Forty-Five Years Ago the World Stopped

November 22, 2008

Part 2.

Forty-five years ago today I was a relatively carefree sophomore at a private women’s college in Denver (Colorado Woman’s College).  November 22 dawned a day very much like today in Denver: bright, clear, and unusually warm for so close to the Thanksgiving vacation.

It was a Friday, however, and therefore we had classes – regular classes – to attend before the last weekend prior to going home.  (Weekend frivolity was much more important in my mind than the grind of classes. I wasn’t – at the time – terribly interested in education.  Why should I? I already knew everything!  Remember: I was 19.)

I was heading back to my dorm room after a mid-morning class (certainly boring!) prior to going over to the cafeteria for the long-for lunch.  I remember the sunshine, the movement of hundreds of (mostly) females moving over the lovely, tree-shaded campus. 

As I was making my way, some girl that knew me blurted out: “He’s been shot!”  “Who?!”, I responded – but before I had a chance to even say that, she yelled, “The President!”. 

My heart raced, I noted that people’s faces were falling in recognition of this terrible fact being spread across the campus and life.  Girls stopped to exchange information in groups, large and small. Some girls were seen with tears streaming down their cheeks, not knowing what to say, where to go.

I don’t remember that I even made it to lunch.  I don’t think that I did.  As I made my way into the comfort and safety of my dormitory, it’s residents all gathering in our large living area.  Someone had set up a television, and we all gathered – in horror, fear, and shock – to watch the proceedings.  As sense of immediate danger to us all – as individuals, as a nation – overtook us all.  We talked in hushed, frightened tones with one another. We checked in with loved ones by long distance phone service: our immediate families, our boyfriends, our best friends.  This was not a day like any other that we had ever experienced, and we needed to feel the comfort and love of our closest loved ones.

That day 45 years ago everything shifted for all of us.

That day marked for me the first breach of my own sense of safety and innocence.   Our worlds had been rocked, and it didn’t feel good.

John F. Kennedy presented an inspired sense of leadership for us all.  When he was so brutally assassinated our collective world went dark.


Interesting in knowing the story of “connectoring” strategies?

November 22, 2008


Part 1.

I’ve always been one known to be a very competent networker.  Being so has enabled me to become a very good executive recruiter and corporate staffer.  I’ll take it one step further: being a great networker has contributed to the saving of my life!!  (Much more about this later….)

Along my life’s path, several people have asked me to teach them “how you do what you do”.  One of the very first things I learned was that people everywhere detest the term “networker”.

Several years ago at a meeting I was advised that if I wanted to be successful at this endeavor (showing the “world” how to build their networks), I had better come up with new terminology!!

I took this idea very seriously.  A couple of years ago I conjured the term “connectoring strategy”, registered the trademark with the USPTO, and started to introduce the phrase into business speak (bizspeak).

is it time for you to write your book?

December 27, 2010
“….we thought you would be the ideal lady to come over to our cabin near
Hulett for 8 weeks while we travel for medical treatment for Dolf.

We are both dutch and have after our retirement traveled extensively all
over the USA in our motorhome since 1990 and then,after 80.000 miles ,we
settled in a quiet valley in an old cabin.

We rebuilt that old cabin around the doorknob until it became a beautiful
,original american loghome and ,even though we never intended to, we were” adopted “in the course of 5 years by 3 kitties..

Now, we have to leave the cabin for 8 weeks,since Dolf has to have medical
treatment for his kidneys in China and we need a cat-sitter…who can do all
she wants here..we have internet, phone, car for you..only no teevee, but
radio and lots of (classical) music…

Let us know if March and April 2011 are still open and we pick you up at the
Airport of Rapid City…

Regards:Dolf&Carla and Prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr&Little Owl &NICKY& deer and


I received this email inquiry in the mail last night. I was so charmed and
delighted with the ensuing conversation with them that I’ve decided to help
them find and refer to them their ideal housesitter. Would YOU happen to be the person (or one of a couple?) who might be
intrigued with the idea of spending a couple of months in quiet and peace of
the country, in a log cabin in northern Wyoming? Call or email me; I will
send along the photographs that Carla attached…..303.780.9111.

PS. Housesitting is a GREAT way to enhance your life while – at the same
time – greatly reducing your living expenses. Call me for more

erika hanson brown, Principal
STELLAR Connections LLC
Trusted House & Pet Sitting Referrals
denver, co, usa
303.351.4103 (add’l vm)
skype: erikahansonbrown

“At the Corner of the Old Blinking Light”

December 3, 2010

Bread – and more of living in the country as a strategy

November 27, 2010
I’ve made delicious home-made bread for most of 40 years.  People love eating it; I love making it. 


Having developed “my” recipe, I’ve never really wanted to learn another way.  Again, people love it – I love doin’ it!  (It makes me feel good.)


But I’ve always wanted to know how the “country folks” create that country-style crust on their breads.  Would this mean that I’d have to invest in a new oven, new equipment, more hours, etc?




Kathy Riggs, the owner of the New Mexico adobe home that I’m currently housesitting, showed me the way.


Giving credit to its creator, Jim Lahey, there’s another secret to great bread-making: his MINIMALIST Secret.  Believe it or not, there is no kneading, no talent required, and the result is spectacular.  The recipe calls for just a tad of yeast, no sugar at all, a little salt, uses water of any temperature (even cold) and the big one: time.


I can prepare the mix in the evening, let it sit, and serve it hot and crusty out of the oven the next noon.  This bread rivals the best country breads of France that I’ve sampled (so, so good with parmesean and a country red wine!).  


So, here I am – still in the northern New Mexico rural country – still surviving, still thriving!!  Have (new recipe for) bread – will travel!!!


PS.  Let us know how you like this magnificent, tasty bread, will you????





erika hanson brown

thumbs up! (Have a GREAT day!)

November 26, 2010

( ((
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(____))( \—-
(____)) _

erika hanson brown

Mayor Pro-Tem

denver, co, usa


303.648.5410 FAX

303.351.4103 (add’l vm)



Become a "townie" at ColonTown!  Go to, search for ColonTown and JOIN our list. We’re pretty nutty!

 (You may have to create a yahoo account, if you don’t already have one.)






housesitting as a strategy for today

November 24, 2010

How does a person hang on during really tough financial times?  Do some housesitting/caretaking for those folks who are traveling!

People ask me how I got started.  Following is my start:

I am a cheerful, independent and responsible, single person that would be a perfect candidate to
mind your house, pets and gardens in your absence.
A non-smoker and non-drinker, my lifestyle is
active (I swim daily), and my pursuits are
professional. An active condominium owner, I have
leased my property so that I can save money for my
eventual retirement needs. I have lived in Denver
for almost two decades, having lived in resort communities as a home owner for
ten years prior.
As a former American au pair, I also
understand the mores and culture of other countries.
I’m now an empty-nester with
great energy. I would be delighted hear from you
and, of course, I have great references.

Based upon this ad, I’ve managed to settle on (and settle into!) three housesitting “deals” so far.

What do YOU think about my idea for cutting down on life’s expenses while –at the same time – exploring other lifestyles?




Chicken Coops, Bean, and Convection Ovens

November 16, 2010

November 15, 2010

On Chicken Coops, Beans, & Convection Ovens

Well, the title – if nothing else – ought to get your attention!  The title of this piece represents just some of my newer discoveries on my first day in the little valley called Ojo Sarco, NM.

What began as a stunningly beautiful, clear and sunny day turned this afternoon into a snow squall….a squall that I could see coming even before it happened.  (I love this!)

I’m on a housesit assignment in the mountains, therefore cell coverage is problematic. (You lied, T-Mobile.) If I drive to the top of one of the hills, I can get cell connection (and thus, hear my voice mail).  So, now I’ve a valid reason to leave the warm fire in the adobe home and drive a little bit – to connect with The Real World!

Beans?  They serve lots and lots of beans here in New Mexico.  They are wonderful, of course, and one is tempted to eat them 24-7, however………..

Yes, I’m feeding chickens. I’m feeding (and talking with) chickens at least twice a day.  I just ran out this evening to their coop and couldn’t find them.  Why?  They were safely nested in their “apartment” – a converted trailer, complete with mirrors, a sink and all the normal accoutrements that normally go with a little pull-behind for camping.  This one, though, is filled with straw.  Usually, the chickens have left a little gift for me to find: one egg. 

I ate that one tonight (right out of the nest!) with my second helping of beans tonight!  (Oh, oh!.)

And then I discovered the big can of ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookies in the fridge.  That and the wonders of a convection oven are going to deliver to me – in just a few minutes – fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to chow down on while drinking my milk and enjoying the fire!

Perhaps you wish you were visiting my little adobe and sharing in all the fun stuff?!!!   (I’ll take some photos and include them in a future posting.)

“Chipping” away,


erika hanson brown

Mayor of ColonTown, USA

denver, co, usa


303.648.5410 FAX

303.351.4103 (add’l vm)



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Where In The World is Erika?

November 15, 2010

Where in the world is Erika?

I’m on the "High Road to Taos" in the charming village of Ojo Sarco, NM, pleasantly "surviving" by living rent-free in exchange for home-tending.

Yesterday I drove from Denver down to Taos….and then took ‘the high road to Taos’’. It was a lovely day, a lovely drive.

Arriving about 2ish, I found my way to my destination: the Ojo Sarco Pottery, owned by the wonderful couple who had invited me to live in their adobe dwelling while they go off "to the beach" for a couple of weeks. There are two wonderful, beloved dogs, one green-eyed cat, several chickens, lots of wild birds, a hot tub, and a fireplace (stove) for me to tend. If I want to cave to my domestic leanings, I can bake bread – something I love doing. I’m just off the road to Chimayo (church with the "magic" dirt) and lovely little villages with names such as : Las Tampas, Truches, and Penasco.

Why am I doing this? Being determined to survive – with body and soul intact – this long-lasting recession of ours, I leased my own property for a year and set out for a year of doing housesitting. I was attracted to this particular out-of-town gig because it just seemed like a great idea to be able to find soul refreshment like this.

I lived like this many years back (my early days in Aspen), so I’m not unfamiliar with the life-style.

All of us have our own coping mechanisms. Housesitting for nice people is just one of mine.

What are yours?

erika hanson brown

Mayor of ColonTown, USA

denver, co, usa


303.648.5410 FAX

303.351.4103 (add’l vm)



Become a "townie" at ColonTown!  Go to, search for ColonTown and JOIN our list. We’re pretty nutty!

 (You may have to create a yahoo account, if you don’t already have one.)