The return home

Landscape pictures and paintings never did anything for me

I thought I missed the changing of seasons.  I thought I missed small towns.  I thought I missed having the great outdoors right in my backyard.  And I thought I missed being close to my family.

Turns out, I was only right about that last thing.

This last year and a half has been life-changing to say the least.  When Jeff and I moved to Bayfield Colorado — a rural town of less than 1500 people — we had no idea what to expect.  What we found was that time slowed.  Nothing happened.  Good, live music ceased to exist.  Interesting people and potential friends were few and far between.

We lived right on Main Street of that small town and the busiest and most exciting it ever got was once on the Fourth of July.  Other than that, the most activity that street saw was during church night on Wednesdays and for little league baseball and middle-aged softball games in the summer.

People in small towns, we also found out, live in small towns for a reason, and while a handful of them do it to be close to nature, most, it seems, do it to be far away from people.  My dad’s favorite saying and reasoning for loving to live in a small town is, “It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than a big fish in a big pond.”

And while I see the attractions of the beautiful scenery and being a big fish (read: active and influential community member), it’s the small pond that makes me nervous and claustrophobic.  Turns out, I miss people more than I miss seasons and that old saying about how “you can take a girl out of a small town but you can’t take the small town out of the girl” just isn’t true.  I’m a city gal and there really isn’t a bit of small-town left in me — save maybe for my love of big dogs and small children.

Now I know why I wanted to move back to the Durango area, and it wasn’t for the four seasons or the quaintness of a small town. I moved back in an attempt to find what all of us 20-to-30-somethings must yearn for every now and then; I came back to find the comfort of home.  A warm place where my mom hung out in the kitchen and on the back porch overlooking a peaceful field full of elk and coyotes and my dad lounged in the living room switching back and forth between X Files and the news.

That picture still exists, but I no longer fit in it.   I’m a grown woman now. I have the start of my own family now.  And if Jeff and I do decide to have kids (another reason I thought I wanted to move back to a small town), the picture we paint will be a lot different, but hopefully it will be just as warm and happy as the one my parents provided for me. The backdrop will just be a little different. There’ll be freeways and cars instead of fields and wild animals.

So, after lots of late-night chats about our future, a few months ago, Jeff and I resolved to move back to a place with a population of more than a few thousand.  I started looking for jobs in cities across the nation, but when I got a late-night text gauging my interest in my old job at CityBeat, my excitement really couldn’t be contained.  The thought that I’d made a huge mistake by quitting my dream job at CityBeat and moving to a tiny town in the middle of nowhere looking for something that doesn’t exist anymore has haunted me since the moment I sat down in my editor’s office to give him the news.

It’s not often that one gets to go back to a life left behind.  I’m excited, a little nervous and, most of all, relieved that I get another chance to make San Diego work.  I’m using a lot of stupid quotes in this here blog post, so why not end with one more?  If home is where the heart is, then my little heart is shaped somewhat like Shamu.

San Diego, here we come.

A new hot-dog shop opens in Durango!

I just stopped by the Screamin Weenie, a new indoor hot-dog stand at the corner of College and Main Avenue in Durango.

As a vegetarian, I was darn-near estactic when I glanced up at the menu and saw tofu and soy dogs.  Yessss!

So, what’s on the menu for you carnies out there?

Everything from the standard kraut dog, slaw dog and Chicago dog to the more eclectic flamin’ dog (green chili, sport peppers and jalepenos) and the turkey dog.

Firto pies, nachos, fries, onion rings, chili and popcorn are on the menu, too.

Social Media Tips

Marketing experts are saying it’s no longer a question of if you should be implementing social media into your marketing plan, it’s a question of how you should be implementing social media into your marketing plan.

Here are a few quick tips and some interesting social media news to get you through the week:

  • Do you find yourself getting stuck on your “My BuzzTown” page on BuzzTown.com?  Just remember to click through the “Socialize,” “Shop,” and “What’s Hot” tabs at the top of the page.  That will ensure that you don’t miss anything important when checking in.   Also, scrolling is your friend. Love your scrollbar and don’t forget to look through to the bottom of each BuzzTown page.
  • Still confused about why the heck people dig Twitter?  This list of 13 Odd Ways to use Twitter will confuse you even further.
  • Did you know that newspapers are checking in with Google Trends and attempting to cover trending areas in order to boost SEO?

That’s it for this week.  If you have any good social media tips, email me at kinsee@buzztown.com.

Oh, Google, how you entertain us, the lonely internet-searching, no-good, racist, weird, semi-perverted and definitely gross and disgusting masses that we are.

My hubby was the first to clue me in on the hilarity (and despair) of the new Google suggestions feature — you know, the text that pops up when you start typing in a search phrase.

You see, part of the Google formula is to pull up text based on the popularity of a search.  So, aside from the nerdy things I’m pretty sure Google programmers slipped in (ex. – type in “Google is” and “Google is awesome” almost always pops up), one could assume that the Google suggestions tell us a little about ourselves.

And — no surprise here — what it’s telling us isn’t very impressive; in fact, most of the time it’s downright disappointing.
Go ahead. Try it.  Type in “Why are” (warning: you may lose faith in humanity).

OK, here’s a better one, type in “Why does”  (warning: you may vomit with the results of this one).

Type in “cats are” or “dogs are” and the whole idea that people use the internet mainly to find information that backs up their already-held beliefs can almost definitely be confirmed (I mean, everyone KNOWS dogs are waaaaay better than cats).

