And a few more projects

It occurred to me to keep a running list on a sidebar of current projects but the very thought of that also kind of makes my head hurt. Because my favorite part of projects is starting a new one. We will see, maybe it would be a wake-up call for me and help me focus. HA HA HA HA! I think we all know better than that.

My niece prompted me to put up pictures of the horse pillowcases I made for her younger sister. I actually made four pillowcases, two for T. for her birthday, and then I thought as long as I was making two, might as well make four, so I made two for the Folsom Bazaar (October) as well. I used the method here at The Twiddletails Blog, it was the first time for me to use French seams, so I learned something as well. These were fun! If any more nieces and nephews want fun pillowcases, I am ready to go!


I am ALWAYS working on at least one pair of these potholders (method at Mielke’s Fiber Arts, LLC). Grandma Clarice used to make these, and they are great, thick potholders. I have used cotton yarn, acrylic, double thickness of acrylic, they all work, just create different textures and thicknesses. These are both cotton. I vary the size of the initial chain depending on the thickness of the yarn. I think I can say that almost everyone who has received a pair of these thinks they are great. They are very durable. Unless you melt them on a burner (don’t ask).


These are some I made for a Miss South Dakota fundraiser, in the school colors of South Dakota State University and University of Nebraska (OR University of South Dakota.)


Here is the second afghan in the works for baby niece L. This pattern is a free pattern from Bizzy Crochet: Faeries Sampler. It is beautiful, but lots of errata, and you should read her blog entry and the comments on it too to pick up some further errata. I still have several rows to go.


I swore I wasn’t going to do Camp Loopy again but my resistance is weak. I have noticed that I like to purchase knitting books, but I don’t actually knit patterns from them very often. So I have made myself a mental promise not to buy another book until I knit a pattern out of one of my existing books. So I am going to use Camp Loopy for that purpose. I am going to use this to knit the Lifted Stitch Scarf by Carol Scott from the Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book, using this yarn, Desert Vista Dyeworks – Viso Self-Striping in the colorway Spumoni (right). Of course, this is going to have the result of making me want to eat Spumoni. I spend a lot of time in a car in June, going to various meetings, (not driving!), so I think this will be a good car project. I hope. And I will be on the Eastern Plains of Colorado, where Spumoni sources are few and far between, so perhaps that will be safe.


With the yarn on the left, Lorna’s Laces – Shepherd Worsted, colorway River, I am going to make the Twisted Spiral Neckscarf by Judy Warde, from the book One-Skein Wonders, Yarn Shop Favorites.  (Purchased both of these from Loopy Ewe, which is about 2 miles from my workplace, which is a dangerous thing.) So that will be another pattern from a book! That means I can buy two new books, correct? But wait, there’s more. I also bought this teal Kid Seta Noir (at Knit Knack), to make the Lace Spiral Scarf by Gail Owens, from Designer One-Skein Wonders.

teal Kid Seta Noir

This is NOT going to be a good car project, as there are yarn-overs, and then knitting into the yarn-overs with this tiny, tiny yarn, and somewhat larger needles to make it lacy, so I am anticipating this will be a challenge.

So I have three projects from three different books! That should mean I get to buy three more books, yes? Well, maybe I should stipulate that I should knit three patterns from books to buy a new book. Or two? Or five? It is hard when you are grown-up and have to make up your own rules. I have problems with how many popsicles I am allowed to have each day as well.

And here is a picture of a little cat, who looks so innocent, but went on, later in the night, to knock over the very nice flower arrangement that Ken got me, spilling water all over the table, narrowly missing the netbook computer. Grrrrrrrrrrr.


After a long hiatus….

Ok! I am back! Sorry it has been so long, life has been crazy. But I must remember that it is good therapy to write on the blog! What have I been up to, you may ask. Well, since the Las Vegas trip, I have been in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Orlando for work as well as some in-state trips, and in South Dakota to be a God-parent to my newest nephew! There were some great restaurants on some of those trips, and I will share those with you over the next few days.

I have also been busy sewing/crocheting/knitting/crafting when I can. With two new nephews and one new niece in the last 5 months, I have been busy. I am glad to say that they each have a crocheted afghan, although I am working on another one for baby L., the youngest, in colors more suitable to her nursery. Then I will get started on the pieced quilts for each of them.

I have no pictures of Nephew O’s blanket from December. Asking his mother to send me some. Sometimes when I get in a tizzy to mail things, I forget to document properly. He also got some “Magic Slippers” baby booties, but again, no picture.

Nephew B received the “November” baby afghan from from the Leisure Arts booklet “A Year of Baby Afghans.” I did this one as a Camp Loopy project last summer, so you may recognize it. I love this afghan, it goes together very quickly, no seaming, and looks lovely.

