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June 2004
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Is My Blog Burning #7? - Dumplings

Thanks to Cook Sister for letting me know about the next IMBB interblog event. Check out the links for it here .

This time the theme is dumplings. I have been having loads of fun adapting recipes to my own versions. Check back by August 22nd 2004 when my post (including photo's) will be published.

I can't wait to see what others in the blogosphere have come up with.

Shopgirl Manifesto

As some of you know I work part time in an up market women's clothing store. I am relatively inexperienced at retail, and the months I have worked at the shop have been interesting to say the least. For one thing I have never in the past given shopgirls much thought. If I am honest I didn't really care one way or the other. Boy your perspective can change quickly.

What I have learnt is that who you are is not what you do.

Here is the Shopgirl Manifesto - what we really mean when we say..
That cut of dress/ blouse/ skirt really flatters you
… hurry up I want to go on break

It makes you look younger
… I can’t believe how many chins you’ve got

I really prefer you in gray
… My feet are killing me

No that blouse is not too low cut
…If you have to ask yes, it is too low cut. Here’s how you can tell – your breasts should not be coming out of your armpits.

Yes it’s supposed to fit/ hang like that
… Now here is mutton dressed up as lamb

Those trousers are supposed to fit below your waist
… that is why your stomach hangs over the waistband

Yes that (item of clothing) is machine washable
… What’s wrong with you – can’t you read?

Yes that (item of clothing) will not shrink/ stretch after washing
... How the hell should I know?

Yes that (item of clothing) comes out really well after washing
… I know this because I have this (item of clothing.)

Yes that style is very fashionable this season
… Another sheep follows the flock

No you are not too old for that outfit
… if you have to ask, then yes you are!

Have a nice day (said sunny and smiling like a crazed idiot)
(I haven’t eaten so the blood sugars are getting a bit low.)
… Yawn! When will this day ever end?

You are a size 6?
… In whose lifetime?

That (item of clothing) does not suite you
… That (item of clothing) does not suite you

If you really really want to know how you look in clothes you are trying on, don’t ask me. Ask your best friend. I am not your best friend. My job is to sell a product.

Update on Leigh Matthews

I have just heard. The body of Leigh Matthews was found Wednesday at 3:30pm. Here is the link to the news report.
I am devastated. This is terrible.

Why did she have to die?

Why couldn't her kidnappers just have let her go?

Is South Africa going to turn into another Colombia?


We heard horrible news from Andre who is visiting South Africa on business. His cousin's daughter was kidnapped a week ago, a ransome demanded and paid for, and the girl is still missing. Check out some links here and here.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Leigh Matthews and her family. We hope for her safe return.

