Warm & fuzzy feelings
Downtown delights: A buy-local wish list
Make your granny happy: Gifts for senior loved ones
Create a one-of-a-kind: Get crafty with gift ideas
Durango’s loved ones: 5 families describe traditions
pets sit or come? 18 Should Options for vacation care to be gifted: 20 Fit Gifts for exercise motivation cooks rejoice: 24 Hanukkah Food connects to history cheesy! Portrait guide: 18 26 Say Avoid awkward family photos Design Manager Brady Sutherlin
ON THE COVER
Editor/Designer Karla Sluis
HOLIDAY Gift Guide Publisher Richard G. Ballantine General Manager Ken Amundson Vice President of Newspaper Advertising Paul C. Hay Director of Sales and Marketing Mark Drudge
Photographer Lindsay Abshagen Advertising Sales Teressa Fenn, Darryl Hunt, Chuck Jillson, Karolann Latimer, Shawna Long, Ralph Maccarone, Amanda Puett, Cora Younie Advertising Design Mitchell Carter, Jennifer Dickens, Janelle Farnam, Michelle Uhl, Tracy Willbanks, Hanah Noland
The Durango Herald uses reasonable effort to include accurate and up-to-date information for its special magazine publications. However, all general information comes from a variety of sources and may change at any time for any reason. To verify specific information, refer to the organization or business noted. To see the online version of this guide, click the link at: www.durangoherald.com.
Melony Jensen and her children, Trevor Green, 6, left, and Sanae Green, 9, middle, decorate a gingerbread house created by employees at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory in Durango. Both kids are students at Needham Elementary School.
A publication of
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Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 3
Presents Presence E
ven when snow is a no-show, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Durango. The quest for holiday gifts is on, and we hope this special Gift Guide edition of Durango Living/Holiday will inspire you. A visual “Buy Local” wish list with items from local merchants shows gift ideas for different ages. Features include information boxes with items that are perfect for pets, seniors or crafters. Presents are the focal point of many holiday celebrations, but everyone knows that presence – being truly present with loved ones – is what creates happy memories. Inside, five local families describe the holiday traditions that keep them connected. A light-hearted guide to group portraits offers tips and techniques to capture a relaxed, unique image for holiday cards. We wish you a merry Christmas, and happy holidays, and hope you enjoy this wrapped-up blend of gift guide and celebration of loved ones. – Karla Sluis H
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Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 5
Buy-Local Wish List
ADD SOME SPARKLE
Beads & Beyond is a crafter’s paradise, with bright baubles and walls full of cut crystal and gemstone strands. A basic kit or a beginner’s class is a nice gift for the creative person on your list. Classes range from $15-30.
A NEW HUE
For the tween or teen girl (or girl-at-heart) in your life, Del Sol carries a line of striking fingernail polish that changes color when exposed to sunlight. $9 each.
he mood was festive along Durango’s Main Avenue on “Small Business Saturday” Nov. 24. The shopping day followed the national frenzy of Black Friday, but with a focus on the “brick and mortar” stores in the community. “We are so lucky to have a great variety shops here in a small town,” said Sandy Matthews, who was strolling with her two grandchildren, ages 2 and 6. “These two are not great shoppers, so I promised them we’d go to Fuzziwig’s and the toy store at the end of the day. Hey, I’m a grandma. I reserve the right to spoil,” she said, laughing. FLC students Mark Peretti and Dylan Minot soaked up the 62-degree sunshine on a Main Avenue bench. They both bought items at Gardenschwartz Outdoors. “We didn’t spend a dime on Black Friday because we don’t like (big-box stores),” said Minot. “Yeah, and it’s fun right here because there are a lot of pretty girls walking by,” said Peretti. Anita Scheller said she spent most of the day shopping in local galleries. “I’m just getting into painting, and it really inspires me,” she said. “I like the shops along Main because you can buy quality, brand-name items, but you can also find funky, unique stuff made by locals.” Not everyone was motivated by the special deals. A tiredlooking Frank Espinosa slumped on a bench surrounded by his family’s purchases. “I’m just waiting patiently until we can head to Carver’s,” he said. “That beer is going to taste really good.” – Karla Sluis H
JOKE’S ON YOU HIT THE MARK The Scarpa T-Race Telemark Boots won the 2011 Backcountry Magazine Editor’s Choice Award. The design provides nosacrifice performance and responsiveness. Available at Pine Needle Mountaineering. $599
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Filled with classic gag gifts like the Hand Buzzer and Whoopee Toot, Schylling’s Box of Jokes will amuse young boys – and their dads. Available at Durango Toy Depot & Party Junction. $16.99
BUNDLE UP IN STYLE
Durango men covet the warm and rugged Carhart Duck Detroit Jacket in brown ($74.95, at Gardenschwartz Sporting Goods). Women will love the soft, shapely, super-warm Patagonia Rubicon Rider Jacket in Rubellite Pink ($299 at Pine Needle Mountaineering.)
