#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.



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.

Ute Indian Museum

Way back in January, I visited the recently renovated Ute Indian Museum. With my recent readings about exploration of the Western Slope (and the rest of the West) by Europeans and later Americans, I decided it was time to check out the history of the people that they’d displaced. The museum was renovated over the winter of 2016-2107 with what I understand to be extensive input from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Tribe, and the Ute Tribe of the Unitah and Ouray Reservation. The Ute Indian Museum is part of the History Colorado museum network. The museum is located near the site of Ouray and Chipeta’s ranch just south of Montrose.

The museum isn’t particularly large but it does contain a lot of information and the new exhibits are really well done. I learned a lot as the museum moved from how the Ute tribe interacted with the physical environment and more about their historic range to artifacts of the tribe. In these early sections of the museum I was really struck by the use of “we” and “our” in the text to accompany exhibits. It served to really emphasize to me how a whole people was affected by the arrival of explorers in the area.

Seeing some of the historical artifacts was really exciting. The museum has several pieces of clothing worn by Ouray and Chipeta which I found really cool. That sinking sober feeling I’d gotten earlier, really struck home when I got to the section of the museum highlighting how the reservations of the Ute bands were splintered and made smaller over the years. I was familiar with the history from Ouray: Chief of the Utes and other books that I’ve read but seeing it laid out in graphic form was really striking.

The final section of the museum featured contemporary exhibits from the various Ute tribal groups. They were very positive in nature and talked about traditions that are preserved by the tribe.

After a quick pit stop in the gift shop, I headed out to the grounds of the museum. Chipeta, had been buried in Utah where she had died on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation but in 1924, her remains were moved to the museum grounds. (Chief Ouray’s remains are buried near Ignatio, Colorado.) I also checked out the interpretive signs about the Domniguez-Escalante expedition of 1776 down closer to the river.

I’m really glad that I visited the museum. I live on land that used to belong to the Utes and was glad to learn more about the tribes, especially their current situations. I’ve been in Colorado for five years now (and delightedly, all out on the Western Slope) and deepening my understanding of history here is always something I value.

As of this writing, the museum is $6 for adults (but if you’re a member of History Colorado it’s included) and well worth the visit!

2017 In Review: By The Numbers

Ha. Ha. Ha.

2017 was about numbers in the bank to put a (heated, insulated) roof over my head. But, for posterity’s sake (as if the global posterity cared about my numbers), here is my 2017:


I’m still working at resolving my weird boundary issues with running and hiking for 2018 but anyway, that’s my own obsession with data integrity. Anyhow, I hiked 150 miles in just 29 outings (down from 44 outings in 2016 and fifty in 2017). I PROMISE MYSELF TO BE BETTER TWENTY-EIGHTEEN.

Photo David Wherry

I only summited sixteen peaks in 2017, down from 43 in 2016 and 56 in 2015. Considering the amount of free time I (did not) have, I actually don’t fret about this too much because when I made time to hike, I climbed big things. 2017 featured my highest average peak height ever. And apparently I did some steep stuff because I surpassed my 2016 elevation gain despite being wayyyy down in peaks and miles. (Admittedly, 2015 and 2016 were padded by some low elevation plains high points to achieve list completion eventually.)

Beth Lakin graph data

Beth Lakin graph data

I did get six county highpoints: San Juan County, Utah’s Mt. Peale, Navajo County, Arizona’s Black Mesa, Nevada’s Storey County highpoint Mt. Davidson, Jackson County’s Clark Peak and Eagle County’s Mount of the Holy Cross in Colorado, and Arizona’s Cochise County highpoint Chiricahua Peak. I’m only three peaks from finishing Arizona (80%), and three quarters done with Colorado (76.56%). I’m hoping to make a really solid run at Colorado next year. I have a lot of big but awesome peaks left in my home state!