Have fun playing with Google suggestions, my friends.  And remember; we are only human.

I’m off now.  I’ve got to go Google “Is it wrong to….”

I took this photo in San Diego...in December! It was almost 90 degrees that day.

I’m not going to lie:  I miss the perfect weather of southern California.

Every morning, I wake up to a frozen car.  I have to scrape ice and that just isn’t much fun.

Snowboarding and the occasional snow biking and cross-country skiing are the only redeeming factors when it comes to snow.  The rest of living through a long, snowy winter just isn’t much fun.

I suppose I might be suffering from a classic case of cabin fever.

One other positive effect of the snow has been the increase in productivity in the creative realm.   Jeff and I have started a weekly radio show on KDUR. The truth is that I probably wouldn’t be interested in giving up my entire weekend if I was tempted by nice weather and a plethora of other things to do.

I’ve also been freelancing for my local alt weekly a lot more and even making art now and then.    I’ll post some photos of the work and links to the articles soon.

Art in Santa Fe

There’s art in Santa Fe.  Did you know that?  Yeah, I bet you did.

It’s seriously everywhere, though, and I couldn’t help but feel a little sad about the lack of art everywhere — or anywhere as the case may be — in Durango.

There's religion, too

There’s lots of religion and culture in Sante Fe, too.   The history of that city is a swirling, clashing combination of Native Americans, Spanish/Mexican explorers and the white folk coming over on the Sante Fe trail.   Culture is everywhere you look.  It’s as thick and noticeable as all the clay-brown adobe piled up on that plot of old New Mexican land.

I'm kind of in love with Santa Fe

It’s hard not to fall for Sante Fe.  Especially if a small town with big ambitions sounds like a real-world heaven.

Two degrees of separation

Yep.  That’s me with two dogs in vests.  Down vests to be exact.   Dogs need down vests when you’re chillin’ outside in two-degree weather.   A group of friends decided to ring in the new decade by skiing out to Andrews Lake and watching the full moon rise over the San Juans.  Not a bad way to spend a night, but I have yet to adjust to the slap-you-in-the-face, bone-cracking, soul-crunching cold of Colorado.  Jeff and I went along for the trek anyway.  We dragged Mona along for fun.

Skiing keeps you warm

The only time I felt like my toes weren’t about to break right off of my damned feet was when I was out cross-country skiing. The rest of the time was spent as close to the fire as was safe and/or in a dog pile with Mona and her little boyfriend (the other dog donning a vest).

Put it in the cooler

We didn’t bring a cooler because we thought, “Why the hell would we need a cooler when it’s this freakin cold outside.”   We actually ended up needing the cooler, though, because the second you put your beer down in the snow, it froze.  Seriously — it was freezing within seconds.

Look at Mona's snow 'stache

Mona liked the snow until the sun went down.  Then she started looking at me like, What the hell is wrong with you?! Why are we out here? Is it because of that time I farted right in your face while you were trying to get to sleep?

Purgatory’s first Locals Day, sponsored by KSUT, is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 20, with discounted lift tickets available for purchase with a coupon available in the Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 editions of the Durango Telegraph, on BuzzTown and on KSUT’s website.

Each Locals Day will have a theme.  On Dec. 20, the theme is “Ugly Holiday Sweaters,” so wear the ugliest holiday sweater you own and stop by the BuzzTown booth in the DMR plaza to enter to win a $50 gift certificate from Guido’s Favorite Foods.

Lift tickets for Locals Day are $39 for adults,  $25 for kids, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit KSUT and Manna Soup Kitchen. For the latest information on Purgatory snow conditions, special events and more, please visit www.skipurg.com.


More on upcoming Locals Days at DMR

DMR received applications from more than 30 non-profits seeking to be this year’s Benefit Day recipient. With so many worthy organizations to choose from, it was extremely difficult to select just one, so DMR decided to add a second charity beneficiary to each of this year’s four Locals Days, which benefit KSUT Public Radio. On Locals Days, discounted lift tickets will be available for purchase with a coupon from the Durango Telegraph. Locals Day ticket prices are $39 for adults and $25 for kids, with portions of the proceeds to benefit KSUT and that day’s charity, scheduled as follows:

Sunday, Jan. 10: To offset the medical expenses of a longtime DMR employee, Barry “Carmine” Kemler, whose daughter, Caitlin, is undergoing medical treatment in Denver for a life-threatening illness

Sunday, Feb. 7: Music in the Mountains’ “MITM Goes to School” program to promote music education in local schools

Sunday, March 7: La Plata Search and Rescue

If I do shop online, I buy iso50 or etsy. I heart handmade art & design.

You’ve heard the call to economic arms before:  Think Global, Shop Local.

Local First is part of a bigger international movement led by indepenedent business owners across the world who are busy educating the public about the benefits of spending their money locally.

Basically, they’re the little guys who have managed to stay in business in the face of the nearly impossible price competition of corporate giants like Wal-Mart and the ever-growing number of folks (like me) who prefer the ease and variety of shopping online.  They realized that rather than trying to beat low prices, they’d appeal to a consumer’s sense of community and ask for their money in exchange for locally-grown products and services that are ultimately better for the environment (they don’t travel as far) and better for the growth and health of the local economy (money doesn’t leak out to corporate owners in far away places).

Read more on BuzzTown, the site on which I get paid to write.