#damselNOTindistress Life Hack: Meal Planning

I briefly showed my meal planning process on Instagram Stories but long time friend Doug asked me to do a post about it so he could copy my system and he figured some of you might want to as well!

While we have a grocery store in Ridgway, it is prohibitively expensive to use it as my main shopping location. This means I have to drive 25 miles north to Montrose to do my grocery shopping. In order to avoid spending my gas money on necessities and not on play, I have to be efficient with my trips.

 

Meal Planning:

I use Google Calendar to do my meal planning. I created a calendar specifically called “food” and I use it to make sure that I have a way to feed myself every meal during the week. Using Calendar means that I have flexibility to shift things around if something comes up (I just eat leftovers instead of cooking a new meal, I accept an invite to go eat out with friends, etc.) without erasing or just making mental adjustments. The calendar format means I can also see what events are coming up during the week: for example, I’m phone banking Thursday night and the host is providing dinner so I don’t have to feed myself.

I’ve gotten more into cooking lately so I tend to sit down with my latest go-to cookbooks (Run Fast, Eat Slow and Run Fast, Cook Fast, Eat Slow) and pick out meals I want to make that week. In general, this happens sitting in my kitchen on Sunday night when the pantry gets a little bit low so I can scheme ways to use any leftover ingredients floating around the kitchen.

 

Grocery List & Google Tasks

As I add meals to the calendar whether it’s simple things like sandwiches or more elaborate meals, I open Google Tasks in the calendar window and create a grocery list from the ingredients. Google Tasks is definitely not perfect but I do like that I can have it in the same window as the calendar when I’m putting things together.

I started doing this just before school started (yay, structure in my life!) and I’ve started organizing the list by how I shop in the store so that I can shop efficiently. (You’ll note that I also put general Montrose errands on this list. Google Tasks only supports one level of subtasks so City Market doesn’t get a task but Home Depot, Jo-Ann’s, auto parts stores, etc. do.)

 

In Store: Google Tasks App

While shopping, I use the Google Tasks app to make sure that I get everything on my list. I am totally that person actively walking through the store on my phone because it’s my list. I have things set to not show completed tasks, that way my list actually gets smaller as I walk through the store.

Before I hit the checkout, I quickly pursue the completed items list before I leave out a key component for something by accidentally marking it as completed. The next week, I just clear all completed items before shopping so I have a fresh start that week.

 

Limitations

This doesn’t particularly affect me but you can’t share Google Tasks between people while calendars can (although my wise friend Liz opened a Gmail account with her partner for household bills so that might be a workaround since Google Tasks supports multiple sign-ins).

I would appreciate collapsible sub tasks in Tasks as well. I think it would help me be better about forming a “Montrose game plan” if I could just see the stops I need to make.

 

Why it works for me

I have a bad habit of leaving lists various places or starting multiple lists. Sometimes  I’ll think of something while I’m at school or out and about and like the ability to use the Tasks app to add things to my Montrose list. I like this more than the commercial grocery apps because it’s more flexible.

Birthday Loop: High Above Ouray

When Katie was visiting earlier in the summer, we’d planned a long run high in the mountains above Ouray. Enjoying the run without running from monsoon thunderstorms meant pushing the run off until fall. Part of me was afraid to try it because it sounded like a ton of elevation gain and I was pretty sure it was going to hurt (spoiler: the uphill at mile 12 did hurt). Yet, Katie didn’t let it go and finally I agreed that it would make for a badass birthday hike-run.

It totally was.

We left Ridgway early and hit the trail in the dark. I love hiking through sunrise in the mountains: seeing the light hit the ridgetops and work its way down into the valley is really a wonderful feeling.

The colors were just starting to pop but fortunately, completely fooled us on how wonderful they’d be in a few weeks:

The uphill hike seemed to go super fast and I was surprised how quickly we found ourselves on the ridge. I’d looked at this ridge a million times but standing on it for the first time, I got to add to my mental map of local geography.

I also added several peaks to my list from up there within just a few minutes.

Then it was time to set off down the ridge. There were lots of ups and downs and we had to decide which peaks to skirt and which to climb (the only non-optional one was the ranked 13er on the ridge)

The ridgetop was pure giddiness. Including Mountain Prancercise…

This photo was taken on the shoulder of an unranked 12er bump on the ridge that didn’t, at first glance, have a clear cut route to the top. As we traversed around it I found a gully that I thought might go to the top. We carefully picked our way up the loose rock and pulled a couple of stout scramble moves and found ourselves on the top.

I think Katie and I would both agree that although the unnamed peak wasn’t our actual highpoint for the day, it was actually the emotional high point.

Just a few minutes after our unoffical climbing objective, we found ourselves on the actual highpoint of the hike.

These mountains, man. From here, if I’d have had binoculars I could have picked out my house to the north and mountains every other direction as far as I could see.

