t number how many failures to take pictures this makes for us.

4. We went to Birmingham and had a couple of nice relaxing days with Joel’s parents. Although better than my family’s event, we only managed to take approximately one picture.

Susan opening her mp3 player
Susan opening her mp3 player

5. We spent most not-previously-committed breakfasts, lunches, and dinners catching up with friends. (Williamses, Harrises, Wrights, Mankins/Smiths/Huffards for Joseph’s birthday, Otts, Joel’s old coworkers, Duty, Baxters, Youngs, Brittney, and Brad. Phew!)

6. We saw even more friends at the nice potluck Duty hosted on New Years’ Eve. We were the old, boring, married people who weren’t feeling the next party (so stereotypical, right?), so we finished the night with a movie since some other plans didn’t work out.

7. A celebration with my mom’s side of the family on New Years’ Day, minus my traveling brother, was the final event.

Dad, Jennie, and Elizabeth about to open gifts
Dad, Jennie, and Elizabeth about to open gifts
About to open my books from Grandmommy
About to open my books from Grandmommy
Breanna, Chad, and Emily
Breanna, Chad, and Emily

8. We had great weather on the drive home and had a much needed, fun visit with the Mortons in Newton, KS.

The Mortons and us
The Mortons and us

We are really thankful that Joel got so much time off of work so we could make the trip!