July 4th Weekend - South West Colorado

We left Friday July 2nd at noon after packing everything including the kitchen sink. Our destination? South Western Colorado for a long weekend of camping, fishing, hiking and photography. We headed south down the I-25 and then West along the I-70 to take the I-285 south. Our goal for the first night was to camp at Poage Lake, or rather in the parking lot of Poage Lake. Poage Lake is situated off Highway 160 , Forest Road (FR) 360. We made it in time for a couple of hours of fishing before sunset. Poage lake is surrounded by forest and meadows. It is just a short hike through the forest on a well marked path to the lake. Fishing is accessible from the banks, and the lake is small enough for belly boats, and small non motorized boats. The wind started blowing while we were fishing. I had no luck, and no bites- not even nibbles. I left Kevin to do more fishing and walked around the lake on a well worn pathway. I found a sheltered spot in amongst the trees and sat and watched the light soften and eventually darken. We made our way back to the car through the dark. Kevin had packed a flash light, but we really didn’t need it. It felt good to fill up on hot soup.
The next morning we were woken up by two talkative fishermen who arrived for some early sunrise fishing. I had always thought of fisherman as “men of few words” types. Not these. Eventually Kevin had to put his head out and ask for them to be quiet as we would like to get some sleep before fishing!
We had breakfast and got our fishing rods and walked back up to the lake for some more fishing. We decided to try the dam wall. Again I had no luck but really enjoyed sitting in the sun watching the little birds chase each other around, and watch the swallows drinking water on the wing. I had two pine siskins perch on my fishing rod before flying off in an excited tizzy.
We then decided to head out and try fishing at Shaw Lake as well as trying fishing at a lower altitude at Echo Canyon Reservoir. We retraced our steps to Highway 160, headed West and then took FR 410 passed Big Meadows lake to Shaw Lake. Shaw Lake was really pretty and well worth it. I had a bite, but was so shocked that there was a fish on my line I forgot to set the hook. The fish (trout) carried my hook in its mouth before spitting it out. One thing I know for certain is that fish are a lot cleverer than they look! We saw a marmot sunning himself on a rock by the side of the road. He posed quite nicely for us. (See picture in photo album.) We also saw a number of ducklings of varying ages being escorted with proper maternal concern by their mothers.
We returned to highway 160 and headed toward Pagosa Springs to take highway 84 south to Echo Canyon Reservoir. The differences between this lake and our previous mountain lakes were obvious – it was hot hot hot. The reservoir is not really shaded by much, and since we were trying to fish (rather optimistically) during the heat of the day I felt it. Our fishing at Echo Canyon Reservoir was met with little success. Admittedly it was during the heat of the day- the temps must have been at least 89F- and most self respecting fish were hiding in the deepest darkest water. We did see, and managed to capture on video a whole stack of green sunfish spawning in the shallows. Truly amazing “adventure channel” quality stuff! The fish would make hollows in the ground, and would flap and wave their fins to try and lure the smaller (we think male) fish to it. The larger fish (we think female) spent a lot of time chasing other fish away. When at last the two were together a great frenzy of excited joining occurred. See the video capture of the spawning fish in the photo album. (To be posted soon.)
After having no luck with fishing we decided to head to our next destination:- Kennebec Pass. We returned to highway 160 and head west to Durango. We went through Durango keeping to highway 160 and then turned off at 124 RD that follows the La Platta Canyon. It was a relief to get back into the mountains again. As we neared Kennebec Pass the road turned into a dirt road which rapidly deteriorated. Be warned the track to the top of Kennebec Pass requires 4 wheel drive. Low slung cars such as Subaru’s will battle making it over the rocks and boulders that line the track. We stopped a little before the actual pass in a parking lot. The views were spectacular. Photogenic mountains surrounded us:- immediately to the South- East of us we had Cumberland Mountain, Snowstorm Peak; to the West, Diorite Peak, Centennial Peak and Sharkstooth Peak.
After parking and wolfing down a sandwich we immediately decided to hit the trail and do some exploring. This spot is an access point to the Colorado Trail. We hiked the 1 ¾ mile Indian Trail to the ridge that gave spectacular views of Sharkstooth Peak. The elevation was quite high- 10,500 ft +. We took it slowly drank lots of water and took some photographs. The light was gorgeous. The end part of the trail is quite steep with loose rocks and stones. Getting down was slightly tricky and we accomplished this before it got too dark to see. The sunset was superb. Imagine pale pinks and blues, and mountains, peaks, valleys and mountain lakes bathed in a soft gold light of sunset. I got some wonderful photo’s (if I say so myself!). By the time we made it back to the car it was dark. We quickly set up camp, and had some hot soup. Boy did it taste good. We expected it to be cold because of the elevation, but surprisingly it wasn’t.
The next morning we awoke to birdsong, and panorama views. After a quick breakfast we headed out along Indian Ridge Trail for more photography. Kevin and I are practicing taking panorama shots. Check out some amazing websites here of new computer software and techniques for taking panoramas. The wildflowers were abundant – whole hillsides of snowdrops, indian paint brush, lupin and columbine.
We packed some extra food so we could keep our energy levels, and we drank plenty of water. After about 2 –3 hours of photography we decided to head back to the car. We left Kennebec Pass pretty much the same way – down the steep, rocky, rutted track. Pretty hairy driving. We drove back through Durango and then North on Highway 550 passed Silverton, and through Ouray. Ouray was packed with people since the day was July 4th, and most people were getting ready for the festivities of fireworks and overeating. A little further north of Ridgeway we stopped off at the Ridgeway State Park which is a new state park which holds the Ridgeway Reservoir. Campsites are provided and the facilities are new and impressive. They charge $1 for hot showers which I thought was a bit of a cheek. The rationale given was this was a way to save water. Mmmm. I am not convinced. Why not just put timers on the showers, and let people shower for free?
We decided to fish in the river below the reservoir. This was my first time fishing in a river. We used our spinning rods. We did pack our fly fishing rods but I am ashamed to admit we didn’t use them once.
I lost about 4 hooks on the bottom of the river. And I got quite excited when I hooked the bottom – I thought that I had a fish. Fishing in rivers just feels different- the current is a huge factor. So I guess it took a while to get attuned to the differences. It was quite busy, and we had a number of fisherman probing the depths. I watched 2 fly fisherman. Boy it looks great.
After a while I got frustrated with losing my flies. We decided it was time to leave for our next destination: Owl Creek Pass. We headed back to highway 550 and headed north. We took FR 858. This road starts out as RD 8 but when it crosses the boundary into the Uncompahgre National Forest it becomes FR 858. The pass is well sign posted. The last time we did Owl Creek Pass was last year in the fall. The fall colors in SW Colorado are spectacular. But Owl Creek Pass is very beautiful in the summer too. The road is dirt, but well maintained. Be warned – the amount of time on a dirt road is long. But well worth it. The farms are pretty. I envy anyone living in such a beautiful place. We found a campsite off the pass at a trailhead. We were surrounded by a grove of aspen with huge patches of lupins. We were a little annoyed to be joined by another camper – one gets jealous of the solitude. But the other camper was quiet and unobtrusive.
We awoke again to birdsong. I could get used to this. After breakfast we headed out again to take some photo’s of flowers. Spent quite a while taking pictures of flowers in open green lush meadows. The forest seemed healthy enough, although we saw a number of trees infested with pine beetles.
Our route home took us the slow and scenic way. Owl Creek Pass emptied us into highway 50 where we headed west. We then took highway 92 through Hotchkiss and then north on the 133, and the 82 that comes out at Glenwood Springs. Here we decided to stop and have a hamburger.
The drive home was easy. We left Glenwood around sunset. Our timing was perfect. Hardly any traffic on the I 70.