From there, we had a small (500′ climb) that felt like 2000′ and then the huge descent into town. After eighteen miles and 6600′ of gain, we were both worked. Quickly completing the car shuttle we hustled home to our crockpot dinner and devoured all the food.

Thank you so much Katie for going along on this dream adventure of mine! I had a blast!

Slacker Saturday 13ers: Canby and Galena

A few weeks ago, I had a friend offer to let me borrow her Jeep while she was out of town in case I wanted to tackle a big hike. I didn’t particularly have a big hike in mind but I told her that I would certainly come up with one.

I called Nadia and asked if she and Stella would want to join me for a ridge hike to some mountains.

It turned into the best ridge walk slacker Saturday of 13ers.

The weather was fantastic. The company was great. The views were mountains in every direction.

 

Colorado 13er: Golden Horn

Back in July, my friend asked me, mid-concert in the park, drinks in hand, if I would like to climb Golden Horn that weekend. I’m never one to turn down mountain adventure so I agreed, although I was slightly concerned about how slow I might be headed up the mountain.

After what felt like an early start (but not to shabby since we live close enough to wake up in our own beds), we found ourselves at the trail head cruising rapidly up towards Upper Ice Lake. Above the lake, I finally got to solve the approach question from Fuller Lake towards the ring of 13ers above the basin (I had a storm come in when I first attempted Vermilion from Ice Lakes).

I’d climbed Fuller Peak (on the left) and Vermilion (center) in 2015 and was very excited to head up Golden Horn (on the right)!

I’d almost forgotten how much I actually enjoy(?) relish(?) feel alive(?) when making my way up loose San Juan rock. The weather was perfect as we worked our way up the gully to the Vermilion-Golden Horn saddle.

Once we were on the summit, we were treated to a fantastic view of the Wilsons:

A gorgeous view of upper Ice Lake and all of the San Juans:

As we headed down, the sky got really moody and we felt an urgency as we headed down the mountain. The rain started just as we started descending the headwall into the lower basin.

I’m always so glad to hike with Nadia because she is totally willing to gush about these mountains with me the whole time.

I’ve seen Golden Horn now from several angles and every time, I think of this fantastic day and smile.

July Visitors!

While my project in Washington somewhat dragged on, I had events starting to pile up in Ridgway that I needed to get back for. My boss started calling to set up some summer meetings but more pressingly, Cindy had purchased plane tickets months ago and Katie was coming out for hanging out with people during the Hardrock100.

Since Cindy was only in town for a couple of days, we went out hiking on Sutton Trail. Although it’s steep, the views of the amphitheater are amazing. Plus, we got mixed up in another group of hikers that were actually a ton of fun. After our hike we drove over Red Mountain to Silverton and then headed back to my place for lunch and some wine and porch sitting.

The next day, we drove up to Telluride to check out the views and ride the gondola. Apparently I only Instagram storied my photos since I don’t have any! Again, we basically meandered back to the house and found ourselves catching up with pretty mountain views as old friends do.  It was so much fun to share my home with you, Cindy! I know I’m in the middle of no where but you win the award for first friend to buy a plane ticket to come!

Katie’s visit out this way for Hardrock events slightly overlapped with Cindy which was actually a lot of fun. After Cindy headed back to the midwest, Katie and I decided to head up Bridge of Heaven. This is one of those hikes I’ve wanted to do but was sort of dissuaded from because of all its elevation gain!

We started from the Dexter Creek side and quickly attained the ridge line and then pushed our way up to Bridge of Heaven proper.

By the run down, my legs were feeling it but it was a good way to start getting in some solid elevation gain again!

JJ got MARRIED

Although I’d been in Washington for a long time, I had to make a quick trip up because my oldest nephew’s dad was getting married!

Before the wedding though, my mom and I had Friday to spend together. I needed new running shoes so I convinced her to drive up to the flagship REI in Seattle so I could have a nice big selection (and still earn a dividend). We had a lovely time shopping together (and she insisted on buying me the dress I wore to the wedding) and then for lunch, I took her to a little spot that a dear friend had shown me a few years ago.

My mom and I both love oysters, especially raw. As we settled into our table, she pointed at a map on the wall and said, “Now I like that map.” I, the map obsessed daughter, laughed, because the map showed Pacific Northwest oyster growing locations.

Midway through our first dozen, Mom declared that we would be getting another. I basically spent the entire meal giggling at how excited she was.

The next morning, Mom had some errands to run so I asked her to drop me off at a trail and I got in some (humid) miles before the wedding.

Although, around the ceremony, it was really hot the wedding was really wonderful. I got lots of Andrew hugs:

They did such a good job of including the kids (all four of them!) including having my sister come up for their parent-kid dance to dance with Drew:

I hate garter tosses and bouquet tosses but watching Andrew and Junior giggle together as they waited was pretty adorable:

Since there was music, there was my family dancing. No one should ever expect differently:

Congratulations JJ and Destiny! I’m so happy to have you both (and your whole crew of munchkins) in my life.