Photo Katherine Zalan


No wonder I’m not feeling my best. I ran 200+ times in 2016 but only 46 times in 2017. I need to be better about moving my body more (I’m headed out in a bit so I’ll be 2/2 in 2018 in a couple of hours!) Despite that cratering of number of times, I did only fall to 184 miles from 345 in 2016.

Beth Lakin trail running

Training in General:

Didn’t happen. I just gritted my way up peaks because I needed them for my soul. I’m looking forward to living a life that can be much more balanced in 2018 and one of the things I’m looking forward to emphasizing is my fitness goals!


Past In The Numbers posts:

Wildflower of the Week: Eastern Pasqueflower

Pasqueflower (or Cutleaf Anemone) 
Pulsatilla patens ssp. multifida

While Sprocket and I were out hiking Ouray’s Perimeter Trail last weekend, I noticed a wildflower. It was only the first weekend of April so I was totally surprised that there were already flowers popping up through the snow! As it turns out, when I did, muddy snowmelt areas are precisely where you’d expect to find the pasqueflower.

These flowers are such pale purple they’re almost white. Their little petals are really delicate and the stems are almost fuzzy. They’re scattered all over the hillside where I found them!

Just a few days later, I also found them on the Thunder Trails near Norwood! They were everywhere!

I have been meaning to learn more about native plants in the San Juans and the Colorado Plateau for YEARS. In order to help me learn, I’m shooting for a weekly plant of sorts like I used to do with the Cactus of The Week feature. Writing the Cactus of the Week really helped to me learn those cacti and I’m hoping for the same to happen here!

2016 In Review: By The Numbers

As I alluded to in my 2016 review post, this was not necessarily my best year for tallying big numbers since there were other priorities on the docket but I want to document things for posteritiy anyway. (My 2015 post is here if you’re curious!)


This year is a bit complicated in the hiking section since I definitely trail ran things that I would have counted as “hiking” in the past but I didn’t split my runs in my tracking between “trail running” and “road running” but I’m not going to stress too  much about my data.

I hiked 176 miles in 44 different outings down from 50 trips and 277 miles in 2015 (including some snowshoe adventures).


I hiked 43 summits in 130 miles with 30,115 feet of elevation gain. This was a pretty small decrease in the number of peaks but a pretty substantial plummet to my mileage and vertical from 2015.

I hiked 17 county highpoints in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Oklahoma. My goal of finishing Colorado’s County High Points by the end of 2016, took a beating thanks to the fact that I deferred to my goal of building a house. Taking a Spring Break trip to collect most of the plains highpoints taking me to 73.4% (47/64). I grabbed my first two Utah county highpoints over Labor Day weekend. I also added three of Arizona’s County High Points, reaching 66.7% (10/15) on my annual Thanksgiving road trip adventure. I made it to the summit of Oklahoma’s state highpoint, my only state highpoint of the year.


I did much better at running in 2016 (and started supplementing running with some cross country skiing). Sprocket and I started practicing #joyrunning and found ourselves exploring trails much more. I got my behind out more than 200 times covering 345 mi! This is still nothing amazing but I’m getting better; we’ll see if I can do more than that in 2017!

TED Talks: TEDx Telluride Live

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Tuesday TEDx simulcast sessions of the TED Conference. TED, “Technology, Education, and Design”, brings together a whole lot of ideas to be shared and discussed. TED talks have become really popular because they have a maximum length of 18 minutes, which means pretty much anything can be an interesting topic. TEDx events let those of us who aren’t able to go to Vancouver join in on the fun.

I was really impressed with the event in Telluride. (I was also very thankful to have a town like Telluride close enough so that I could attend a TEDx event!) There were snacks and refreshments at each break as well as smart attendees ready to talk about the sessions.

The theme of the 2016 TED Conference was “Dream.” (I swear the themes are general enough that they’re all but irrelevant.) The sessions I attended included “Radical Repatterning,” “Imagination. Invention. Ingenuity,””Life Hacks,” and “Deep Memory.”

