Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2010 Welshon Family Highlights

I love Shutterfly. I think they are so easy to use and they produce quality stuff. I love them even more when they send me amazing coupons. I recently received a code for a free 8" x 8" book. I had a good start on the 2010 photos, but honestly, they were lingering in my computer. This simple $30 code spurred me into action. I would have liked to make the pages more decorative, but in the end I simply like to include as many photos as possible.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Photo Book Tip: Create an adventurous travel photo album at Shutterfly.com.

I had hoped to get the entire year done, but alas, I could not. So, this is part 1: January - August (52 pages). I will endeavor to do the remaining 20+ pages for the rest of 2010 soon. I really want to get caught up. The cover is a bit cheesy, but it was nearly midnight and that was when the code expired, and the image makes me smile every time I see it, so I decided that it was the one to use. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ethan's Thesis Defense Invitation

At AVS the seniors put together a panel of advisers to help them prepare for the next stage that the student plans to go onto after graduation. As part of the process every senior writes a formal thesis in which he/she explains what he/she has learned about him/herself and how he/she has taken responsibility to prepare him/herself to be an effective adult in the larger community. Each potential graduate works through several drafts of his/her paper. In April the potential candidate has a special event, the Thesis Defense. A week before everyone in the community, along with all of the assembly members and board of trustees receives a copy of the thesis defense. On the Thesis Defense night the student gives a presentation which includes an oral version (often slightly different from the written thesis) of his/her thesis. Some students also include personal items which may include tokens that represent his/her life. For one student it was a gallery style showing of some of his photographs. For another student that included the presentation of a one act play she wrote, directed and performed in. Some presentations are a bit more simple. After the presentation there is an open question and answer session where the student defenses him/herself and the assertion that he/she is ready to go onto the next step. Ethan's defense is coming up soon and he has been working very hard. The process has surely been one of his most important projects to date. He has learned so much about himself and the potential that he has when he applies himself. I am sure it will be a well attended event. A simple email is usually sent out, but I, being the graphic artist that I am, could not let this opportunity pass by without designing a card. Thus, here it is. The real one does not have smugged out sections. This one does simply for privacy sake.

While I type this out I hear another computer in the background. My husband has it tuned to the emergency channel. Though the weather has been so beautiful in the city, it has turned dangerously dry in the mountains. At least four major fires are blazing, growing quickly. We hear the sheriff's department deputies as they try to get the people to evacuate. Many are resisting. An 80 year old man is stuck in his home several miles up the hill. Fire crews are trying to rescue him. A man with three horses has no trailer. He has to trust that the horse loving and owning community will band together and get them all out. There is a good chance that will happen, providing they can get through the road blocks. Other folks pretend to live in the threatened areas in hopes of getting a chance to see the fire up close. In one section the fire has crowned out, meaning that the fire has reached the top of the trees and can jump from tree to tree, setting each one ablaze as the wind provides easy travel arrangements. The down side of listing to the emergency channel is that you never know the outcomes of most of the stories.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jambalaya and Snickerdoodles

Jambalaya San Rice

Extra virgin olive oil
(1-2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced - I did not add this.)
10 slices bacon, diced
7 links Andouille sausage, chopped
1-11/2 cup Celery, chopped
1 Red Onion, diced
1/2-2/3 cup Peppers red, orange, yellow and green, diced
2 cups Cauliflower, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon chili powder
4 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
4 Bay Leaves
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil. Cook until the chicken is just browned on the outsides. Remove and set aside.

2. Add the bacon to the pan, and saute until beginning to crisp. Add the Andouille sausage, celery, onion and peppers. Cook until the sausage begins to brown and the vegetables are soft. (Return the chicken to the pan.)