Leisure arts november baby afghan

He ALSO got Magic Slippers booties, with a slight modification and addition of the ribbing/sock top which apparently makes them stay on better. “Camo” colored yarn, which was a fortuitous donation from my friend Judy, when I was looking for sock yarn for this very purpose.


Baby L., born March 1, received the Heirloom Baby Blanket (Coats and Clark, free pattern) – this is the one that nearly drove me crazy. All kinds of errata, but none of it on the original pattern page. You have to dig around Ravelry to find it. Beautiful afghan, though. And she gets a one-of-a-kind because I am never doing THAT again. Plus, that one really isn’t in her nursery colors, so I am working on another one for her. That is the bonus she gets for being the only girl in the latest batch of babies!

Coats and clark baby heirloom afghan

She also got some booties (notice Auntie G. running out of yarn and winging it):


And…other than wrapping up baby afghans and mailing them off, what else have I been doing? I FINALLY finished the #359 Nancy One Skein Shrugigan by Lisa Limber, which I believe I started in June 2010. This was a good airplane knit, but then I ran out of yarn, and had to search for yarn in the same dye lot (after tearing my studio apart, of course, being certain I had purchased enough) (apparently I hadn’t). I made it a bit longer than the pattern suggested, and with a different yarn, so that was probably the problem. I LOVE how it turned out, I have worn it several times already, and get compliments on it.


And knitting and crocheting isn’t all there is to life, right?

So JoAnn Fabric had a small flannel sale. These are all destined to be made into Auntie G.’s famous receiving blankets. Some of this has already been made into receiving blankets. I was VERY excited to find the camouflage flannel, and then proceeded to buy a bolt of it at the next store (that was all that I could find within a reasonable radius….)  And I was just looking for fish flannel this morning, and I see I have some right there. BONUS!JoAnn Fabric Flannel

I decided to do some further color work, and make some mug rugs, foundation strip-piecing. I like how the red/orange one turned out (not quilted yet, though.) I call this one Mango Salsa.


I am also making a brown/white/green one which is supposed to be called “Chocolate Mint,” and already I don’t like it as much as this one. Still in progress, no picture yet.

Andddddd…. last but not least, I always have a pair of crochet potholders going. I was working on one when we went to see the Lady Jackrabbits play in the Division I Tournament in Boulder. The chicken purse approves.

Chicken purse

Let me tell you, you could smuggle things into places in the chicken purse, because the chicken purse flummoxes the security guys. They were pretty much stunned.

Las Vegas – Miss America 2013 – Day 3

As I write this Friday morning, it already seems so loonnng ago – Vegas does that to you.

Retired pretty early (well, comparatively, midnight, I suppose) because Thursday’s morning rehearsal started at 8:00 rather than 9 or 9:30, and Miss SD was first out of the starting gate in talent. So I was up before my alarm at 6:30 and went to the Miracle Mile Shops adjacent to Planet Hollywood, this time I went for the 3.99 breakfast special at La Salsa Cantina – 2 eggs, potatoes, bacon, and tortillas. This was also good! And the required Diet Coke (and water, trying to stay hydrated, Vegas is worse than Denver for being dry.)


I got to talent rehearsal in plenty of time before it started. Miss SD did change her talent from Miss SD – from using “Defying Gravity” from Wicked as her song to “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. And, this type of stage does not allow her to do as much of what I would call “flying” tricks – but it is still a marvelously entertaining talent, especially if you can see her face, which the judges can but 90% of the audience really can’t. I can’t wait to see her do this one on the Miss SD stage, although I am hoping she does both of them.

This group had, I kid you not, out of 17 contestants, FIVE who were doing a lyrical or jazz dance and were wearing white. Wow. As my top talents, I had picked SD of course, VT who sang Habernero very nicely, and WY with an original piano composition. I really liked ND playing the piano and singing, but also knew that it was kind of non-typical Miss America talent, so was delighted when she won! Way to represent the Dakotas!

I think this was the strongest group over all (Alpha) in swimsuit – the first round of rehearsal I circled five as ones to watch: WA, CO, OK, FL and TN. And then the second time through I couldn’t really narrow it down, but I thought probably FL or TN. And was delighted that one of my first picks, WA, was the winner.

My favorite evening gowns were CA in a seafoam green velvet strapless with a beaded/jeweled band at the waist, and OK in a grey/silver satin.

It was starting to cool off outside, and I could sense that, so what I really wanted for lunch was a big bowl of soup, so I went to P.F. Chang, I love their chicken noodle soup, and it is reasonably priced. Plus you can spice it up with the various condiments they give you like red pepper sauce and hot mustard.


