Sunday, December 30, 2012

No hablo Portuguese

First new thing I learned of the trip...brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese instead of Spanish. Good thing it's just a layover!

Also, the guy who sat next to me on the plane told me not to drink the water, yet my water sterilizer gave me a green light...and then a red light. Guessing even a little green means it's a little ok...only one way to find out!

Current temps: a humid 85 degrees in São Paulo. I had to take off my jacket and already accidentally left it behind when I went to the baño. That was a far the people are legit!

Friday, December 28, 2012

here goes nothing!

It's the feeling of driving up to the mountains on the biggest powder day of the year...sheer excitement. It's the moment you've been waiting for all year. You've planned, you've dreamed. That feeling of going to a big high school dance with the person you've always wanted to go with. The feeling of driving across the country to leave behind what you know to pursue your dreams.

The feeling of cold feet.

Few have seen me cry on those epic powder days. And trust me, they aren't good tears until my car tires are back on dry pavement. I've bailed on some great dates and wondered why they deleted my phone number. And as difficult as it always is to leave, the most difficult step always seems to pay off the most.

So yes, I'm stoked beyond words for my trips. I planned these for a reason and I can't wait for the follow through, knowing that these experiences will be probably more than I ever imagined. And yes, I'm nervous. What single female traveler wouldn't be?! Especially sharing my vague plans with family and friends...isn't it ok to fly by the seat of my pants?!

Speaking of was great to see 'em for Christmas, even if I do wish it was longer so that I would get sick of them :) And Denver and friends, I love y'all, but I'm glad I haven't seen you this week because I hate goodbyes. Two months sounds like forever to leave a home I love.

And I refuse to look at snow reports and I will change all my friends' facebook snowsport photos into pictures of cubicles until my round-trip just so happens to bring me back for a couple *hopefully snowy* days :D

Sunday, November 25, 2012

first souvenirs of the trip

three in each arm!
adult polio, yellow fever, japanese encephalitis, hep a+b, flu...just a few more to go :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

week two...trips booked!

After an unproductive couple days and circle discussions with travel agents to spend less than $3K on flights, my round the world flights are finally booked!

Here it is, starting December 29:

Dec 29: Denver >> Buenos Aires, Argentina
Jan 16: Buenos Aires >> Denver - crossing my fingers for a couple great powder days!
Jan 19: Denver >> Mumbai, India - via 22 hour layover in Munich, Germany
Jan 28ish: India >> Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam
Feb 27: Bangkok >> Denver - just in time for the annual family ski trip :)

Send me a note if you have any recommendations on what to see or do...or if you want to join. I'd love travel partners!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

wise is to teeth as smart is to phones

if it's wise to remove your wisdom teeth, is it smart to not have a smartphone, and smart not to have a smartcar?

Friday, November 9, 2012

things I've learned from funemployment...week one

1. I crave pancakes. Perhaps because everyday feels like Saturday, and I would love making pancakes Saturday mornings as a much that I had the recipe memorized to a tee. Perhaps I'll be able to memorize it again.

2. The grocery store is fully stocked at 8 am. Now that I'll be relying heavily on sale items, I come before the shelves have been raided.

3. I'm still not ready to own a dog. I thought I was...I really did. Maybe it's like a don't really think you're ready until you just have your own...or like kissing boys, when dirty slobber miraculously became ok, to a point. I dog-sat this week for a beautiful, well-behaved Doberman. It didn't attack me or chew up my furniture, but having a little one count on me to be let out and walked a few times a day was enough responsibility for my jobless self. No wonder people post so much dog and baby stuff on facebook all the's a full time job that becomes your life! which leads me to my next point...

4.  My days have actually been pretty productive, therefore I find less and less need to be on facebook. Or maybe I was just sick of only reading about the election this week. And I had my own dog to look after.

5. I'm going to use public restrooms a lot more from now on. If I'm home all the time, that means I won't be saving money on toilet paper.

6. Libraries are awesome. Not only for public restrooms (per above), but also for the FREE movies (take that redbox!) and hello...FREE knowledge. I think I have about 10 books checked out right now. Note to self: when I'm down to my last few hundred dollars, fly to a warm tropical island with a library. I feel like I can learn anything in there.

7. All my farm ideas are terrible. Hence why I will be going to the library more (per above). I have a range of directions in mind for where I can go with farming. My teacher talked me through them and at the end of our conversation I asked...
'so it sounds like just a regular small farm starting on an acre is the best idea?' 
'Well, they're all terrible ideas, Shannon, but none of us are in this for the money, are we?' 
True, true. At this point, any profit looks good to me. And per my friend Patrick...technically I'll be growing money, so it's like something from nothing!