3. Mix in all of the spices,along with the cauliflower stirring well to coat.

4. Pour in the tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook until thickened, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

5. Stir in the shrimp and cook until just barely cooked through, about 3 minutes. Serve.


Snickerdoolde Cookies

1/2 cup Butter, unsalted, softened
1/2 cup Shortening
1 1/2 cup Sugar (plus 3-4 TBL sugar extra)
2 large Eggs
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
(1 teaspoon Baking Soda - I might add this next time)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)
2 1/4 - 3/4 cups Flour, all purpose unbleached (start with the smallest amount and add as needed to make a workable dough)
1 TBL Cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and cream. Finally, add in the shortening, cream of tartar and cream. The mix should be very smooth.

3. Add in half of the flour and mix lightly. Add in the remaining amount of flour until you have a semi-soft dough. Work with the dough as little as possible.

4. Combine the reserved amount of sugar with the cinnamon. Don't worry about being too precise.

5. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, form balls of dough and roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place them 2" apart on a cookie sheet and cook fr 9-11 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, or until cool enough to remove.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Learning to Snowboard in Eldora

We spent Saturday helping to demo the townhouse that caught on Friday last Wednesday. I can't write about that just now. It will have to wait. Instead, I want to focus on the fun from the weekend.

We spent most of Sunday up in Nederland. Kohlton taught Ellie how to snowboard. I am so glad that she finally got to learn how to snowboard. It seems silly to live in beautiful Colorado and not take part in the snow sports, but they are very expensive.

Britt, Kohlton's mother, told Ellie that she would likely spend most of her time falling on her butt. This was partily true, but it was not as bad as it is for many. She did not complain of a sore behind later on. Mark, Kohlton's dad, made him promise to be patient. Seeing that they were still smiling at the end of the day and that we did not find them in the lodge, I'd say that Kohlton was successful on that front, too.

I imagine that it must have been a nice feeling of accomplishment for both of them when Ellie was able to get down the mountain.

It was a glorious and sunny day.
While the girl learned to snowboard the rest of us had a casual lunch at the Wild Mountain Smokehouse. The food was great and they were kind enough to let us hang out for a while. I've been having a craving for buffalo wings and they sure know how to grill them.
After picking up the kids and making them suffer for a few photos, we went to Mark's and Kohlton's house. It is a lovely, inviting and comfortable hunter's lodge kind of place. Mark does engraving on knife hands, gun stocks, etc. I was pretty fascinated with the stuff he has created. Being an artist myself, I have an idea of what it takes to do such art. Beyond just the standard artistic challenge there is the issues of size (usualy very small) and shallow 3D. I think Kohlton's a pretty lucky boy for being able to grow up there.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Humbled by Change and Sudden Turn of Events

There have been an number of sudden and unexpected events that have taken place recently in the lives of our friends that has caused me to pause and be actively thankful for our lives.

On Wednesday one of our good friends turned on the smoker or grill on his patio and ran to the store to pick a few things up. When he arrived home he was alarmed to find that the propane tank was ablaze.

He called 911 and then considered whether he should try to deal with it, or go find the cat upstairs. Into the house he went, looking for Vash. As he was looking for her, he heard the propane tank explode. She was no where to be found. Soon James realized that flames were licking the stairway so he decided to evacuate, jumping over flames as he fled. We now realize that searching for the cat likely saved his life. He might have otherwise been in the kitchen or the main floor of the house and been caught in the explosion.
They lost their cat, Vash and nearly everything they own, but they are okay. On Thursday they returned with many friends in tow, my son among them, to see what could be salvaged. Ethan worked to find anything useful in the kitchen.The glue on the cabinet doors had melted and sealed them shut. Ethan had to break through the wood to get to the stuff inside. Only that which was intended for heat (such as their pans) came out okay. A container of sugar looked like a giant bit of hard candy. Everything in the living room was charred, melted, burn and water logged. All of the electronics are gone, but the kind folks replaced the MacBook for free. It is likely that Apple may do the same. Bless them for being so empathetic. The effects of the fire will haunt James and Missa for a long time. The day before this Missa felt blissful.

The fire has caused us to refect. It has caused much pain for my husband who has suffered from fire dreams since then.