A HOT POT
BOOTS WITH THE FUR
Le Creuset is the Rolls Royce of bakeware. The 5.5-quart cast iron dish in “Cherry,” “Cassis,” or “Fennel” (right) is a great choice for an avid cook. Available at Durango Coffee Company. $289.99
Local fashionistas like their footwear practical, warm and stylish. Ugg Australia boots are at the top of many ladies’ wish lists, including these waterproof, lace-up lamb-fur beauties. $349, at Brown’s Shoe Fit Company
BE AN AIRHEAD Duranglers sells top-of-the line fishing gear, like The Tilley Airflo Hat. It blocks 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and the mesh in the crown allows welcome ventilation for those hot days of summer. Closedcell foam at the top makes the hat float – a boon for boaters, too. $16.99
NO BATTERIES NEEDED The Pull-Along Snail from Plan Toys, sold at Durango Toy Depot & Party Junction, will delight tots 12 months or older with a fascinating “inching” motion. Parents who value sustainability will be delighted by the toy’s chemical-free organic paint and recycled materials. $21.99
FEEL THE SUGAR RUSH The giant, colorful, 1.5pound WhirlyPop is as big as a child’s head. The fruity flavor of this old-fashioned candy will thrill little ones of all ages, and it makes a pretty stocking stuffer. Available at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory. $19.99
Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 7
Barbara Bush thrilled to have a full house By Malia Durbano
ideas for seniors 1. Senior bus tour 2. Gift cards to a grocery store or pharmacy 3. Subscription to local newspaper or favorite magazine 4. Pre-paid visits to hairstylist 5. House cleaning or handyman services 6. Framed collage of family photos 7. Membership to a local gym 8. A soft throw, new sleepwear or personal-care items 9. Large-button cell phone or universal TV remote 10. Pre-paid pet exercising services 11. Pre-paid lawn mowing, leaf raking or snow removal 12. Large-faced electric wall clock 13. For the hearing impaired: a flashing light doorbell or flashing light telephone 14. Lap table 15. Zippered clothing with large zipper pulls
Feeling frazzled with too many holiday tasks? Ask grandparents to team up with grandchildren to help wrap gifts. Seniors can teach little ones the magic tricks of curling ribbon and making neat corners. With some hot cocoa and jolly music, a time-consuming chore can become a fun bonding experience.
granny happy By Karla Sluis
Durango Living Editor
o matter how active they are, the best gift you can give to a senior citizen is your time. As a gift to them – and to yourself – vow to spend more time with them this holiday season and in the coming year. That gift is priceless, and can be given by all. “The more the better. Don’t hesitate at all to come see them,” said Christie Schler, marketing director of Sunshine Gardens in Durango. In lieu of face-to-face time, send
a small package. “It’s one of the most exciting things that happens daily here,” said Schler. “They love letters, too. (Schler says only a quarter of residents check e-mail.) Even if relatives send letters and gifts periodically, you could bump it up and do more over the holidays.” Schler said most residents are not familiar with Skype or video conferencing technology, and would probably need someone on the Durango end to help them set it up. Gifts should be small, because residents don’t have much space, Schler said. She suggests framed
photos or small albums of family members, or crafts made by grandchildren. “They love show-and-tell items that come with bragging rights,” she said. Some residents enjoy receiving newspapers from their former place of residence, Schler said. “It helps them stay connected to that community.” For residents who are mobile, tickets to the “Nutcracker” and the Polar Express are two favorite holiday events for seniors. Family members could also take a relative on a drive to see holiday lights. H
Special to the Herald
othing is more important than family during the holidays,” said Barbara Bush, who has three children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Even though her loved ones don’t live in Durango, they find a way to connect over the holidays. Bush has celebrated decades of Christmas in Durango, beginning with her very first one. She is one of the few residents actually born here. Bush owned a hair salon on Ninth Street near Main for 31 years while she was raising her children. Her eldest son, Steve, and daughter, Tammy, both live in Franktown, near Castle Rock. Daughter Sandy lives in Michigan. She has been blessed with eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Since Steve and Tammy live so close together, they usually meet at Tammy’s house for Christmas. “Tammy loves to decorate, and even has two trees,” said Bush. “I go a few days early and we It’s so like crazy.” much fun cook After all the presents are opened, Steve and his family come over and they have a big dinner midto watch afternoon. the little Dinner is usually “turkey and all the fixins.” Tammy always makes sugar cookies from a grandfamous family recipe passed down through her children husband’s family. Bush loves having the whole family together. be so “It’s so much fun to watch the little grandchildren excited by be so excited by Christmas.” biggest challenge is figuring out what Christmas. to Her buy everyone. “I buy gifts for my kids, give checks to the grandkids and buy something for the great grandkids.” She wishes she lived closer, because she gets to see all of them only a few times a year. “I should have moved up there to be near them, but I just love Durango,” she said. Since Sandy lives so far away, “I love it when she calls to ask me how to cook something special,” said Bush. “I talk to all my kids at least once a week.” This year will be different. The kids got together and made a plan. They notified her recently that they’re all coming down to Durango to spend the holiday with her. Sandy and her family are coming in from Michigan, “so I’ll have a house full for a few days. “They can’t stay long, since they all have to get back to work; but it will be wonderful to have them all together.” H
Local holiday events & activities for seniors H Dec. 7, 12-12:30 p.m. – St. Columba Hand Bell Choir Christmas music (DLP Senior Center) H Dec. 7, 3-5 p.m. – Winter Social Dance, FLC students dance with seniors (DLP Senior Center) H Dec. 8, 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. – Arts & Crafts Bazaar (DLP Senior Center) H Dec. 11, 11:30-12:30 – Lunch singalong (DLP Senior Center) H Dec. 13, evening – Adventures
in Dining/Rio Grande in Dolores, $7 for transportation (DLP Senior Center) H Dec. 13, 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m. – Christmas ham dinner, plus entertainment and live music (DLP Senior Center) H Dec. 17-24 – Gingerbread decorating and other holiday craft events (ongoing at Sunshine Gardens) H Dec. 24 – David Barron live
performance (Sunshine Gardens) H Dec. 25 – Joyful Noise Band live performance (Sunshine Gardens) H Dec. 28, evening – New Year’s Eve pre-celebration, with music, decorations and lasagna dinner (DLP Senior Center) For more information about Durango-La Plata Senior Center events, call 382-6445. For events and activities at Sunshine Gardens, call 385-4090.
Barbara Bush of Durango describes family photos. LINDSAY ABSHAGEN/Herald
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Durango Living/Fall • Sunday, September 16, 2012 • 9
to craft a gift
1. Scrapbook Nook 495 E. College Dr.
December workshops include holiday cards, gift tags, albums, and a birdhouse. (970) 259-3655.