8. Chicago is my number one dealbreaker. I am open-minded to lots of things, like nose picking or dirty lingering laundry or Packer fans, but I have a zero tolerance policy for dating men who want to live in Chicago. Unless you're Oprah...there's 0% chance in anything that I will follow you. I wonder if I can convince anyone else that the concrete jungle is greener there, not here with the endless sunshine and mountains and outdoor activities and freedom of feeling like a kid...

9. I'm learning to do things that I hate because it's good for me. Like making my bed and flossing around my permanent retainer.

10. I'm learning to be productive with my time. Which means I should stop here and get to some homework.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

support your local farmer...even without buying vegetables

Today was my first visit to the eye doctor in 2 years. Having stocked up on contacts before I quit corporate and skipped chi-town, I haven't felt a need until that I've been laid-off and have one month to use up my benefits!

Not sure of my exact plan, but for now, I'm going where the wind blows. I have some freelance design projects. I want to start a farm in spring. There are rumors of me contracting work with my current employer. And I'd like to travel the world for at least a couple months.

Maybe I should play the pity card instead of smile when people apologize to me. But I am pretty content about these recent events. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and here I am, in the middle of it. A couple months ago I felt like I was in a fog. I knew I wanted to do something. I felt stuck. Everything was a blur, didn't make sense, didn't feel quite right. Yet being aware of that, I knew that's exactly where I was suppose to be. Doing just what I was doing. Waiting. It's been a summer of holding patterns. Getting to destinations but timing and conditions being just not quite right for landing. I recognize this's the same feeling I had before my sabbatical. There was so much prep work, so much frustration with my job and the city, yet as soon as I made it to Colorado, pure joy. Everything aligned more perfectly than I would imagine. I brought this up with my best friend, and she and I agreed, we're just prepping for something big, I think it's approaching. Being the top interviewee for a position I barely applied for...yet not being offered a position. Being accepted into the building farmers class was a start. Being laid-off was next. I have a few open doors ...we'll see what's next!

Anyway, back to the eye doctor. After asking me a series of questions about my health history (not much to talk about), she asked me, as a designer, if I work on the computer 8 hours a day.

"Yes, at least for another couple days. I just got laid-off...which is why I'm here to put the last of my benefits to use. I'm going to try to start an organic small farm in spring."
"Are you serious?! You are going to save our world from pestisides! YOU ARE A SAVIOR!"
All I could think was, was she serious? Who gets as excited as me about farming real food...and who isn't one of my fellow farmers? And how did I randomly stumble upon such an eye doctor?!

She went on and on about how she preaches the message of wholesome food to her patients every she can't believe that big commercial farmers receive so much government funding for producing terrible products that are killing us...stupid GMOs...stupid pesticides...if the farmers just knew how to grow crops the way nature intended then it would be so simple! yada yada. Preachin' to the choir and I loved it! She is one of the clients that we talked about in class last who will happily and loyally support my business model, regardless of price.

In fact, she was so appreciative of my future work already, that she didn't charge me for the tests that my insurance wouldn't cover (about $100 worth). She wanted to support my endeavors as much as she could financially with her services...and who knows, maybe she could end up buying my produce as my customer down the road.

Anyone who knows me knows that these little gestures really touch my soul. Now more than ever, I can't wait to pay this forward by providing wholesome food to my neighbors and friends.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I eat vegetables, therefore I am single.

"Miss Shannon, maybe you wouldn't be single if you ate meat, and not just vegetables."

"But I ate a hot dog at the Rockies game with you last month, doesn't that count?"

"Yeah, but it had a pickle on it."

Ahhh...wise words from a sixth grader.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beginning Farmer

Things just got more serious. I have been accepted in the Colorado Building Farmers program. oh yeah!

I have plans in work to start something before the next growing season. Be it personal gardener, mobile goats, or a business partnership on some acreage. Hopefully this fall course will help me with the business aspects of farming, and help bring to life some ideas.

If anyone has anything you'd like to see in the Denver area, food or farm wise, let me know. And especially let me know if you have, or know someone who has, extra land around here that they'd like to lend.

End of a season

October 5. Here it is. Snow!