And then I went up to the room to write the blog – these blogs on travel really take a long time, trying get in all the fun details, but I know I will enjoy reading it later and remembering, and I do enjoy sharing it with my friends who are not able to be here for the pageant!

Tried to nap, again, mostly unsuccessfully. So I enjoyed the soaking tub and read my book. Decided to just be simple and have a Pink’s hot dog for dinner. I go down there, and place my order, for a Planet Hollywood Dog: polish sausage, grilled onions, grilled mushroom, bacon (3 strips) & nacho cheese, and french fries. The lady takes my money, and says, #13 at the end of the counter. OK, I go down there. The lady at that end announces #13 right away, and I think, hmm, that was quick, but OK. I get back up to my room and I have a Polish Pastrami Swiss Cheese Dog: polish sausage, pastrami, swiss cheese & mustard and cheesy fries. Well, I wasn’t very happy, but I bet the person who got mushrooms and onions was even more annoyed. Maybe they noticed the confusion before they left the shop. I would have eaten it there, but they only had outdoor seating, and it was getting colder, so I wasn’t about to go back all the way down there. So no picture of that, because I was annoyed.

Worked more on the blog, editing pictures, and etc. I was having a craving for creme brulee – the ever-constant dessert on most Vegas buffets, but I have only been to one buffet this week, and it didn’t have creme brulee. Well, I thought, there is a little coffee place in the Miracle Mile shops, and I had seen that they had “Homemade” creme brulee. Hey, I am in Vegas, let’s go get a creme brulee. The first warning sign was when the lady didn’t know what I was talking about, I had to go show her in the case. I am pretty sure she was just going to hand it to me, “as is” – just the custard, but the other lady working grabbed it and took it to the back, to do the sugar caramelizing on the top. Then she overcharged me for it, as well as for the hot chocolate (which was really quite good) – I pointed that out and that required 2 different people to fix. The creme brulee came out, and it looked pretty good, but oy, not a good creme brulee. Lots of un-caramelized sugar on top, and the custard was not a good texture, or taste. So I was batting .5 on food for the day.

Disappointing creme brule:


Time to go to the room and get ready for the evening. I was wearing my new red dress from Torrid. Called Ken and explained to him where to find my flats, which I want for Saturday night since my feet are killing me.


I was meeting my friend Erin and her BF for drinks again before the pageant – the “PBR Rock Bar” has some $5 drink specials, so we thought we would try that, rather than the $12 or more drinks which are quite common here. Erin had texted me that she forgot the tickets and had to go back for them, so they would be a little late. Well, when they arrived, she was all aflutter – when she came out of the room with the tickets, TJ was on his knee in the hallway with an engagement ring!

Since she had apparently had an inkling that this was going to happen in Vegas, he decided to go with a surprise location instead of going to a fancy dinner or the top of the Eiffel Tower – and I have to say it worked perfectly – she was quite shocked! So that was very fun to be one of the first to share that news!

Enjoyed the show again – Miss SD had hurt her foot trying a more difficult move on the stage floor during her talent run-through in the morning, so substituted back to the previous move, which was also pretty spectacular. And you couldn’t tell that she had hurt herself at all. I also remembered the binoculars this time, which was helpful, it was so much fun to see her facial expressions during talent. I was sitting by a former Miss SD this time, who is one of the pageant fashionistas, so that was a fun commentary.

After the pageant, up to the ballroom for the visitation – again, the SD group is getting bigger each night! We took up a huge section of the wall for our group picture. What a hoot. And four former Miss SDs, plus our current Miss SD, so that is really pretty cool.
This is how Vegas/pageant messes with your circadian rhythms. You get all wound up seeing the pageant, and then your contestant at visitation, and then you need to do something to wind down, so you end up going out and staying up even later. So I went over to the Rock Bar again for another $5 frozen drink, and then hooked up with Erin and TJ and other pageant friends at another lounge in the hotel. This is Vegas – apparently you can carry your alcohol from one place to another quite freely.

We hung out for a while, and people watched, which is VASTLY entertaining in Vegas. I decided to make it not TOO late of a night and headed up for bed a little before 1:00, stopping at Earl of Sandwich (why didn’t we know this place was open 24 hours the FIRST night – strategy note, find out the places that are open late around the venue) to get a sandwich. I knew I had been up too late when I couldn’t find the buzzer they gave me but then discovered I had tucked it in my armpit. TIME FOR BED. But I enjoyed my sandwich first, they do good sandwiches, and then sacked out.

