. . . I've been told that I write novels for email messages. Perhaps this is the way to go. I'll try to make each entry, or Gemstone, a "precious" one. On mediocre days, all I might be able to produce is a "semi-precious" entry. In any case, an entry might be a "neat" Gemstone--something that is uniquely mine.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yummy Fruit Smoothie Recipe

Every week a guest speaker comes into the 5th grade science classes to do a program called "Just Be It! Healthy and Fit." It is sponsored by the New Mexico State University College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences department and is funded through the US Department of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. According to the website I linked above, this program "reduces the risk factors for childhood obesity of 5th grade students located in the New Mexico Counties of Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, and Los Alamos." The kids really like the program and are learning so much about how to live healthy lives and make good choices about food and exercise. I've learned a lot as well!

Each lesson ends with a healthy snack that the kids can prepare themselves. We've had different fruits, vegetables, pita pockets, dips, and trail mix. Today's special treat was a fruit smoothie. I really don't have smoothies very often so for me to be impressed with one says something about the recipe. Hopefully I don't get in trouble for sharing it here.  I have, after all, given the credit where due.

Just Be It! Fruit Smoothie

2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt
2 cups fruit (we used 1 banana and 1 cup frozen fruit smoothie blend from the grocery store)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup pineapple-mango juice
1 cup crushed ice

Put all the ingredients into a blender and turn it on for about 30 seconds.  Makes about 6 cups.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What a Bummer

Many have made the pilgrimage to stand on the spot where four states come together.  There is a place in the southwest where the four states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico all intersect.  How exciting to be able to tell people, "I stood in four states at once!"

But now it has been discovered that due to human surveying error, that sweet spot is actually about 2 1/2 miles east of where it is currently marked.  What a bummer!


Friday, April 10, 2009

San Diego vs Los Alamos

I spent spring break in San Diego and always like going there. The area has so much to offer, not only for tourists, but also for residents (or so I assume based on family who live or have lived in the area). Of course, the climate is mild and pleasant, but also there are the beaches, all of the parks (Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Sea World, Legoland), museums galore, a vibrant downtown, convenient retail with so many shopping options, a variety of restaurants, a major airport, the state university (UCSD), and did I mention the beaches?

All of the above are things that I do not experience in the small town that I live in so it is always difficult to transition back from vacation to life at home. Especially coming from a mild and warm spring in San Diego to frigid cold days with gusty winds here. There are seasons and a mountain climate here that don't agree with my need for warmth, there is no ocean (or hardly any water anywhere), there is not a lot to do for activities unless you drive "off the hill" and there's only one very small museum in town. Retail is a joke unless you drive an hour to Santa Fe or two hours to Albuquerque (or shop online). Downtown consists of one or two blocks and is always closed up after 6pm and on the weekends. There are hardly any restaurants here, either, and a majority of them only serve during the lunch hour. Housing prices are too high for what you can get. Employment opportunities are few unless you have a Ph.D. and can dedicate yourself to working 40 hours a week or more.

So what does this town have? Beautiful mountains with many hiking and biking trails, beautiful pine trees, great historical sites and geology, and mild summers (unless you count the afternoon thunderstorms that can roll in from time to time). The skies at night are so clear that you can see how amazing the stars are. The skies are such a vivid blue because there is no pollution. The community is small and is made up of a hodge podge of people from all over the place (few natives here) so everyone is friendly and the businesses really do go out of their way to provide good customer service. It is safe here with hardly any crime and the schools are the best in the state (but the nearest state university is in Albuquerque). Another benefit is that there is not a lot of noise or traffic.

There are tradeoffs for any place where a person lives. Good and bad is all relevant, I guess. I am just thankful for being employed and for having a home in these difficult times.


Monday, April 6, 2009


(Painting: "Fields in Spring" by Claude Monet)
Where has the time gone? It is already April. My sister informs me that April is National Poetry Month. I already knew that April is Autism Awareness Month, but out of curiosity, I Googled what else April is (besides the 4th month of the Gregorian calendar). It is also Alcohol Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Genocide Prevention Month, and National STD Awareness Month. For an amazingly long list, click the link here at "April Holidays 2009". It also lists weekly and daily observances for April.

So back to Poetry Month....on my sister's blog, my mom mentioned in a comment that she remembers reciting a Robert Frost poem in 7th grade, which is one of my favorites.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 
But my all time favorite poem is one of the only poems that I have memorized (besides some cute Shel Silverstein poems:  "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair, Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn't very fuzzy was he?").  It is also by Robert Frost and I read it for the first time in S.E. Hinton's book, "The Outsiders" that I read as a teenager. It is pretty appropriate for spring and April, too.

Nothing Gold Can Stay
Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
So read some poetry this month and share any that you enjoy!