The whole darn family: Mom, me, Emily & Kevin, JJ & Destiny, and the whole troupe of kiddos.

Life These Days: Summer 2018

After what seemed like forever in the Northwest, I finally wrapped up projects at Mom’s house enough to come home. It was time for trail running and COLORADO SUMMER.

I was inspired to buy a Roomba to make my life better. First, I named it John, because white dudes should clean more. And then I realized that I loved John, so I renamed it “The Boyfriend”

I found time to read books:

And then heard that same Jonathan P. Thompson speak right here in my little town.

The FSJ Invasion crew came to Ouray:

I got to hold some pretty famous stuff. (Yeah, that’s MJ’s Wooden trophy and a Grammy base…)

Life is sweet.

Tacoma Adventures

My trip to Tacoma largely for doing work on Mom’s house but I did manage to squeeze in some fun as well. Sprocket probably didn’t agree that it was too fun but I tried to make time to take him for walks and he went to work with my mom a few times.

I took him swimming down at the Sound a few times:

The day I went to the Hanford B Reactor with Kamel, I hustled back to Tacoma to have a ladies night at the Rainiers with Aunty, my mom, and Shar. We were rather late to the game but kept the party going at a post game dinner plus Mom and I had a slumber party at Aunty’s.

I got to be home to see JJ graduate from his automotive technician program. On top of that, I got come cuddles from this kid:

My aunt and uncle celebrated 50 years and Mom, Nons, and I sent anniversary wishes to them from Nons’ patio:

Uncle Skip invited me to come to the Rainiers with him. I knew I probably should work on the house but I skipped out for the game. There was a cool WWII baseball memorabilia display and we had a great time watching some baseball. I thought I might go home and get to work but instead, we picked up Aunty and went out for dinner. (My trip was a lot more time away from Ridgway than I wanted it to be but I feel like I spent a lot of time with my mom and with some other family so that was nice!)

 

Ted Williams during WWII

I tried some Tacoma beer:

And tried some more with cousins:

 

Alta Lake & Leavenworth

Mom and I both had hand-wringing moments of “should we go” before taking off to Alta Lake in eastern Washington for a couple of days. I was stressed out about the idea of not working on the house for four days and mom was basically … just stressed about the house. 

It was such a good choice to go!

First, I worked some packing magic so Sprocket has lots of room in the back seat. He basically cuddled with Shar’s foot the entire way to and from the lake. 

We stopped at the Twin Pines in Cle Elum. I used to stop here on the way to Ellensburg to visit my cousin Taylor at college! It was somehow more delicious than I remembered!

Sparkling wine flight to go with lunch at Karma Vineyard’s 18 Brix restaurant

There was wine tasting, dance parties, cornhole, evening cruises on the golf course, and relaxing by the pool and all the good food! I also read an entire book and a half.

Group photo at Tsillan Cellars

At the end of the weekend while we were driving home, we stopped for lunch in Leavenworth and decided to get in one last wine tasting at Goose Ridge Winery’s tasting room there. The wine was delicious but mostly I think we all just had a blast doing it!

#damselNOTindistress: Flooring … and a little bit more.

Last summer, when I went back to Washington for Edgar’s number retirement ceremony, I wound up replacing flooring in my mom’s kitchen, living, and dining room. Over the winter, Mom and I agreed that I would plan on doing the rest of the flooring this summer. I could drive up, bring Sprocket and my tools and knock it out.

Ha.

Her insurance also insisted that she replace the siding so she hired a contractor friend to tackle that. He figured, no big deal, it’s one story, no ladders needed.

Ha.

Her house is almost 40 years old which meant plenty of surprises as both the siding and the flooring projects proceeded.

Almost immediately, things went off the rails when I discovered a leak from the master bathroom shower into the living room when I pulled up the carpet. I replaced patches of subfloor from years of pets in the house. And the bathroom leak morphed into a full master bathroom renovation.

A full bathroom renovation included doing drywall. I hate doing drywall.

I sort of tortured my pup as a distraction:

Days and weeks crept by and by the time I was getting close to wrapping things up, life in Colorado started demanding that I come home. Sprocket and I were pretty happy to answer that call. I felt bad because there were finishing touches to be done but fortunately they were much smaller projects (baseboard, painting) that other family members volunteered to do for Mom.

Before I left, the flooring was all done, the master bath was brand new (isn’t her vanity gorgeous?),

She also got a new hot water heater! (Ughhhh, the lighting in this hall sucks…. I have Ideas.)

This vanity area turned out nicely though!

Her bedroom is also freshly painted and has a new floor:

Now, I just have to go back next summer and tackle this project that appeared during the process. It’s always something, but I’ve been promised I can learn to tile here.