This time comes with mixed feelings:

Really? Summer's over already? But my peppers finally overcame the aphids! And a cucumber plant finally has a cucumber the size of a pea! j/k in Colorado! This week is back up to the 70s. Thank you sunshine! And moveable pots (even if the only thing I can grow in them is baby size).

Here are my potted green zebra tomatoes, hiding from the snow.

Finally! Summer was so flippin' hot this year and I'm ready for these dang veggies to frost over. And I've definitely OD'd on arugula. Even my freezer can't take anymore of it.

But we didn't get a fall! Oh, except for every brisk summer night...which is why I still love this place. Constant up and down to appease everyone! There is something nostalgic about fall in the midwest, be it the colors or the temps or the silly awesome festivals. I can't believe I fell for the pumpkin festival back home, but I missed it once again this year. Punkin' Chuckin' this weekend in Aurora, CO, should hopefully somewhat satisfy that craving.

Bring on the winter! Bring on the soup! And the snow! and the snowboarding!! I'm banking on this year being great for snow in the mountains...anything will be better than last year's. Oh, and Wisconsin. just sayin' :)

Guess it's time to get tires for winter!


Going to the garage does not make you a car...

just like going to a farmers market does not make you organic. or local. or awesome. it's certainly a step in the right direction (vs going to the golden 'starches'). but know your farmer. ask questions about where and how the produce was grown. be aware that not all vendors at farmers markets are wonderful and organic and stores may be better in some cases.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

CO proud

After recent events of wildfires and movie theater shootings...plenty of folks have told me to get the heck out of this state, jokingly yes, but I still say there is some truth in jokes! Chicago for sure scared me off, tacking one dealbreaker onto the next til I eventually quit. There's still plenty of positives to overpower the negatives to keep me in Colorado for a good long run...for example... PEACHES! I contemplated driving 3 hours over to the western slope as soon as I heard word that these beauties were in season, early this year, mind you. I would welcome 70 degree temps of the cool mountains to the near 100 degrees we've been experiencing in the city lately. Considering I took my sweet time waking up that Saturday, and considering my drive would be longer than my actual visit, I decided to see if there would be peaches at the local farmers markets. And there were!! And here's where I become most proud... THE ORGANIC ONES WERE SOLD OUT! ok, so maybe I was upset at first, considering I wouldn't be walking away w/ peaches that day. But I recall a day in Indiana when I was going to make pumpkin pancakes, just after it was announced that there was a pumpkin shortage. I trekked to the store in search of pumpkin anyway, of course, not finding it...until it dawned on me...this is INDIANA. No one uses the organic section, let's look there. And VOILA! Organic pumpkin. Aplenty. Looking at the overall picture, I'm not sure how I should take in the facts. If I want to help the world eat healthier, I should probably go to the most unhealthy of places. On the other hand, it's inspiring being in a community that supports healthy eating/growing habits. Good news is that there's opportunity for learning and growth I'm stayin' put and stayin' Colorado proud for now :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

day 1

Day 1 and I already failed! Dang! By habit, I went to put creamer in my coffee...a few drops in I knew something was wrong...oops.

Other than that slip up, the rest of the day is gonna be great. Toast and jam for breakfast. Squash soup and a walk for lunch. Granola and a tangerine for a snack.

Funny how us women are into food. Must've come from Eve :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

going vegan

If I knew I'd be writing this 10 years ago, I'd think I'd be crazy. 10 years ago is when I first heard about vegan-ism and thought it absurd. It's one thing to not eat meat because it was a living being...but to not eat animal products? It doesn't hurt anything!

Or does it? I've read plenty of facts to know that decreasing ones meat intake will increase ones health...across the charts. Vegetarians are shown to have lower risk of heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancers. All it took me was a few pages of China Study to realize the gross factor of eating meat in excess.

Personally I used to be size 12...creeping up on 14. A lot of that thanks to the college 'freshman 15' and late night cheese nuggets. Moving to Chicago with healthier and more expensive options, as well as a healthier city lifestyle of walking everywhere, probably brought me down to a healthy 6/8. And it wasn't til I met my 1st generation Polish-American beau that I learned the essence of eating whole foods, and mostly fish for meat. I may still have my round cheeks :) but I can't recall gaining weight since.

Living on the farm, I graciously experienced the full circle of life, eating the very creature I was tending to. Since then I think I can count on one hand how much beef/pork/chicken/fish I've bought...mainly because I want to know my farmer, that the beef/pork/chicken/fish was raised sustainably...and honestly, it's a lot of work to research, and much easier and cheaper to eat veggies (especially with a garden)!! Last year at this time I gave up meat for lent (until that was the only option while in Ecuador)...and that vegetarian trend just continued on.