I’m so glad that I went to the simulcast. I had a lot of fun and got the opportunity to listen to a lot of wonderful ideas: some of the things I’ve heard have already made their way into my classroom (Tim Urban’s Panic Monster is one of them) and others have just percolated in my mind, especially those with which I disagreed.

Feeling inspired about government?

I really really wish Haley Van Dyck’s presentation about the United States Digital Service was available on TED.com. I actually left her presentation inspired about the potential for government to improve and enter the modern era. Van Dyck talked about how USDS is revolutionizing government websites with a small team dedicated to making things work without bloated taskforces that spend billions of dollars without getting things done. She was also amazing, awesome and I immediately walked out of the theater and followed her on Twitter. (In lieu of the awesome talk, check out this Medium Backstory interview with Van Dyck.)

The importance of really caring

Franz Frudenthal’s presentation about the invention of a non-surgical method to treat infants with patent ductus arteriosus, a hole in their heart caused when the blood vessel connecting mother to fetus does not heal properly after birth, was really moving. Frudenthal is from Bolivia, a country where PDA is particularly prevalent (there is a correlation between altitude and PDA and also between infant mortality and poverty). Frudenthal spoke in broken English about the device that he invented to close the hole in the hearts of infants—a device knitted by Bolivian women. It was clear that Frudenthal truly cared about the problem at hand and I totally got emotional listening to him speak.

How does the sharing economy impact me and my community?

In two of thes sessions there were talks that were sort of “paired” to either give two sides of the coin or two approaches to the same problem. The first pair was Joe Gebbia, founder of Airbnb, and Travis Kalanick, found of Uber. Both Uber and Airbnb have been the focus of some interesting discussions surrounding the fairness of the “sharing” economy. Gebbia focused on the importance of creating trust between individuals, especially with something as intimate as a home. I found his thoughts about sharing of space really compelling; especially because I have had several great experiences with Airbnb (sadly, only one was not for the whole house so I haven’t had too many interactions with hosts). The rise of short term rentals has been partially blamed for housing issues in some Colorado mountain towns so it was interesting to really ponder the positives of Airbnb; I’m reticent to rent a private space with it as a matter of social responsibility but it might be really interesting to meet people staying in an extra bedroom. Kalanick’s talk focused on the use of data to streamline transportation of people building from the jitney in 1914 to discussion of UberPool, a service to match riders heading in the same direction. Similarly to Airbnb, I saw UberPool as raising issues for mountain towns (mostly, are we dodging the important discussion of affordable housing that leads to really long commutes) but also as having the possibility of immediate applications—what if there was an easy way for people commuting from Montrose to Telluride to find each other and share driving responsibilities?

Worth every bit of time

I have pages in my notebook scribbled full of ideas and thoughts raised by the talks. Cédric Villani saying that mathematics is responsible for “replacing a beautiful coincidence with a beautiful explanation” spoke volumes about what I love about science and math. Adam Savage discussing costuming, creating, and becoming was lovely and inspired me to think creatively. Brian Little has me pondering, nearly two weeks later, “Am I an extroverted introvert or an introverted extrovert? Am I being my true self?” I hope to be able to attend TEDx Telluride again next year, it was truly time well spent.


*Airbnb has come under fire for safety concerns and for turning long term rentals into more profitable short term rentals (an issue in my home county here in Colorado). Uber has been criticized for putting risk on the shoulders of drivers instead of absorbing it as a company.

Respect For Public Lands: Malheur Wildlife Refuge Occupation

I’ve been meaning to write about the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge for weeks but I just haven’t been able to. My keyboard simply can’t put up with the frustrated key mashing that ensues when my fingers attempt to act as a safety blowoff valve for my thoughts. While I’m not sure that I have a totally unique perspective on the issue, I can’t hold my proverbial internet tongue any longer.

America’s public lands are important to me. I’ve written before about asinine attempts by state legislators to transfer federal lands to state ownership and about how litter on public lands is not only infuriating but can lead to closure of lands by motorized uses. I have spent significant amounts of time wandering around our public lands mostly on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands with bits of exploring National Park Service lands. Hardly a week goes by in which I do not enjoy the freedom that our public lands afford either by exploring gravel roads, hiking to remote peaks, running trails and wandering through remote washes and canyons.