2. Beads & Beyond 840 Main Ave.
This month’s class list includes Beginning Knotting, Resin Accessories, Chain & Wire, Just For Kids: Ornaments, Briolette Cluster Necklace, Holiday Girls Night Out, and 30-minute Miracles. beadsdurango.com (970) 247-1204
3. Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory 656 Main Ave, Make a gingerbread house or decorate a Rice Krispies train. (970) 247-2770
4. Cocktails & Creations 858 Main Ave, Ste 102
Local artists guide themed classes such as “Winter Wonderland,” and “Gifts for Grandma: Kids Class.” cocktailsandcreations.net (970) 764-4296
5. Get Fused! Glass Studio & Gallery 600 Main Ave. Suite 112
Make your own glass creations, such as plates, wall decorations and earrings. (970) 259-2229
The Clay Room owner Bonnie Ward watches a creation in progress. LINDSAY ABSHAGEN/Herald photos
Play with clay & make a
one-of-a-kind By Malia Durbano
small amount on the plate designed to hold the paint, grabbed a brush and got started. t The Clay Room in DuranTotally coating the tree in a go, former art teacher Bonnie nice rich forest green, I made Ward has created a warm, sure all areas were covered. The intimate and friendly atmosphere for quick-drying paint allows you students of all ages to crealmost immediately to ate unique works of art. go back over the first Shelves line the walls coat to get a richer color. of two rooms with I was thrilled that the choices of white ceramwater-based paint washic molds of everything The price es off, since I’m not the from cookie jars, plat- includes neatest painter. ters, mugs and tea sets The prices range from to fantasy figurines and the fun of $12 for a cup to $14 for a dinosaurs. There are Figurines range decorating plate. piggy banks, pumpkins, from $8 to $17. Largcanisters, skulls, chip the item er pieces like my tree and dip platters, frogs are $25, the big cupand turtles – something exactly cake jar is $35, a for everyone. as you like. big platter is $26 Specifically for the and a family-size holiday season, Ward will stock serving bowl is $28. Christmas trees, ornaments, Christ- The price includes the mas stockings, candle holders, fun of decorating the platters with Christmas designs and item exactly as you Hanukkah items. like and taking the Since Christmas is coming up, I piece home after it chose a little tree instead of the big has been glazed. cupcake cookie jar I would have A $7.50 studio fee chosen at a different time of year. is added for supplies. I picked out my colors, poured a It is discounted to $5 for Special to Durango Living
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seniors, caretakers and parents enjoying the activity along with their children. Ward offers 20 percent off for groups of five or more. Birthday parties are $12.50 per child; and for a minimum of five ladies participating in a Ladies Night Out, each receives 20 percent off their piece of pottery. The Clay Room also offers preschool, after school and home school parties. Hours are Tuesday 1 to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and on Mondays when there is no school, hours are 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All items are glazed and returned to you within a week. The material is 100 percent non-toxic and washable. As a piece of art, it will last longer if you do not put it in the dishwasher or microwave. The Clay Room is located at 171 E. Seventh Street in the alley between Main and Second avenues. For more information, visit www. artandlaughter.com or call (970) 426-9685. H Durango Living/Fall • Sunday, September 16, 2012 • 11
to buy for big families
Christmas is big for Mestas family
Five Durango families define their ties differently; but large or small – related or unrelated – the holiday season brings them together to share joy & traditions.
Consider a group gift that all ages can enjoy together. 1. Food. Provide the ham or turkey for the big meal, bake treats, or give a basket of local honey or chocolate. 2. Movies. Buy theater tickets or choose DVDs. 3. Games. Classic board games or video games like Wii Fit or Guitar Hero are great for groups.
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Stories by Malia Durbano Photos by Lindsay Abshagen
LEFT: Three generations of the Mestas family gather at Rotary Park in Durango in November for a portrait.
hen J. Leigh Loveless came to Fort Lewis College from Colorado Springs 20 years ago, she never dreamed she would marry into and be totally embraced by a large, local family. Her husband, Joey Mestas, is one of the eight children of Roger and Dolores Mestas, who were both born and raised here. “As much of the family as possible celebrates everything together,” said J. Leigh. Christmas is one of the biggest celebrations, with four generations congregating at Joey’s sister’s house. The close-knit family always congregated at Roger and Dolores’ house until she passed away in 1992. Their eldest daughter, Iva Esquibel took over the tradition. Grandpa Roger, his seven remaining children and their spouses, along with 17 grandchildren ranging in age from 38 years to 9 months, and one great-grandchild all gather at Iva’s house near Park Elementary after Mass at Sacred Heart Church on Christmas Eve. Grazing on heavy hors d’oeuvres, they mingle and chat until Grandpa Roger, now 76, pulls out his guitar. The talented family members sing, and young female grandchildren show off moves they’ve learned in dance classes. Eventually, the karaoke machine gets pulled out, and they sing holiday favorites. Family members wander in and out of singing to go into other rooms to tell stories, jokes and share fond memories of other Christmas holidays, remembering family members no longer with them. “We love creating new memories together, and it’s always special when there is a new baby in the family,” said J. Leigh. On Christmas morning, the individual families celebrate in their own homes by opening presents, followed by visiting the in-laws. “At the end of the day, we all end up back at Iva’s house, and continue where we left off the night before,” J. Leigh said. “Iva always makes sure everybody is fed.” – Malia Durbano H
Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 13
Singles Outdoors members toast at Randy’s Restaurant in October.