At school a friend who is in her 10th year as a breast cancer survivor found out that she has active cancer again. She will have a bilateral (removing both breasts) and possibly reconstructive surgery. In getting ready for that she as given a battery of test where upon they found a spot on her liver and her spine. Kay simply hopes to have her life. When she dies her son will only have his stepfather as most of the rest of the family, including his father, have already died.

Another friend made a bad choice to take part in an activity at his form place of work. The federal marshalls have taken posession of many of the family computers. He could go to jail for most or the rest of his life.

Yet another friend ended his marraige of many years. She was a spender. He is a saver. She has all of the stuff she has spent her money on and walked away with about half of what he saved, too. He did not fight it much; he just wanted to be done.

All of these things that have happened to our friends make me pause and be thankful, conscious and thoughtful about the live my family lives. It could change so quickly, so suddenly. It reminds me that I need to focus on the good stuff - every day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Waiting for Spring to Arrive - Hopeful Choices

Most of the time, the crocus in our gardens bloom on Ellie's birthday. The weeks leading up to her birthday were too cold for that to happen this year. Only a very few brave flowers sent up hopeful buds that remained tightly wound up, hugging itself against the cold.
Each day after that I watched and waited. Each day got a bit warmer.
By last Friday the flowers began to brave the sunlight and offer up its open pedals to soak in the glorious rays. A few small bees hopped from flower to flower looking for signs of spring. Larr, Ethan and Tom lounged in the back yard. The boys played game after game of backgammon.
Saturday was a wonderful spring like day. The skies were blue, the wind had calmed and I was in the mood to garden. Rob Proctor, the local garden guru, proclaimed that it was time to plant pansies. Oh, I want pansies! They are so hopeful and joyous. But I have no money right now for such things and the few garden centers that have them warn that the flowers would need to be hardened off. I had to content myself with cleaning up the back yard.
The crocus and tiny iris cheered me on as I raked and trimmed. I was so tempted to pull away the blanket of fall leaves, but I know better. March is usually our snowiest month. I must be patient!
This striped beauty joined in the fun on Sunday.

In the garden bed nearest the house, the tulip green begin to prepare themselves, too. I love the colored edge of this plant. I cannot remember which colors of tulips I planted, so that will be a fun adventure, too.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Colorado State Mountain Bike Championship Jersey Designs

This weekend we got a lot done in the garden. While cleaning up the yard and pruning a monster bush in my back yard I designed a few jerseys for the 2012 Colorado Mountain Bike Championship.

I am please and complimented to get a chance to throw my ideas into the ring.

I came up three very different ideas so far. All of them are just sketches I put together.

Each design has a few problems, but they are enough to test the waters.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Ellie and Kohlton - Wacky Quiz Results

Tuesday the girl turned 15. Can you believe it? Fifteen - already. With Ethan nearly graduated, I am acutely aware of how fast my time with her is speeding away.
This year she celebrated her birthday by going downtown with Christy and Kohlton.It was a perfectly lovely day. They started out in the Highland's neighborhood walking around and had a little fun at the Little Man Ice Cream store. Ellie says that it was the coolest place. Ellie, the purest, had vanilla. Christy peanut butter orange ice cream and Kohlton had chocolate. They hung out, ate their ice cream and enjoyed the music, like "Silly Love Songs."

Next up, they strolled the mall and hung out at the park before going to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Ellie forgot her wallet at home and so her dad had to deliver it to her and then go back later to pick them all up. (No adults were invited to this party.)I was at a meeting in a different part of town by then.

And they forgot to take photos. Can you imagine?

Kohlton came over and had dinner with us on Wednesday. I relaxed with them and asked them some silly, wacky quiz questions. (Actually, I try to ask her some version of these kinds of questions every now and again.)Here's what they had to say:

It's a Kid's World -

1. If I could have one superpower it would be (E= flying, K= Wolverine powers (super bones with super healing)

2. What chore did you do last? (E= clean the fridge, K= vaccuming)

3. What was the last movie you saw in a theater? (E & K = "Chronicles")

4. What did you eat for lunch? (E= Man Salad (lettuce salad with beef strips), K= nachos and quesadillas)

5. What is the nicest thing you've done lately for someone in your family? (E= Made breakfast for Ethan, K= Helping my mom get out of bed (she had an injured back)).

