mark mothersbaugh's myopia at the MCA

Attending a parochial preparatory school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan during my teenage years probably wasn’t the best thing for me. But in a renewed effort to find the positive in things, I’ll admit that I got a great education even if the school wasn’t the right fit. Another advantage in spending so much time around 78th Street was the exposure I had to art. The Frick, the Met, the Guggenheim and the MoMA were all walking distance from my high school. Upon dismissal (or let’s be honest, when I occasionally skipped out on gym class- sorry mom) I would head over to one of the nearby museums. I loved art and there was a lot of it.

I’ve been trying to increase Otis and Theo’s exposure to art and music. I have memories of coloring and painting at a young age, and I began playing piano when I was 6…so I just a few months older than Otis is now. I don’t have many regrets in life, but I wish I had stuck with piano, which ended when my teenage attitude got in the way of practicing. I also wish I kept making art.

My high school art teacher encouraged me to pursue creative endeavors so I immersed myself in painting, sculpture and art history. I never thought I would make a career of it, but art was an outlet that gave me a lot of satisfaction, and quite frankly, a lot of joy.

I wasn’t the best artist in my school, but my teacher thought highly of my creative output and she encouraged me take the Advanced Placement Art during my senior year. I worked tirelessly on my portfolio and was happy with the final product. That is, until the grades came back and I scored a 1. In case you’re not familiar with AP scoring, that’s the bottom of the barrel.

Being an impressionable teenager, I found myself demoralized. I stopped painting and using clay completely. The work I had been so proud of, well, I thought it was awful after that score came in. But now at 38, armed with the benefit of self-confidence and perspective, I could kick myself for thinking such a thing. Why did I let an anonymous judge derail an activity that made me happy?

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend I took the boys to see

 Myopia, Mark Mothersbaugh’s new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Denver

. It was awesome; we all loved it. It’s hard to capture the right words that could express what it was about Mothersbaugh’s artwork that reignited my desire to paint and be more creative, but it did. I’m so glad we got to see it…

Here’s to creative endeavors that enrich your life, being inspired and not letting silly numbers get in the way of the things you love. 

Enjoy your weekend,



hiking mondays: roxborough state park (in instagram)

Roxborough State Park is about 45 minutes away from our home in Denver, Colorado. This wide-open space has spectacular rock formations and magnificent topography-- the result of the eastern plains meeting the Rocky Mountains. 
Every time we visit the park we start off with a picnic, then we spend a few hours hiking. After about an hour or so, Theodore usually falls asleep. He puts down his "hiking bucket" (a giant plastic pumpkin leftover from Halloween), requests to be held ("hold you" instead of "hold me") and then drifts off for a bit. While Theo is resting, Otis keeps his eyes on the path. He likes to make sure no one steps on rattlesnakes, which we have yet to encounter, but it's always good to have a look-out man! 
So far we've walked the South Rim Trail (we go about 1 mile before turning around) and the Fountain Valley Trail (a 2.2 mile loop). Both of the hikes are gorgeous
With its wildlife, beautiful environment and unique habitat, we thought Roxborough State Park was the perfect place to spend Earth Day weekend. 
Happy Earth Day, 2013...

(Instagram, iPhone4S.)

In Instagram: St. Mary's Glacier, Tomatoes and Date Night (Uncle, Denver)

For this installation of "In Instagram" I decided to post a few photos from our recent hike to  St. Mary's Glacier. It's located in the Arapahoe National Forest, not too far from Idaho Springs, Colorado. A man I met at the Ollin Farms Tomato Festival told me that this high altitude hike "was great for kids." It was. And it did not disappoint. The scenery was breathtaking and the lake was gorgeous.
The 3/4 mile (1.5 mile round-trip) hike doesn't have any paved paths. You have to climb over rocks and boulders and the boys loved it. Truth be told, they did better than we adults did...
For lunch I carefully placed green zebras, red zebras and some other heirloom tomatoes into a padded tote bag. We got the tomatoes at a festival the day before and they looked and smelled great. I sliced the tomatoes, along with some good-quality buffalo mozzarella, and arranged them on a serving board, placing a big leaf of basil in between each slice of tomato and cheese. Then I drizzled the salad with some balsamic vinaigrette. (Some salt, black pepper and olive oil would do the trick too.)
And in case you are wondering, yes, I did carry a glass bottle of balsamic vinaigrette, a serrated knife and a wooden serving dish up the mountain. 
The quality of the produce was amazing, so not surprisingly, it was a very tasty lunch. 
A few days before we did this hike, my parents flew in to visit us from New York City. We spent an afternoon at the Denver Zoo and an afternoon at the Denver Art Museum. My mom also took the boys to a nearby playground so that we could pack up box, after box, after box-- since their visit came a few days before we moved to the other side of town. It was great seeing them and the kids had a blast. 
An obvious perk to any parent/grandparent-visit is that you can also (usually) squeeze in a date night. (Yay!) We went to Uncle, a fantastic new Ramen joint in the Highlands section of Denver, and it was delicious. 
I got the tofu steamed buns, the udon bowl with mushrooms, snap peas and onion dashi, and an unfiltered sake.
Then we hit the lanes at our local bowling alley. Sadly I didn't crack 100, but we still had a lot of fun. As for the scoreboard, I was "Ann" and my husband was "Mitt." No, those aren't our real names. And no, we don't vote Republican.
* * *
Here are a few non-Instagram pictures from the tomato festival which was held at Ollin Farms-- that's where we got our all of our gorgeous tomatoes for the Caprese salad. I had leftover tomatoes, so I made this soup again. Need cherry tomato ideas? Check out this board from TasteSpotting.  
 * * *
Here in Colorado, you can really feel that summer is on its way out and autumn is on its way in. That means I'll be revisiting some of my favorite fall recipes and discovering some new ones too! Recipe posts will be coming soon...please bear with me, there are still some boxes to unpack... 
Until then, happy cooking and have a great early September! 

In Instagram: Red Rocks, Colorado

On Monday morning I woke up to something unusual: it was cloudy (!)-- the sun wasn't shining(!). This is Colorado, folks, and the sun is always shining. So I scrapped our plans to go to the library and the Denver Art Museum. Instead we went on a hike that is nearly impossible to do when the sun is full-force (with 90 degree temps) and you're shlepping two small boys around with you on a nature excursion.
On this wonderfully cloudy day, we decided to hit Red Rocks. It's a short drive, say 20 minutes, from our home in Denver and through the town of Morrison. There are awesome vistas and gorgeous rock formations. It was a really great way to spend an afternoon...
{I took these shots on my iPhone using the Instagram app, which is my latest obsession. I played around with the filters and exposures. Next time I'll bring my big camera and lens, but I think this is a pretty great way to capture a hike-- especially when you don't want to carry heavy gear around with you.}