Single seniors gather to share Christmas holiday
for a gi exchange 1. Shopping bag 2. Homemade cookies in a tin 3. Candle, or a bar of nice soap
4. Sticky notes 5. Calendar 6. Joke book 7. Recipe cards 8. Fuzzy socks 9. Bag of coffee 10. Music CD
uckily for the members of Singles Outdoors, a subgroup of Seniors Outdoors, a kind and generous person usually invites them over to spend Christmas day. For many, their children and grandchildren live too far away to visit, or are spending the day with the other side of the family. Warren Levingston has shared the holiday with the singles group for the past five or six years. “It’s really informal, and not like our planned events,” he said. “Somebody who has a house will say, ‘We’re going to be in town – come on over.’ The invitation goes out a few weeks in advance, with instructions on food to bring.” The dinner “moves around town,” depending upon who sends out the invite. Since some seniors have downsized to smaller homes, it is usually whoever has a home large enough to accommodate about 15 to 20 people. Friends gather for a potluck-style dinner. “It’s really a boarding house reach kind of dinner,” he explains. People know each other from having shared other activities. The group regularly meets for picnics, hikes, bowling, meals at restaurants, book clubs, card games, carpooling to Music in the Mountains concerts and plays at the Durango Arts Center. There are no gifts exchanged, and it is really just an opportunity to gather, share the day and enjoy social interaction. The unstructured day consists of hanging around either indoors or out, depending upon the weather, and socializing. “We chat, tell stories and just catch up with each other,” said Levingston. There is usually a mixed bag of people: Some are active and some are not. The house can be decorated or not – that’s not what is important. “The focal point is people interacting together and sharing an important day.” – Malia Durbano H
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Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 15
Flexibility is key for Hart-Pearson blended family
to give an experience – instead of more stuff There are many ways to make this holiday season less about material presents and more about family experiences that will be remembered long after packaged gifts are forgotten. Here are a few ideas: 1. Lessons. Match them to your loved one’s personalities and interests, such as cooking lessons in a foreign cuisine, ski lessons, language lessons or guitar lessons. 2. Tickets to a live performance. Try a play, comedy, dance show or music concert. 3. A gift certificate for a dinner and a movie. An evening out is special. If the family has children, you can treat parents to a night out while you babysit. 4. Practical gifts. A practical gift can help alleviate some financial stress for some families. Ideas for practical gifts are oil change certificates, grocery store gift cards and gas cards. 5. Volunteering. Offering your time at a shelter or giving a meal to a family who cannot afford much is a wonderful experience and low cost.
ave Hart and Candee Pearson have found the best way to have an enjoyable holiday season is to stay flexible and not be regimented around tradition. The couple just celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary, but have been together for seven years. Hart and Pearson have a blended family: Dave has two children from his first marriage, and he shares custody with his ex-wife, Fran Hart. The couple follows a schedule based around the activities of Dave’s kids. Kaila, 21, is a junior at Fort Lewis College and ranked fourth in the nation for crosscountry mountain biking. Their son Ian, 16, is a junior at Durango High School. Kaila has an apartment in town, but lives with them during the summer. Ian lives with Dave and Candee in a two week on and two week off schedule. Alternately, he lives with Fran Hart in Heartwood Co-housing Community in Bayfield. The kids rotate spending every
other Christmas Eve with them. Sometimes on Christmas day, all five of them get together and do something like hike or ski. Since Candee and Fran both have family in the Seattle area, two years ago they drove there together and met each other’s families. “With a blended family, it’s hard to keep traditions,” said Candee. “You can’t really rely on where you’ll be or what you’ll do – it’s not always the same.” Dave and Candee always have a tree and the house is decorated. If the kids are with them on Christmas morning, they open gifts then. If not, they wait until
the kids get there in the afternoon. They all enjoy doing something fun together during the day, and always try to make that happen. The challenge is that the timing on things is never really exact. Mid-day the kids switch homes at different times, depending upon activities and schedules. “We start planning early to avoid conflicts, depending upon if Candee’s parents or Fran’s parents are in town,” said Dave. “We can always find a solution, and we are thankful and acknowledge that we have a good working relationship. Our first commitment is to the kids.” – Malia Durbano H The Rodd family: Steve, Nathaniel, Teddy, Allie and Laurel.
Rodd holidays have global flair and unique tradition of giving
T From left: Candee Pearson, Dave Hart, Ian Hart, Kaila Hart and Fran Hart. LINDSAY ABSHAGEN/Herald photos
Couple alternates holiday visits with adult children
ancy and Bruce Ehlenbeck will be celebrating their 15th Christmas in Durango this year. They wanted to get out of Denver, but still return for some holidays since two of their children still live in the vicinity. Their eldest son Tim, his wife Anna and their two sons, ages 8 and 5, live in Arvada; second son Jason and his wife Jackie live in Fort Collins. This is the first year daughter Amy is not home with Nancy and Bruce. She recently graduated from Fort Lewis College and moved to Asheville, N.C. “We usually spend every other year with our sons, so on alternate years the spouses can be with their families,” said Nancy. “For the past six years, we’ve alternated going up there and having everyone come down to our home here.” Since Nancy and Bruce are
Nancy & Bruce Ehlenbeck semi-retired and have more flexible schedules, this year they will head to Fort Collins, where the gang will gather at Jason and Jackie’s home. “Having young kids in the family again makes Christmas more fun,” said Nancy. Their siblings and spouses pick
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names, and each buy one present. “The grandkids make out like bandits – everybody buys for them.” Nancy and Bruce requested that their gifts be more altruistic. The family chips in to sponsor an animal through the Heifer Foundation. The grandkids like looking through the catalog choosing an animal to buy for a family located somewhere around the world. Everybody pitches in to cook a big traditional dinner, which includes turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, mushroom green beans, sweet potatoes, corn and rolls. “My sons insist that we have to have what we’ve always had,” said Nancy. Baking pies and cookies starts a few days in advance. “Just being together as a family is such a joy, since we don’t get to see each other on a regular basis.” – Malia Durbano H