6. What makes you mad? (E= girl's drama, K= getting hit with the kubaton during training).

7. What makes you happy? (E= being with friends and music, K= hanging with friends and skating, music)

8. What do you like to drink? (E= milk shakes and water, K= mountain dew and Fago soda)

9. Websites you visit. (E & K = Facebook and YouTube.com)

10. What would you like to learn to do? (E & K= Learn to speak German, E= backflip on a bike, K= every skateboard trick)

The Best and Worst -
1. The age in your life you have enjoyed the most so far: E= 15, K= 15

2. The age that you've hated the most so far: E= 12, K= 15

3. The best day of the week: E= Friday. K= Friday night

4. The worst day of the week: E= Wednesday, K= Tuesday

5. Your finest accomplishment: E= Mountain bike crash (Endo Superman) & tripping onto the podium, K= Becoming a sponsored hunter

6. The worst thing you've done:E= Tripping on her way to the podium at CX Nationals, K= Not landing easy tricks at the skatepark

7. The color that looks best on you: E= Black, K= Brown

8. The color that looks the worst on you: E= Orange, K= Red

9. Your favorite movie of all time:E= "Batman" or "Fight Club", K= "Let it Ride"

10. The worst movie of all time:E= "Frozen", K= "Dude, Where's my Car?"

Two by Two -

1. 2 everyday things you couldn't live without:E= Ipod & jacket, K= Ipod & cell phone

2. 2 favorite songs:E= "All of my Love" by Led Zepplin, "If", K= "It's a Long Way to the Top" by AC/DC, "Gematria" by Slipknot

3. 2 things I want to do before I die:E= Going to the moon and driving around the world, K= Going to the moon and doing a back flip on a skateboard

4. 2 things I worry about:E= Getting fat and being homeless, K= Getting pulled from school and having to get into fights

5. 2 stores I shop at: E= Hot Topic and Zumies. K= Hot Topic and Community Skate and Ski

6. 2 things that scare you:E= Being buried alive and a bad reoccurring dream where everything is white and creepy, K= The Grudge and losing a fight

7. 2 snack you could enjoy every day: E= Apples and nuts, K= Nachos and apples (with a bit of caramel from time to time)

8. 2 people I'd be lost without (excepting your family):E= Christy and Kohlton, K= Ellie and Chirsty

9. 2 nicknames I've been given:E= Jelly Bean and Jelly Belly, K= Andy and Bear

10. 2 places I want to go on vacation: E= Russia and Alaska, K= Alaska and Africa

Fill in the blank -

1. If I hadn't become a (E= cyclist, K= Juggalo), I might (E= suck, K= less friends).

2. If I hadn't (E & K = gone to AVS), I might never have met (E= Kohlton, K= Ellie, Chirsty and Brandon).

4. My ability to (E= to be funny, K= draw) is one of my greatest skills.

5. If asked, my family would say my greatst accomplishment is (E= going to CX Nationals, K= being on honor roll 3 years in a row).

7. I am sorry that I will never see (E= 11/11/11, K= Greta (his dog who died this past summer) again.

8. Going to (E & K= AVS) taught me that (E= friends are one of the best things ever, K= I need to be free).

Monday, March 05, 2012

Ice Climbing

Ethan has been gunning to go ice climbing and finally got his chance last Saturday.
Here he is on "Bud Light" in Clear Creek Canyon.
He joined Tom, Stephen (Tom's dad) and Tom's Uncle for the adventure. He can't wait to go again!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Newest Graphics Project - 2012 Cyclefest Postcard

This is my newest graphics project - a postcard for the Colorado High School Cycling League's main fundraiser, Cyclefest 2012. It took a ton of time to get everything just right, but I am happy with how it turned out.