So why vegan? In my mind, the jury's still out, so I'm open to finding out more. I think there are lots of great nutrients in things like fish and eggs. But I'm a complete sucker for ice cream and butter and cheese. Did I mention, butter? I guess this means no honey either. or grande hazelnut lattes. or even creamer...dang! I thought I came so far withholding the sugar...what baby steps to where I am now :)

I've had some great discussions with vegan friends about it though...not the 'animal cruelty' kind of vegans, but the vegans more in tune with their bodies and the cruelty that these foods do to their energy and quality of life. I appreciate the pure and simpleness of it.

Considering we're still 3 months from a good supply of spring greens, I'm oh so thankful to still have potatoes, a couple winter squashes, some growing mushrooms and herbs, and a freezer full of summer produce. (well, Rach does technically since mine is still busted :) oh! and canned dill pickles from Dad :)

Of course this also means no Dr. Pepper.
I could care less about cereal these days.
And no egg pastas.
But there will be my homemade bread...maybe next year I'll go gluten free...who knows.
I think there will be dark chocolate mangoes (thanks Em :)
And wine.

Join me for the next 40 days and see how it's going! I don't expect any readers to go vegan, but I hope this might encourage others to think about what they're eating...or how they feel after eating.

I feel like I should be eating ice cream right now...

Thursday, February 16, 2012


New year, new resolutions. I have a huge list of things I want to do/see...knowing I won't get to all of them, but will be happy to cross off a few. And overall: grow a little more than last year.

But my main goal? To be real. Wait, no...more than be a real woman sounds kinda bitchy and dramatic. A little too blatant. Let's have a little more compassion...little more vibrance...

To be PURE.

Inside out. Transparent. Simple. Raw. Light. Wholesome. Peaceful. Nourishing. Beautiful.
How do I do that? DETOX.

So I'm starting from scratch. Starting with the stuff I can easily change. Well, easy might be an understatement when it comes to ridding myself of these: toxins and plastics. I've never said this before, but this stuff is the devil! Maybe we'll never be able to fully rid it of our lives, but using it seems to bring hell to earth.

And considering that toxins are pretty much in every body product, I think I'm finally and slowly giving up on makeup and deodorant. Will this cause me to detox some unhealthy relationships then too? hha... I don't want to hide behind a painted face. And seeing how even 'pure' deodorants like Toms still had a toxic ingredient for the first ingredient, I've switched to mixing coconut oil and baking soda. So far I still have friends...they must be really sweet or it must be working...hopefully both :) Farm interns, you were onto something, but next time I want you to press the issue :)

In my office, a fridge full of free HFCS (aka Pop/Soda/Soda Pop) magically appeared one day, and keeps replenishing itself. Apparently it's cheap. Cancer is not. Dr. Pepper is my weakness, especially with company lunches of pizza or mexican food. I keep telling myself 'everything in moderation' and I'll stick to that. Same story with vino with pasta, and cold beer with summer concerts...I am only human :) Baby steps and eventually I hope to wean myself off crappy foods. I know even not to stick my nose up to food someone else provides. Thank goodness there's now a bottomless basket of fresh fruit in the office. And I believe Lent will be a good time to test the water as a vegan....more to come on that...

I've also rid my life of useless crap. Baggage. Books I don't read. Stuff I'll never use. Fridges that don't work. And now especially, toxins and plastics :)

I enjoy roller coasters, the work hard/play hard...but I'm gonna sit back and enjoy the ride. Take things slow. Have pure and healthy influences. Continue to surround myself with people who are true to themselves, not always surface level, not always accommodating. Go to bed on time...not cram everything into every last minute which is why I'm always late :) Answer my emails and texts punctually so they don't stare at me from my inbox :) And continue to travel the world and appreciate the little things :)

I want to be pure for myself, to utilize the full potential of my energy and life.
I've been blessed with this shell and want to honor my Creator.
I want to be a good influence for my friends, I want to be strong to uplift them.
I desire a soulmate who values the same purity, the same truth, the same spirit.
I want to be a good role model for the little kiddos with wide eyes, the next generation that will build upon ours.
I challenge my peers to have the same vision, or challenge me back so that we all learn.
I'm grateful for what I've learned from my elders, and for expanding on that knowledge.

Pure output is much easier with pure inputs. Here's a little inspiration.

Goodness, I do sound like quite the hippie :)