he Rodd family changes with friends. most of their traditions Steve said last year the fambased on the country they ily focused the day on giving to live in at Christmas time. They others. Each person in the family lived in Romania, Hungary and was given a set amount of money France for a total of 15 years, and and was asked to create an expeadopted some of the foods and rience that involved their family traditions. and another family. Without grandparents or other Allie used her money to buy family around, they were free food and invite a family over that to start their own traditions and didn’t have any other family in adopt aspects they liked from town. Nathaniel chose to invite countries they lived in. a family with children In Romania, it is trawho had just lost their “The dition for carolers to go holiday father. He treated everydoor to door. body to lunch at Old Ty“You have to stand out is always mer’s Cafe. Teddy chose in the cold while they about our to repay a family who sing, and then give them helped his family out faith, our had cookies,” said Teddy. while he was in the hosfamily This is their fourth pital last year by taking Christmas in Durango. and good everybody out to dinner. Steve and Laurel both say Laurel bought a goat, food.” that regardless of where two chickens and a wheel they are, “the holiday is chair for a family in Afalways about our faith, our family rica from the World Visions gift and good food.” catalog. Steve decided to buy They have three children: Na- iTunes music cards for everythaniel, 17, Allie, 16, and Teddy, one, and then asked them to each 13. They always spend Christ- choose a movie that they could mas Eve together, attending a watch as a family. church service and then enjoying Everyone agreed that they ena multi-course meal in the French joyed changing the focus last year, tradition of smoked salmon, fin- and they haven’t decided how ger foods, cheeses and breads. In they’ll spend this Christmas. But it the morning, they open presents, will definitely still be about food, and then branch out to spend time faith and family. – Malia Durbano H
Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 17
12 pet gifts Locally made products at Pet Haus: 1. Redcliffs Pottery dog and cat bowls 2. Dog charms and tags by Becky Turner 3. Tie-Dyed Dog Bandanas 4. Pet Portraits by local artists 5. James Ranch meats/bones 6. Hemp Houndz collars and leashes
7. Counter Kulture products 8. Sister Root Medicinals 9. Colorado Catnip Toys and Beds Fun items at Creature Comforts: 10. Nootie brand shampoos and “daily spritz” in sophisticated scents, such as Sweet Pea & Vanilla, Coconut Lime Verbena, and Japanese Cherry Blossom 11. Coats, rain gear, dog boots and handknitted wool sweaters 12. Zuke’s dog treats: New “Lil’ Links” – Healthy Little Sausage Links, and “Supers” – Nutritious Soft Superfood Dog Treats
Sit or come?
Review local options for dog care during vacation By Karla Sluis
Durango Living Editor
“We’ve had people who say they took their dogs to McDonald’s or cleaned out the fridge before dropping them off,” said Harris. H Bring their own snacks, favorite toy, or a blanket that smells like home.
hey see the suitcases. They know what’s up. The tail goes down, the ears go back and their eyes plead: “Please don’t leave!” Around the holidays, pet owners must make a decision about what to do with pets: boarding, pet-sitting or taking them along for the ride. Local experts say each option has pros and cons, depending on the dogs’ and owners’ personalities. A social dog might enjoy the stimulation and novelty of boarding at a local kennel. Susan Harris, owner of Willow Tree Kennels in the Animas Valley, organizes dogs in “playgroups” grouped by size and personality. There is structured outdoor time in six exercise yards, plus naps, snacks and socialization with staff members. Many clients – Susan Harris (below, holding Xena), owner of Willow Tree Kennels are repeat customers, and the dogs are kept to a strict routine. “They’re excited to be at the kennel, and they recognize us,” said Harris. “We try to maintain our employee base so they know people.” If owners are nervous about boarding, Harris offers a trial day, night or weekend, or tours of the facility. Willow Tree’s daily rate ranges from $16 for cats to up to $32 for dogs during the holidays. Harris offers the following tips for minimizing stress on a pet before a kennel stay: H Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date. H If your pet recognizes what a suitcase represents, take them to the kennel before you start packing. H Don’t comfort a pet with food.
Working with dogs and cats is very rewarding. It never fails at some point in the day I’m laughing or smiling.
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Some pets – and owners – suffer from separation anxiety. Dogs can get upset when they go to a kennel. For people who want to keep their pet in a familiar environment with around-the-clock attention, a petsitting service is a good option. Rhonda Brown, owner of Custom Animal Services in Durango, offers stop-ins, overnights, exercise, daysitting and on-site house sitting. “It’s a lot like babysitting, but clients also get the benefit of someone to take care of the house while they are gone,” which includes mail, newspaper, houseplants and home security, she said. Some clients have unique requirements for their pets. Brown said her employees have prepared raw-diet meals for pets. They call or text owners with daily – sometimes hourly – updates. Brown said people considering a pet-sitter should make sure the business is reputable, insured and bonded, because sitters will be unsupervised in a home. Custom Animal Services rates are from $21 per day for two pets and a half-hour visit, to $70 per day for overnight stays with “lots of extra attention and interaction.” Brown offers the following tips to prepare for a pet-sitter: H Buy extra food, litter, etc. in case you are delayed. H Have visible identification on your pets. H Leave a piece of clothing you have worn for your pet’s security. H Leave current veterinarian information or other important phone numbers. H Inform neighbors that a pet
sitter will be making visits to your home. H Always promptly let your pet-sitter know that you made it home safe. Traveling with a pet is another option for owners who can’t bear to be apart, or just enjoy having them along for the ride. Plane travel is safe, but larger dogs must be in crates in cargo holds, which can have fluctuating temperatures and disturbing noises. Driving is a better option for many pets and people, including Durango resident Dori Walden. She has taken her two Lab mixes, Abbey and Coalby, with her on road trips for years. “They love to go bye-bye,” she said. There are a few challenges, however. “We have been told not to bring our dogs to certain family members’ homes,” she said. To avoid upsetting relatives, Walden’s family stays in a petfriendly hotel. If travelers plan all-day activities where pets are not allowed, such as a theme park or museums, it’s best not to take a pet along, she said. Here are few tips from Walden