I recently got in a (Twitter) debate with a denizen of the eastern portion of our country who mused about the small percentage of public land east of the Mississippi as compared to the sizeable percentage west of the Mississippi. I didn’t really keep my cool in the debate. To me, a life long westerner who has spent just enough time in the east to make me aware of differences, our public lands are one of the biggest reasons that our country is great. I have written about this before and shared a lovely piece by Tim Egan about the luxury of a public land area more than three times the size of France. This is one of the amazing things about America; we have set aside large swaths of our country for recreation, preservation, exploration, and, dare I say, healing.

Public lands (National Atlas data via Wikipedia)
Public lands (National Atlas data via Wikipedia)[/caption]

The first answer to “why is there so much public land in the West?” is the climate. Explorer, self-taught scientist, and amazing public servant John Wesley Powell understood that the American West was too arid for agricultural development like that in the east and argued for cooperatives between farmers and rancher for small scale water development funded by themselves, not the federal government. We ignored him and built large dams and the government funded disjointed water projects throughout the west. (I reviewed and highly recommend Wallace Stegner’s Beyond The Hundredth Meridian for more background in Powell.) This land is public because the economics of private ownership do not work (federal grazing fees, of which Cliven Bundy still owes over $1 million, are drastically lower than on private land as a result of lower quality and infrastructure costs plus fees not keeping pace with inflation). Oregon’s eastern “outback” is arid and sparsely populated much more like Utah than like the wet valleys west of the Cascades.

Secondly, and perhaps the better answer to “Constitution” wielding Malheur occupiers, Oregon gave up rights to those public lands when they became a state (as did Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Nevada) under a disclaimer clause found in their respective statehood enabling acts (excellent opinion piece in High Country News, subscription required). Each state had to give up “all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States,” a power granted to the federal government by the Property Clause (Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2):

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Reading comprehension is not the strong suit of the militia since this clause clearly grants Congress the power to regulate federal lands as they see fit, including as a National Wildlife Refuge.

BLM: Toadstools near Kanab, Utah


The Constitutional argument is simply a front for advancing their own personal needs: they plan to open the refuge for grazing this spring and demand that the land be given back to the locals. The locals, residents of Harney County, appear to just want the militia to go home and allow them to get back to their daily lives (Steens Mountain Brewing is waiting for the occupation to end so they can get a Kickstarter going to fund a new nanobrewery!) The Paiute tribe is calling for a swift end to the occupation as the militia rifles through artifacts stored at the Refuge.

My heart goes out to the people of Harney County and of Oregon. It breaks for all of us, the ones who look forward to hiking Steens Mountain, value the irreplaceable migratory bird habitat, and treasure the artifacts of pre-Columbian use of the land.

Kofa Wildlife Refuge

Many of my blog readers will have already heard about the occupation and are property incensed but I encourage each and every one of you to explain the absurdity of occupation and, perhaps more importantly, the wonder and value of our public lands, to your friends, your parents, your children, and anyone who will listen. Our country gives each and everyone of us the inheritance of our public lands and it is our job to protect that inheritance for the generations that follow.

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Also, shout out to the people who sent dildos and lube to the protesters. It’s been my only bright giggling spot in this whole ordeal.

Update: Less than 12 hours after I hit “publish” on this post, the Ammon and Ryan Bundy plus several others were arrested by the FBI and Harney County Sheriffs somewhere between Burns and John Day. Ammon later issued a statement asking the occupiers to “stand down” but the issue is ongoing. Coverage from The Oregonian can be found here.

Phew: Adventures in Webmastering

Saturday, before heading out for Halloween festivities, I received an email from Google webmaster tools informing me that my site had likely been hacked. As I worked through their list of things to check, I discovered that some URL insertions had happened. According to the search results, 3Up Adventures had pages for a slew of pharmaceuticals.