Las Vegas – Miss American 2013 – Day 2

After being out so late, I managed to sleep until 7:30 a.m., when I could see the sunlight coming in through the windows. Got up and showered and looked for somewhere cheap for breakfast – if there is one thing you should be able to do cheaply in Vegas, it is eat breakfast.

So I went to Ocean Prime, which promotes a $5.99 breakfast, there is also a $3.99 breakfast but I figured I would save that one until later in the week. I had the poached eggs instead of fried (healthier, huh?) with potatoes, truly excellent bacon, rye toast, and a much-needed Diet Coke.


Miss SD’s mom saw on Facebook that I was eating breakfast and used that as motivation to get up and get going, so she came down and had coffee with me and we caught up on the events of the evening and what was going on today.

I also got the pictures I took last night uploaded to Facebook.
Then I popped in to watch talent rehearsal – they take the first half of that night’s group, and they run through each talent, after doing some initial setting with lights, mics, sound, etc. And then they have a little break and then run through them again. One very different talent in this group is an artistic roller skater, she was kind of marking through her routine the time that I saw it, so I was  excited to see it in full performance mode.

After talent rehearsal, I zipped back up to my room (how did it get to be 11:30 already?) and worked on my blog post about yesterday, edited photos, etc. At 12:30 I decided I better grab lunch quick, so i went to “Lobster Me” in the Miracle Mile Shops and had a lobstersicle. I am not sure if $14 is a good deal for a fried lobster tail on a stick, but it was good.


Burned my lip again – burned it last night on the cioppino too. I do appreciate my food hot but apparently I need to let it cool down a bit. I thought about having a frozen margarita or pina colada from Fat Tuesday to cool it off but decided that 12:30 was a little early for that.

I was thinking I might be able to get in a buffet for dinner, so a lighter lunch was reasonable. Then I checked out the rest of the mall, mainly looking for a place that stays open late tonight so we could go have a drink after the pageant and visitation. The “PBR Bar” claims that they are open until 2:00 a.m., or “whenever people quit drinking.”

I still had a little time before rehearsal started, so I popped back up to the room (thinking it was a very good idea to stay at this hotel instead of shopping for a cheaper one) and paid my $14 for 24 hours of wireless, and got a draft of my blog for yesterday posted, didn’t quite have time to get everything together, but with about 10 more minutes of work it would be ready to go.

Back down to the theater for evening gown/swimsuit rehearsal. Miss SD looks stunning in her black gown.She really had 4 different evening gowns that would have worked, but the black one was my favorite.

Some notable gowns in this group – IL had a RED dress with a very large area of ruffling at the bottom that extended into a train. Very beautiful but you would have to be careful if you were the contestant walking behind her. Lots of black and white in this group, including KY in a very simple, sleek-lined black and white dress – white bodice, black skirt, neck band and cuffs. NE and ND both chose green dresses, a nice note of color. MT wore a powder blue one-sleeved gown. WV was also in red.

I forgot my cell phone in the room when I came down for rehearsal, and there was no wireless in the theatre, so that was slowing me down a little bit. Waiting for the contestants to change from evening gown to swim suit, I was thinking Nap? Buffet? Nap? Buffet? Hmmmmmmmmm.

There was enough time to TRY to nap and then go eat, so I tried, but was not successful. It was good to lay down at least and I did some reading. Decided to go to the Aria buffet for dinner – this was roughly “across the street” but nothing is ever that simple in Las Vegas. Fortunately some kind soul had put directions on the internet on how to get across the street, through the Crystals mall, and then WAY through the Aria resort. It is very beautiful, but man, the buffet is way in the back. At least I walked off some calories.

IMG_3968 IMG_3967

I checked out the lay of the land at the buffet first and took lots of pictures – I started with the seafood, liked the big peel and eat shrimp the best, and then the regular crab legs rather than the king crab legs. The mussels were just fine – I like my mussels in sauce or broth, I should have grabbed some of the cioppino broth but I just thought of that now.


Then they had an interesting assortment of shooters, etc. – like scallops in lychee, shrimp ceviche, Ensenada seafood shooter, oyster shooter in tomato sauce – they were all quite good. The shrimp ceviche just bordered on almost spicy enough for me to really like.

IMG_3980 IMG_3975
Then I had some sushi rolls, which were not labeled, and were not particularly special or identifiable. Should have skipped those and went for cioppino.

IMG_3983 IMG_3981
Then I had some from the Asian section, a little steamer with three kinds of dumplings. They were ok, could have used some dumpling dipping sauce. The clams were good, only about half of them had actual clams in them, but the ones that did were good.