Photo courtesy of Rhonda Brown
Rhonda Brown, owner of Custom Animal Services, stands with her quarter horse, Bud. Her business services include care for horses as well as dogs, cats and other animals. on car travel with dogs: H Research before you go to find pet-friendly hotels. H Stop every few hours for potty and exercise breaks. H Bring collapsible bowls. H Park in the shade. H Consider a prescription for anxious behavior. “One dog is ferocious when she’s alone in the car, and we don’t want to give some old lady a heart attack in the parking lot.” H Andi Moran plays with Max at Willow Tree Kennels in the Animas Valley. LINDSAY ABSHAGEN/ Herald photos
Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 19
Fit to be gifted
Don’t look now, New Year’s resolutions are on deck. Launch them into 2013 with a gift that really gets them going
letes h t a r fo ss & fitne sts ia enthus 1. Sessions with a personal trainer 2. Physical therapy gift certificate 3. Basket of favorite energy bars or supplements plus a water bottle 4. Gift certificate for sports massage 5. iPod with strap carrier for workouts 6. Handheld weights, jump rope or sports stopwatch
Numbers on the run: Garmin Forerunner 610 By Anne Stein
here are fitness gadgets to excite and inspire exercisers of any level, whether you’re shopping for an Ironman triathlete or trying to persuade a couch potato to get up and get active. And since it’s all in the name of health, you might just want to pick up a duplicate gift for yourself. Keep in mind what activities interest the individual, says Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise. This will help you identify gifts that they will use and enjoy. “Are they someone who enjoys working out at home or do they prefer attending group fitness classes? Would they perhaps like working one-on-one with a personal trainer at the gym? It’s important to consider how he or she is most likely to work out,” says Matthews. Let it snow… If your favorite runner dreads winter because of snow and ice, check out the New Balance Winter 110 trail running shoe. This minimalist-style shoe is wrapped with
a waterproof layer that protects feet from slush and snow, and it comes with plush lining for warmth ($125, running shops). Someone more interested in a walk or short hike might try the New Balance 1099 lightweight boot. It’s waterproof and the sole is designed to grip snow and ice ($110). Indoor exercisers who want a new strength-training tool will love the Century Dual Grip Medicine Ball, (in 8-, 12-, 16- and 20-pound versions). The vinyl ball, which is filled with sand that shifts slightly as you grip and move it, tests muscles and coordination by combining the qualities of a medicine ball
with the challenge of a sand bag ($25-$45, sporting goods stores). Consider purchasing training sessions with a local certified personal trainer for someone who prefers the indoors and is new to fitness. Matthews, a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor, says working with a professional offers many benefits, “from learning the basics about fitness, such as how to perform exercises with proper form, to having a customized program developed by a qualified professional to help the individual reach unique health and fitness goals.” Story continues on Page 22
“The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges,” by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore (VeloPress, 2012), is great reading for the most adventurous athlete on your list. Whether it’s walking and skiing 420 nautical miles across the South Pole or cycling 240 miles across five mountain ranges in Costa Rica, there are dozens of races that’ll take months or years to prepare for. Meanwhile, a reader can simply enjoy the images (bookstores, $29.95).
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Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 21
Continued from Page 20
Keeping cool while you’re working out can be a challenge and even a safety issue in extreme summer temperatures. Mission’s EnduraCool Instant Cooling To w e l provides two hours Lightweight New of quick, chemical-free Balance boot has relief from the heat. soles designed for Just wet the towel and slippery conditions. snap it to lower the towel’s temperature to 59 degrees within a minute, whether you’re indoors or out. Wet again to re-activate. ($14.99/large size, sporting goods stores). Monitoring heart rate can be a great motivational tool for athletes. A chest strap or a finger sensor allows the user to target a specific heart rate range in order to achieve the maximum benefit from a workout without overdoing it. Prices vary from around $60 to $400 or more, depending on the bells and whistles. Garmin’s new Forerunner 610 has a touch-screen, wristwatch-style system with GPS, heart rate monitor and the ability to wirelessly upload and track running
routes and stats to a computer ($400, sporting goods stores and specialty shops). Muscle madness From bike-riding Olympians to regular Joes out for a jog, athletes everywhere are wearing compression garments, skin-tight black sleeves and socks designed to squeeze and compress muscles and enhance performance. Now they’re available in a stylish pink, medical grade material from Cramer sports medicine products. Cramer’s Endurance Support System (ESS) sleeves promise to increase muscular blood flow and flush away painful lactic acid to allow quicker recovery and tougher workouts ($20-$25 for calf, thigh, knee, arm and ankle, sporting goods stores). Safety first If your kid’s already a jock but you just can’t get him or her to wear a protective mouth guard – essential to decreasing the risk of concussion and protecting teeth – try MoGo Sport’s new flavored mouth guards, which fit adults, too. They come in lemon, orange, mint, bubble gum and fruit punch,
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are BPA-free and contain natural flavors that last for the life of the mouth guard. They even fit over braces ($11.99, sporting goods stores). Tools of the trade Fitness-related gifts aren’t just for those who are already in great shape. Sometimes, the right gift can encourage someone in need of a life change. An inexpensive pedometer or fitnesstracking software for a smartphone can be helpful reminding someone to be active, according to Pete McCall, a San Diego exercise physiologist. The FitBit Aria ($149) is a WiFienabled scale that records weight, body fat and BMI and wirelessly sends the info to a computer to track calories, pounds lost and overall progress. The device also connects with others trying to lose weight via the FitBit website. Each family member can create his or her own account ($149, specialty stores). H © CTW Features Century dual-grip medicine ball is filled with sand.
Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 23
she really enjoys doing with her family. “We like to get right to the candle lighting and playing games. It is easier when everyone can serve themselves. More time can be spent discussing the lighting of the candles, singing and playing dreidel.” Smith’s spread is an array of delicious foods that commemorate the meaning of the holiday and help her children and grandchildren appreciate the past. Hot cheese dip and crispy latkes add to the warmth of the soft glow from the menorah, and are a keystone to a celebration steeped in meaning and tradition. Her favorite dish to warm the soul is her Cheesy Butternut Squash Soup, simply because “it feels like home.” Along with traditional fare, there is another aspect of the holiday that ranks high on the list of favored traditions. Smith admits
for foodies 1. A food-themed film, such as the documentaries “Food Inc.” or “The Future of Food” 2. Subscription to a food magazine, such as Bon Appetit 3. A useful gadget, such as a microplane grater/zester 4. A share of produce from a communitysupported agriculture (CSA) program 5. Quality chef’s knife 6. Yogurt or sorbet maker 7. Gourmet salts 8. Cooking lessons 9. Reusable shopping bags 10. A cookbook. Here are a few 2012 award winners from International Association of Culinary Professionals: Tasting India, by Christine Manfield; The Art of Pasta, by Lucio Gallett; The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, by Amy Traverso; Ancient Grains For Modern Meals, by Maria Speck.
that her most treasured part of the celebration is lighting the candles on the menorah. “I love the silence of it. I love taking the time those eight evenings and setting it aside to remember who we are and where we came from. It is a time to bring the family close together.” This sentiment is also felt by other women at Har Shalom. “I really look forward to the warm glow of the candles, and singing all of the familiar Hanukkah songs,” said Lisa Smith, who also cherishes the warmth it brings to cold winter nights. “We always made a special event out of each night for our kids,” said Brodsky. “In fact, we often Skype with our grandchildren and light the candles together on the first and last night of the festival. We sing the prayers, and it gives us a nice connection to each other and the past.” H
RACHEL ROSENTHAL/Herald photos
Glowing menorahs adorn a table set for a Hanukkah feast of latkes, onion cheese dip, apple sauce, and creamy butternut squash soup at Har Shalom north of Durango on Country Road 203.
Hanukkah cooks rejoice By Rachel Rosenthal
Special to Durango Living
anukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a time for Jewish families to reflect and rejoice. Though the holiday is not traditionally esteemed as one of the more important ones in the Jewish faith, its meaning resounds in the hearts of many Jewish families. For many, a specific dish holds a special place in their celebration. The favored dish among many families is potato latkes, or potato pancakes, which are fried in oil and served with sour cream or apple sauce. At the Durango synagogue Har Shalom on Oct. 18, the women of the congregation reflected on their most treasured memories of Hanukkah and open up about the importance of food in celebrations. “Food plays a major role in every Jewish holiday,” said Enid Brodsky. “I think most Jews know a holiday by the special food for that particular celebration. The food is very symbolic, and has a spiritual connection to each holiday.” Fried foods eaten during Hanukkah
and the lighting of candles on the menorah commemorate the oil that sustained a group of Jews who fought the defiling of their temple for eight days and nights. Along with potato latkes, fried jelly doughnuts are also a popular dish during the festival. While the flavor is reason for an initial appreciation for seasonal food, it all has a deeper meaning that is connected to the past. “There is a historical connection
Carol Smith prepares her homemade apple sauce to serve along with her potato latkes at Har Shalom.
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between the oil you cook in and the oil that sustained our ancestors for eight nights when they only had enough for one,” said Brodsky. She said there is even a direct connection to ancestors through many of the recipes used during the holiday. “Many recipes are based on what country one’s relatives came from, and the traditions that carried over.” One culinary tradition that is also popular among many Jewish families is the inclusion of dairy dishes. This is connected to the story of Judith, a Jewish heroine who saves her people by slaying an enemy general. Dairy is also included in the celebration to commemorate brave Jewish women who played a central role in the rededication of the temple. Har Shalom member Carol Smith finds great importance in serving dishes to her family and friends that connect the historical meaning of the holiday with oil and dairy. She has also found a way to include traditional foods while emphasizing other aspects of the holiday she enjoys. Opting for casual finger foods instead of the traditional sit-down meal allows for more of the things
Potato Latkes Recipe by Enid Brodsky
3 cups potatoes, grated (use fairly large baking potatoes) 1 medium onion 1-2 eggs, beaten lightly 1 teaspoon salt Pinch of pepper 1 tablespoon flour or matzo meal ½ teaspoon baking powder Vegetable oil Peel potatoes and place in cold water until ready to grate. Grate potatoes, rinse with cold water and drain very well. Add eggs immediately. Mix all ingredients well, making sure the flour and baking soda are incorporated. Heat oil in a frying pan or griddle. These are not deep-fried, but you will need a fair amount of oil to fry them; and add more oil as you fry. Drop a large spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil. Turn to other side when it’s crispy brown. Drain on paper towels and keep warm. Serve with apple sauce (some like to use sour cream). It is hard to say how many this will serve. Usually, there is never enough. They are so good! Your house will smell for days!
Cheesy Butternut Squash Soup Recipe by Carol Smith
One 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded 1 box vegetable broth 1 teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon dried marjoram ½ teaspoon of dried thyme Pinch of grated nutmeg 1 cup of milk or half-and-half 1½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9” x 13” baking pan with olive oil. Place squash halves, cut side down, in the prepared dish. Pierce the skin sides several times with a fork. Bake until the squash is tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scrape the flesh from the cooked squash into a soup pan. Add broth, cinnamon, onion powder, marjoram, thyme, and nutmeg and cook for 30 minutes over medium heat. Mash with a potato masher and add milk and cheese. Cook for another 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle in to warmed bowl. Top with a dollop of sour cream or a swirl of sweet cream before serving.
Durango Living/Fall Sunday, September 2012 ••25 25 Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE •• Thursday, December16, 6, 2012
Photography Dilemma #1:
Photos by Lindsay Abshagen
A thin line between unique & weird
Studio Shoots D
O GO OT
Shooting a good portrait can be tricky. Here’s a visual guide to capturing a great holiday image – and avoiding the “awkward family photo” look. The props you pick define the mood of the photo. Choose them wisely, because they will draw attention. If you want a silly photo, go for it. Getting lower than the subjects and shooting up is not flattering. People can look fat, with big nostrils, turkey necks and pin heads. Save this pose for superheroes. Arms play a significant role in body language. Folded hands and awkward gaps make the family look divided. The key with arms is to stay loose and natural. In the attempt to be unique, you don’t want to creep people out. Expressions hold a lot of power. This “angelic” theme veers a bit toward the weird.
R TTE BE U
The Kroes family gets silly in the Durango Herald studio, from left: Dylan, 15 , a freshman at Animas High School; Tim, executive director of Adaptive Sports Association; Susan, a volunteer ESL teacher at the Adult Education Center; and Jess, 18, a junior at AHS. Goofy holiday photos are a tradition. “We find that fun and funny reflects more accurately on the true personality of our family,” said Tim. “We just don’t take ourselves very seriously, and we like doing something a bit unique. I think folks who know us would be shocked to receive a serious formal portrait of the Kroes family.”
any people face the camera like it’s the barrel of a gun – “grin and bear it” style. But taking a holiday portrait doesn’t have to be a tense experience. It can even be fun. On the following pages, you’ll meet three Durango families who bravely posed for “not good,” “better,” “best” and supersilly photos. A handful of tips and techniques are included to avoid the awkward family photo look. The first thing you’ll need when taking a group shot of loved ones is a sense of humor. Telling jokes or posing for goofy shots will break the ice and create more natural smiles for the “real shot.”
When people start to get squinty with frozen, fake smiles, ask them to pause, close their eyes and take a breath. With kids, have a “shake it out” break to get rid of excess energy or a crabby mood. Who is taking the photo? A professional, a friend or an auto-timer? There are advantages to each. Pros have the equipment and knowledge, and they will handle editing for you. A family friend taking a photo may help subjects feel more comfortable. It’s convenient and free, but a point-and-shoot camera will be lower-quality. A selftimer and tripod offers similar benefits of cost and convenience, but there’s an
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added stress of rushing into the shot. Remember to take many photos of each scene or grouping. It’s the digital age: You aren’t wasting film. The larger the group, the better the chance that someone will be blinking or making a weird face. Go ahead and match your clothes, bare your feet or hold a prop: It’s your family, and the memento will capture your style. The perfect photo doesn’t define a perfect family. Don’t expect an airbrushed version of yourself, or anyone else. Relax and enjoy your time together, and you’ll be happier with the outcome. – Karla Sluis & Lindsay Abshagen
Durango Living/Fall • Sunday, September 16, 2012 • 26
The “train” pose might be good for... never. The attempt to look cute can quickly become awkward. However, it can create laughter, which relaxes participants for the “real” photos.
This is better because the body language is affectionate and shows family unity. But getting too chummy and pulling some members off balance results in awkward postures. Lights should be at 45 degrees to the people instead of 180 degrees. If lights are unbalanced, the people on the end will be overlit. ST BE
Changing lighting can change the mood. This photo is well lit at 45 degrees, and there are no dark shadows on faces. The background looks neutral. There are no contrived arrangements by height. Poses are relaxed and expressions are natural, so attention is drawn to their faces. Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 27
Photography Dilemma #2:
Furry “baby” won’t pose
Ale and Lee Warden are newlyweds who recently moved to Durango from Texas. They were celebrating their one-year anniversary on the day of this photo shoot in late October along the Animas River Trail.
The Warden’s dog Aspen was more interested in digging than posing. One of the most difficult things in photography is to get a pet to hold still. An easy trick is to let her play quietly, then let someone call for her. You will have a few seconds to capture her in an alert posture.
Full-on bright sunlight results in squints and shadows. Walk around and shoot with the sun at an angle or position the sun behind subjects and use a flash.
RIGHT: Don’t force animals into doing something they don’t want to do. It will look unnatural. It may seem cute to you, but they may be scared or miserable – and it will show.
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Outdoor Shoots T NO
Here we have the “I got my man” chokehold. A little physical contact is good; too much is uncomfortable – for subjects and viewers. And watch your background: A passing van is distracting.
The dog is more relaxed here because she had time to explore and calm down. Exercise pets before a shoot (preferably not on a muddy riverbank). Note the poor crop on this image: The background is beautiful, but it distracts from their faces.
Furry “baby” won’t pose
R TTE BE
Be yourselves. If you’re newlyweds, do some kissing. Action shots are good. When subjects interact, it’s automatically more natural, and it brings emotion into the photo. (That’s what no one likes about posed photos: There is no feeling.) Durango Living/Holiday GIFT GUIDE • Thursday, December 6, 2012 • 29
Photography Dilemma #3:
The background is poorly framed, and the sunlight is too bright. Plus, when kids are done, they are done. Don’t try to force them to continue to pose and smile, or you’ll have a meltdown on your hands.
“Fake it” doesn’t make it RIGHT: The Pruett family tries a little too hard to be festive in their Durango West home, from left: Michael, Jade, 9, Taj, 6, and Denise.
The woodstove was a good choice as a backdrop, until the subjects’ positions left an odd pipe sticking out.
Pruett Family BELOW: The family pet may choose to flee the scene. He may also refuse to wear those awesome jingle antlers. Relax. The more tense you get, the more tense your pet will be. The goal is a good family photo. If the dog makes everyone upset, let him go outside.
R TTE BE
The crop, background and lighting is better here. It would help to have a second set of eyes beside the photographer to spot little things, like the position of props. ST BE
RIGHT: This is the photo you might get if you say “Hug your brother!” between clenched teeth. (“No, not that tight!”) Don’t force siblings to be affectionate. Let them simply stand next to each other and be themselves.
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Everyone is looking at the camera with more natural smiles. The crop is tighter at the knee. (The upper body is more important here, and draws more focus to faces.) This is the “keeper” shot for the mantel.
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