I realized that combing through the code of WordPress was really not within my skill set. Of course, I didn’t realize this until after I pretty well entirely broke the site. I decided that if people were really trying to browse 3Up Adventures on Halloween that they would just be out of luck, and left it broke until Sunday afternoon. Back at home in De Beque, I realized that I’d been really blase about database and image backups for the site but I was able to recover and download these.

Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, or in this case, all my themes, customizations and plugins, I just started over with what really matters to me: my content.

There has been some heavy discussion about the use of blogs, social media, and self promotion circulating through my world after Essena O’Neill’s odd social media bashing social media fueled announcement. I blog mostly for myself, this little blog only gets a couple hundred page views everyday. My blog Facebook is sorta a ghost town )but that seems to be because I won’t pay Facebook) although I like to think I share some sorta cool stuff, my Twitter is for relationships, and apparently my Instagram is all about photos of Sprocket. But. I can’t actually get mad at Ms. O’Neill. When for a few minutes I thought I might have lost my entire blog, I was devastated.

In an odd sort of way, I love this blog. It is a way for me to look back at the last five (FIVE?!) years of my life and take stock of what I’ve done. I haven’t talked about my feelings a ton (although there definitely has been some feeling talk) but I have heavily recounted adventures spanning from Washington to Mexico to Jordan. For an instant on Sunday afternoon, I pondered canning this project and just letting it die a hacker induced death. But I can’t do that. I’m still waiting for all my images to upload via FTP (thus you will probably see some broken images in the above links) but 3Up Adventures is still standing.

Thanks for reading. It means the world.

1977 Cherokee: Car & Driver Review

Sometimes I start reading random things on the internet and later can’t remember who brought them to my attention. A few weeks ago, this awesome link showed up: a 1977 Car and Driver review of the AMC Cherokee. What is even more exciting is that they specifically sought out an “S” model: “We deliberately ordered a rather conservatively equipped Cherokee. We wanted to examine a medium-priced vehicle that the median consumer might actually buy.” Since Francis is an “S” model, I got way too excited about it.

I don’t read a lot of car reviews so I have no idea how this compares to anything else but this phrase, right at the beginning of the article pretty much nailed it: we .. “found it to be a strangely loveable vehicle.” EXACTLY. Strangely loveable is right.

And I’m probably the only one out there that just totally smiles her face off at tidbits like this: “It lacks the third seat available in vans, Suburbans and full-size station wagons, but all that means is that it probably won’t see much use as a school bus.”

And the were absolutely not kidding when they said “The man who lives in snow country, skis or boats or hunts or fishes, or just likes to get out and really see the country, should give the Cherokee wagon some serious consideration.”

But mostly, it’s that tag line: “A Conestoga for the courageous”

I don’t think Car and Driver quite pictured this Conestoga-ness but just maybe they did. 🙂

It’s sort of a ridiculous find but if you like old Jeeps and car reviews with personality it makes for a totally amusing read. I seriously grinned the entire time.

What Happened To My Sunshine?

This spring has been … challenging in the weather department.

After a warm, dry winter (although less dry than California and not as warm as the Pacific Northwest), I was looking forward to early high season access. And then came May.

It will not stop being stormy, windy, and rainy! And perhaps just as bad, snow keeps accumulating at the higher elevations.

I’m really not kidding. Check out these two graphs from the Grand Junction NWS office:

So yeah, it’s been wet and windy.

I’ve had work to do on the Jeep but taking out the back window seems a bit risky when I can hardly find a three hour window to work on it when it’s dry. I went for it yesterday and now Francis is wearing a diaper until it quits raining again. I guess that’s a plus of living in De Beque next school year: my house has a garage.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest but living in sunny Colorado (well, sunny up until lately anyway) has made me soft: I haven’t gotten out out hiking much and after winter I’m pretty over working out indoors.

All things considered though, cuddling with this pup isn’t too bad: