Thursday, February 28, 2008


One of the exciting things about owning an older home is discovering the garden plants for the first time. Spring is the perfect time to do so. Bulbs are rearing their heads all over our yard and so far I have identified tulip, crocus, hyacinth, and daffodil. Saddening is the lonely plant markers strewn across the yard like fallen soldiers on a battlefield. After so many years of neglect, I doubt many of them will be resurrected. I've seen tags for hollyhocks, Solomon's Seal, foxglove, salvia, and many others with names so faded they can no longer be identified.

Yellow crocus in bloom

Pink hellebore about to bloom

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Something Bad about Boise

I know all of our friends from North Carolina are tired of hearing how great Boise, Idaho is, so this post should soothe those bruised egos. Yes indeed, there is something bad about Boise.

Tortillas are essentially an entire food group in my pyramid, so finding quality Mexican food was high on the list of things to do when we moved here. To complicate matters, we had a really excellent Mexican restaurant in Raleigh, NC called Dos Taquitos. It was Mexican food with an inventive Central and South American flair. The service was great, the margaritas were made with fresh-squeezed juices, and as a side dish they served my favorite vegetable, broccoli, sprinkled with Oaxacan cheese and chipotle sauce. What Mexican restaurant have you been to that serves broccoli? To be fair, perhaps We were spoiled and our expectations were unreasonable.

I had read much about the breadth of Mexican food available in Boise, due to the large community of Mexican immigrants in the area. (I must say, however, that there are not nearly the number of Mexican immigrants here as there are in Raleigh.) I tirelessly read reviews of area Mexican restaurants and we soldiered to many of them in search of our Dos Taquitos. The latest and final edition in my search was Chapala #9.

Although the Chapala restaurants have received good, even excellent reviews, I had avoided them because of the #9. Most people would think, "with nine restaurants, the food must be good," but I was suspicious. Owning one restaurant is hard enough, let alone nine? I was convinced that with so many restaurants, the food could only be mediocre and Jon was wrong I was right. In fact, I would go so far as to say the food was terrible and the service was pleasant, expedient, and annoying.

Weirdly, the waiters and staff kept calling us "amigos". Somewhere along the way in opening nine restaurants, the owners got the idea that white people love being called "amigos", which is Spanish for friends. The phrase was tacked on at the end of every single question and every reply. By the end of the meal, it was so ridiculous that it was making me laugh out loud every time I heard it.

Oh, and when I asked if they had any chopped jalapeño peppers as a condiment for my meal, they served me a whole jalapeño pepper in a cup, stem attached.
Thanks, amigos! For my next act, I will chop this jalapeño pepper with my dinner knife, which is about as sharp as a spoon. Can the chef spare a cutting board?

Here is a rundown of the other area Mexican restaurants that have tried and failed.

El Gallo Giro, Kuna, ID: This place was so highly recommended that we drove 20 miles to eat there. If only I had read this review first: "The fried doughnuts are not to be missed, and there's even a can of whipped cream if you so desire. "
Cafe Ole, Boise, ID
Andrade, Boise, ID
Los Betos, Boise, ID
Casa Mexico, Boise, ID
9 Beans and a Burrito, Twin Falls, ID
La Tapatia, Boise, ID: This is the only place that was slightly above mediocre in my book.

I am so absolutely done eating Mexican food in Boise. No mas!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Has Spring Sprung?

The weather seems to be a hot topic of conversation as of late. You see, it has been pretty nice here lately compared to our January stint of 8 degree Fahrenheit (-13 C) mornings and the abundance of snow we received. The morning mercury hasn’t dipped into the teens for about 2 weeks, and frankly I don’t miss it! Jumping on the bicycle to head downtown is much more enjoyable when you don’t have to freeze your ears off doing it. Our daytime temperatures have been in the 40s, and 40 in the high desert sun is pretty darn nice. Sunday we went for a walk in the foothills with the doggies. I was surprised to see how quickly the trails have begun to dry out. Of course there are several places that are muddy, but those places were easy to avoid.

I hope spring has not sprung yet, I want more time to play in the snow! The news reports are leading me to believe that we’ll be in winter for a good bit longer. There are reports of ski resorts and forest service negotiations to extend resort leases until late April because significant snowmelt is supposed to be delayed this year. Wahoo! We may get to play in the snow until May!

Speaking of playing in the snow, we recently had some visitors from Raleigh, NC. Our friends came up and got surprised by our little slice of Idaho. It was a great visit, plenty of relaxing, some fine dining, and some pretty heavy powder at Bogus Basin. I had billed Bogus as our “little local resort” because I didn’t want to set an expectation of a great western ski resort. I was informed that when compared to any of the southeastern resorts, it was a great resort. I think I’ve just become spoiled by the west and the terrain already. I picked up my 08/09 season pass yesterday, $199.00. Oh how I do enjoy being spoiled!

Tonight we may head over to the foothills trail meeting to see what is to be done about the apparent dog poo problem on the trails. My crystal ball tells me that we may have to drive a few miles further in the future if we want to let our pups run free on the trails. I guess we’ll see. How would you change the habits of those owners who refuse to pick up the poo of their pet? I don’t know if it’s possible to change those inconsiderate people.

Yesterday finished my first round of exams for this semester, and boy was it a tough one. Apologies for the lack of blogging on my part, I’ve been trapped in a room with an enormous stack of textbooks and lab manuals. I am spending considerably more time studying this semester than ever before. I don’t think my credit load will increase over the next couple of years but I’m certain my workload will when I start doing clinical rotations. At the start of the semester I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my GPA with my current class schedule, now I know I can do it. Although, I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my hobbies at their previous levels. Biking and snowboarding have taken a distant second to class and studying ☹. The exam grades are well worth sacrificing some hobby time.

Monday, February 18, 2008


As much as I wish it weren't so, I finally got to test Jon's nursing skills. I have been sick since Friday. At first, I didn't think I was getting really sick, I thought maybe it was just allergies. But alas, I am really, truly, miserably sick.

Friday: sore throat
Saturday: body aches
Sunday: runny nose
Monday: wicked cough, body aches, and runny nose

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I was thinking that Jon has proven to be an excellent nursing student. He has been making sure that my cold is well-fed, plying me with vitamins and water, inquiring about whether my cough is "productive" and what color my snot is, and generally keeping track of my symptoms to make sure this doesn't turn into something more serious. He felt my glands and took my temperature. No fever.

Today I was feeling worse than ever and could barely move so I took a nap after lunch. Jon was doing laundry and I was too immobilized to shut the bedroom door and keep out the noise of the washer and dryer. I couldn't even muster the energy to call out to him in the other room. I had my cell phone handy so I feebly fingered a text message to him: "Nurse!"

Then he did something very un-nurse like, I thought. He threatened that if I did that again he would take my temperature again...rectally! How rude! Fine then, next time I will ring a bell.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back on the Market!

No, not that market!

We were surprised to learn a few days ago that the house we sold in Raleigh last July is back on the real estate market. Our former next door neighbors were sitting on their front porch when Jer mutely pointed at the "For Sale" sign. Shock and awe, indeed. A flurry of phone calls and the news was flying around amongst our Raleigh friends. The next day I started to receive emails from folks in the neighborhood, too. Everyone is puzzled. The family that bought our house has alot of history in the neighborhood as two other family members live just down the street! This was to be their forever home.

Looking at the pictures they posted makes me think this was a hurried decision. The kitchen is a mess, pictures on the wall are crooked, I can see boxes peeking out in the photo of the dining room, and in just six short months, the drought has taken a serious toll on the yard that we toiled over.

I don't know what unfortunate (I am assuming) turn of events caused this. Perhaps the new owners got in over their heads with the payments. The husband is a realtor so perhaps the downturn in the market has affected them personally. Maybe they hate the house. Who knows, but I feel badly about it: for them if this is an unexpected life change, and for us and the house which I have so personified through the hours of labor and pieces of our hearts we poured into it.