Unfortunately at this point, I was already getting full, so I decided to fit in a few desserts before I got too full. I had the butterscotch shooter, the panna cotta (possibly sugar free) and the little tiramisu cup. I think the panna cotta may have even been sugar free, but it was the best of the three.

IMG_3997 IMG_3994 IMG_3993 IMG_3988
Then I had some fresh mozz and a little mozz/heirloom tomato salad from the mozzarella bar, the mozz unfortunately had a little bit of crust from being sitting out, but it was tasty.

Then I had a peanut butter chocolate cake pop, which was pretty amazing, the little mini whoopie pies didn’t have a lot of taste. At this point I was pretty full and I knew I should quit before I felt ill.

Then it was the loooong walk back to the hotel. Took advantage of the deep tub again and read my book and tried to relax.

Got dressed, wore my new black pants, sequined black shirt and black and white striped top that the girls at Torrid talked me into. I got compliments, so it must have been OK.


Met my Miss SDOT co-producer and her BF at Cabo Wabo to have a Toasted Colada, which was good, but I don’t know if it was $12 good.


And on with the show – I thought Miss SD looked amazing and had to be in the top 3 in swimsuit, but I am slightly biased. I was not surprised that Miss IL won swimsuit. I didn’t have Miss MD as one of my talents that I thought would win, but I liked her voice and thought she did a good job. I also really liked NY’s tap dance, ID’s piano, and GA’s ballet. Dena the MC was hysterical once again. By the end of the evening she had herself, Lee Meriweather, and the current Miss America all wearing $12 ‘pleather’ pants, and had given a pair to judge McKayla Maroney, who had insisted that she couldn’t do flips on the stage because she was wearing a dress. Also, quite probably the first time the phrase “tape worm” was used on the Miss America Stage.

After the visitation, which was even more hot and crowded than the night before, I just hit the hay – too tired to do anything else, but also apparently too tired to sleep…

I’m Back – Now, Live from Las Vegas

I am currently in Las Vegas, supporting Miss SD at the Miss America pageant. And eating. And blogging.

Well, Las Vegas is kicking my butt so far – my one word description of how I feel this morning is “puffy.” Got in last night a little after 1, and was probably asleep by 1:30 but then I was awake at 7:30, so I am hoping a nap is in store this afternoon.

I am pretty happy that the only thing I seem to have forgotten so far is the pair of tights that I generally wear with the skirt and top I wore together on Tuesday night.
I slept poorly Monday night into Tuesday, I had pageant on my mind and when I did sleep I had weird pageant dreams. So I was ready to get up and get on the road. I still had some packing to do, and rounded up a few additional things. I got done in time that I decided I had time to go to Jack and Grill for breakfast. I read my paper and had Huevos Rancheros – hash browns were not crispy enough, eggs and chile were good, but then I turned out to not be that hungry, but I did enjoy the home made tortillla and eggs. This would come back to haunt me when I was hungry on the plane.

Got to the airport and parked at Wally Park and got on the shuttle just fine. I had much more luggage than I usually have traveling for business – way more jewelry, support garments, and then at least two outfits a day. So I had one suitcase at 48 pounds and then a duffel bag full of shoes and etc, which was also heavy, so it was a relief to check those in. I thought I was still full from breakfast so I just grabbed a bottle of water for the plane.
From my observations at the airport: Travel would be much more enjoyable if all of my fellow travelers would 1) shower 2) not wear excessive smelly cologne or perfume and 3) appropriate underwear, please. That is all I am going to say about that.
The flight was fine, uneventful, and I had an empty seat next to me, which is practically unheard of in these days of full or overbooked flights. And then I started to get hungry, so I had to buy some Chex Mix. I don’t really get my money’s worth out of Chex Mix because I only like the Chex and the bagel chips, but oh well. And then it all got loose in my carryon bag, I have not even dealt with THAT yet.

welcome to las vegas airport
Landed in Vegas  – I had not rented a car in Vegas before, I was not aware you had to ride a bus for 15 minutes to get to the “on-airport” car rental facility. Got my car from EZ-car rental, I don’t know how much I will use the car this week but for $128, that covers a couple of taxi rides, and I have to pick up Ken at the airport on Friday, so hopefully it is worth it. The rental car place is just minutes from the hotel- the confusing part was finding the valet parking, which was kind of off on a side street.
I had read online that the hotels were now not letting you check in until 4:00 unless you pay like $20 extra – so I ditched my luggage with the bell captain, and headed in to see what rehearsal was going on at the theatre.  The contestants were about to run through the opening number, so I got to see our Miss SD! She looked great. Found our pageant producer and watched the rehearsal with him and he gave me a rundown on the talent rehearsal he had seen that morning.
When it was 4:00, I checked in – I had also read online that it can be to your benefit to tip the front desk person who checks you in, because they are so rarely tipped, sometimes it can get you a good room upgrade. I think this was extremely correct in this instance – I think if the hotel wasn’t so booked up I would have had a mini suite, but since the pageant is here the hotel is pretty full. But for $20 and the simple fact of being nice and pleasant to the young man who checked me in, I got a room that is bigger, has a south strip view, and would normally cost $50 more a night. So that was well worth it. My luggage was up there shortly after I requested it, and I changed into LESS LAYERS and questioned my wisdom of bringing more sweaters than I originally packed.

Nice South Strip View: planet hollywood south strip view

The room was great – especially the bathroom, which is about the size of our bedroom at home. It has both a lovely glass walk-in shower AND a huge soaking tub. Now, we could probably fit a tub like that in our house, because it is deep rather than long, but it would be very bad for our water bill. Two full counter with sinks, lots of space.

planet hollywood room planet hollywood room 3 planet hollywood room (2) planet hollywood bathroom planet hollywood bathroom 3 planet hollywood bathroom 2
Now by this point I was starving. Looked quickly on my phone for restaurants in the Miracle Mile mall adjacent to the, and decided that cioppino sounded good. It WAS good – kind of expensive at $31 but I don’t get to eat cioppino very often, so I seized the day. Made sure to concentrate on the good stuff first (the good stuff in my opinon) – mussels, clams, calamari and shrimp, and broth! Ordered it with bread instead of pasta, because the bread comes on top, the pasta sits there and soaks up all the good broth, and then you don’t get the broth. So that was actually a pretty quick meal and I had time to run up to the room and take a quick bath to rejuvenate a bit before pageant.

cioppino oyster bay las vegas
Put on my outfit, discovered the lack of tights, oh well, have to wear my boot with no socks, will let them air out THOROUGHLY before the next wearing.

20130108_185704 20130108_185642

Several of us from the pageant met up down around the bar in front of the Planet Hollywood theater. It is always great to see everyone again. Found out as we were headed in that we weren’t allowed to use cameras in the theater (THAT is new, I believe) so I zipped up to my room to drop mine off. Sorry, Miss SD fans, only pics from the visitation afterward, hopefully the Miss A organization will post some from last night’s competition soon.
As the pageant has evolved over the years, the format has gotten shorter. They used to have production numbers and the whole shebang, and televise for 3 full hours. Well, tastes have changed, and American Idol happened, and so the talent portion has been cut to 90 seconds for each girl – when I competed, it was 2 minutes and 45 seconds. So that is quite a change. It is somewhat to the advantage of dancers, who can “leave it all on the table” in 90 seconds, and be really energetic, and to the disadvantage of vocalists and instrumentalists, who don’t have as much time to develop/grow a piece and show variation.
Miss New Jersey, Dena Blizzard (One Funny Mother) MC’d the preliminary competition, and she is outstanding. Very fine comedienne, good improv. She noted that there were some available seats in the front and she would be monitoring twitter, with her twitter handle “onefunnymother” and letting people whose tweets she liked move up to the front. Well, a good way to NOT get moved to the front is to tell her that she needs a spray tan and you could set  her up. A good way TO get moved to the front is to tweet that you think she is a HOT cougar but you need to move closer to see.
Half of the talent competition was the first event of the evening, then swimsuit, then  on-stage question, then the other half of talent, and then evening gown. In the first half of talent, I particularly enjoyed Miss Indiana’s baton routine, and Oklahoma’s tap dance. She had some really incredible spins.
Then swimsuit – I had South Carolina and TX circled as my two two swimsuits, but all of these girls looked fabulous.
Talents I particularly enjoyed in the 2nd half – Arizona with lyrical dance to Man in the Mirror, Florida’s ballet, Utah’s Chopin piano piece, and Alabama’s aria from La Traviata.
Evening gown – lots of white gowns tonight. Some bold moves – I liked Oregon’s dress that was like a mini skirt with a chiffon overlay with a slit – hard to describe but striking. NY had  lovely, almost Grecian and very simple gown with a one-shoulder short off-the-shoulder sleeve that was stunning.
The preliminary winners announced at the end of the night (they only announce swim suit and talent) were Miss South Carolina in swimsuit and Miss Oklahoma in Talent.
Then we adjourned upstairs to the visitation, where you gather your state in a group and get to visit with your girl about a half an hour before the contestants are called back to rest for the night. It was great seeing Calista and she is having a great time. She has found a group of contestants she really enjoys spending time with, and they eat their meals together and have crazy conversations. We had 17 people there last night for the picture, with a few more folks who went home right after the show because they had been up traveling all day, so we had a great crowd!


Meredith, Miss SD Outstanding teen, and Calista. Look at those arms on that girl, she is in SHAPE.

After the visitation, we all decided we wanted drinks and something to eat – well, this is Vegas, we should be able to find that, right? Well, I wanted to go to Cabo Wabo and have a toasted coconut pina colada, and they were closed – this is kind of their off season, since they have an outdoor patio, so they shut down about 11:00. We wandered around, sent out explorers, and texted and called each other, and finally ended up at Planet Dailies in the hotel, where we could have  a beer or some wine, and sandwiches or salads – my turkey club was not my idea of “exciting dining in Vegas” but it sure hit the spot at that point. Tonight I will try to do some research and see where we could go – but since it is only Wednesday, again, places may not be open that late. I will do some investigating and see. Some places in the casino are a little smoky, so I am trying to avoid that – it is something that you are just not accustomed to, with smoking indoors being banned in so many places now.
Notable fashion trends – since Miss USA won Miss Universe with a big bun on the top of her head, I am seeing a lot of that type of hairstyle. Also sighted last night, a skirt screen printed with Elvis. The King is not dead. He is on your torso. I do not recommend.
Oh, something else that I wish I would have remembered – a bigger bag that would fit my netbook better – I could buy a bag here but I have so many…actually it does fit in my purse pretty well, surprising. But I am dragging the netbook around to rehearsals, etc. It works very well – except for the lack of free wireless in the hotel. Trying to time things the best so that I get the most out of paying $14 for 24 hours of wireless in my room – so I am trying to get my blog post all set and the pictures all edited before I upload.
Thinking of my DH Ken and wishing he was here with me, he has grown into quite a pageant aficionado over the years and has judged several pageants, so he always has an opinion on things.

Thanksgiving Vacation to SD

What did I do on my Thanksgiving vacation?
I spent more time than planned in Wheatland, WY.
I made cream cheese mints.
I watched a football game.
We headed for South Dakota on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Ken had some video he needed to edit, so I drove.

I have a new car mascot. He was very happy to go along for the ride. He does not have a name yet, suggestions welcome.

20121121_100050We originally were going to stop in Hot Springs and use our friends’ wireless to upload, but Ken was done with the editing pretty early. So we stopped at the Platte County visitor’s center in Wheatland and used their free wireless, which we had located by driving around town a bit. Unfortunately it was not really enough bandwidth for what we needed. The first, short video uploaded just fine in about 20 minutes, but the next one was going to take about 3 hours. I hadn’t really budgeted THAT in my travel time. Ken walked over to Arby’s and got us lunch, and there was still like an hour to go. So I had the great brainstorm of going to the Wheatland library and using their computers. So we tried that. Unfortunately, their computers were EVEN SLOWER, even though they were hardwired. So we gave up and headed to SD, deciding that he could upload the video at my Aunt’s house when we were there for Thanksgiving lunch.
After Ken switched over to driving, I discovered that I DID NOT have the additional yarn I thought I packed for the baby blanket for the 1st new nephew who will be arriving on December 11. I am sure you could hear my anguished shriek all over Wyoming. But I did, fortunately, have yarn for other projects along, and so I worked on those.  The afghan is this one, in a different color, with a different border.

This is the pattern I then worked on, using up some sock yarn to make baby booties. They still look a little big for newborns, so I either need to try with smaller needles or reduce my stitches.

We got to the ranch abou 7:30, after we stopped to pick up pizza at Lintz Brothers Pizza in Hermosa.  I really wanted the Texas Tornado (hot sauce, red sauce, chicken, onion, green peppers, pineapple and cashews), but I couldn’t remember what it was called, so between what I remembered and what my Mom wrote down when we were on the phone, I had a pizza with barbecue sauce, chicken, and jalapenos. Which was still good. Ken had his usual pepperoni, and Mom and Dad and my uncle shared a Hawiian.
I think that was the only night I got any knitting done. The rest of the time was too filled up with everything else.

The weather was fine on the drive, other than the usual wind in Wyoming.

More on the rest on Monday, hopefully back to a regular blogging schedule.

Quilting, Knitting, Crabs and Owls

Look at this marvelous octopus my friend K. crocheted for me! I love him! I put him on the TV stand, right in front of the cable box, so he had to get moved a little bit. I think he makes a lovely centerpiece.

When I saw my friend E. had a pink solar crab, I immediately had to have one. I am pretty sure this is the website I ordered from. It had to come all the way from China. I did order three, so I gave two away to my nieces as birthday gifts. Everyone needs a happy, solar waving crab. His arms wave and his eye stalks go up and down.

So when I saw the happy head-turning owl, I had to have him too. I found him at Zandbroz in Sioux Falls.

His head turns when it is light. But only sporadically in the room light. I am trying to decide which of these to affix to my dashboard. Both seems like it might be a little too much.

Besides my other projects, I am allowing myself to be randomly distracted by making pink and white quilt blocks. For what? I have no idea. But now I have purchased more pink fabric. Kind of defeats the purpose of being scrappy.

This is the new fabric, from The Quilt Store. Luscious, isn’t it?

The top for my one niece’s pieced baby quilt is done! Look at that fancy border! Look at all of those little pieces! Looks nifty, but NEVER AGAIN! She is getting a one-of-a-kind.

I made this quilt entirely from a pattern in a book, which is kind of unusual for me. Usually I wing it in one way or another, adding or subtracting.

This is my mom’s sock – all repaired. After I re-knit the heel incorrectly about 3 times. Apparently I need to knit more socks so I know what I am doing. It had a giant hole in the heel, so I ripped out the whole heel and leg (just a shorty, so no big deal) and re-knit. It would have been done in a jiffy if I hadn’t tried to knit a top-down heel on it instead of a toe-up heel. No wonder it wouldn’t work. Then I knit a couple of different toe-up heels, trying to figure out the correct one. OF COURSE it wasn’t one from the book that the pattern was from. That would be WAAAAAY to obvious.

You can’t even really tell in the picture where the old yarn starts and the new begins. You can tell in person, but it will be less noticeable after a few washes.

I am going to make some more denim potholders, for my Mom this time. She likes owls and mushrooms. It is quite a quest right now to find realistic looking owls and mushrooms, there are a lot of cutesy, cartoony ones, which is not what I wanted. I think this will work.

And that is a brief summary of SOME of the projects I am working on right now. Some of them are presents, so they are SECRET. Tune in later to see them. Maybe after Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving, I will be back on Tuesday if not sooner!

More Restaurant Round-up

It is a good thing I take food pictures on my phone so often, because then I have something to write about when I have no ideas. Of course, my niece would rather see me write about something exciting, like, um….I don’t know. Cats? Our exciting and adventurous life? Sorry, being an adult is actually long periods of the mundane, sometimes punctuated by the exciting. Quite often the exciting is something you DON’T want to happen.

Last week was a good week, socially and in a friend-seeing manner. Went out with my friend E. for ramen on Weds night, that was good. She says it is not the best ramen she has had locally, but it was far more interesting that most of the ramen I have had, so that was good. This was at Hana Japanese Bistro, in Louisville.

It was good. This is the pork ramen. The Hawaiian Sushi roll, with avocado, eel, and macadamia nuts, was also pretty awesome.

I was having a craving Thursday night, so in the midst of cleaning the house for company, I made Chocolate Chip Muffins. They are lovely. However, this makes too many for two people to eat. Should have sent a bunch to work with Ken.

Saturday there was a watch party at a bar in downtown Denver to watch the SDSU/USD rivalry football game. The two teams used to play every year when we were in school and they were both Division II. Now they are both Division I, but this is the first time they have played each other. So both USD and SDSU (South Dakota State University, NOT San Diego) fans were invited.

We got there a little late, but that didn’t really matter, because they hadn’t been able to get the satellite feed set up at Tavern Downtown. So we missed the first quarter, which was when SDSU did most of their scoring, but oh well. Even if we had been there, we wouldn’t have seen it. And it was a pretty lo-res feed and there was no sound, but it was still fun.

And of course we had food. And I had a mixed drink, that was kind of spendy, and not too strong. So then I had a $3 Bud Light in a plastic cup. “Tastes like college.” I did not finish it.
I had to try the pretzel rolls, since I try everything that is a pretzel, especially if it comes with cheese dip.

They were meh. Too much roll and not enough pretzel. The cheese sauce was not very tasty. The mustard, on the other hand, was EXTREMELY spicy. Lots of horseradish, I think. I can’t imagine a normal person like this. On the other hand, I thought it was quite delicious.

Ken said the sliders were fine, not very exciting. He could barely taste the onions and cheese.

The buffalo chicken egg rolls were the best thing, but I don’t know if they were almost-$9-good.

And here we are, all dolled up for the game in our SDSU garb!

Visit to Houston

I had too much time to get ready for this trip. The flight didn’t leave until 1:00 p.m. or so, so I had too much time to pack, which means I didn’t really pay sufficient attention to my packing list and/or what I was actually packing. So when I got to the airport, I realized I didn’t have any books along to read. AAAAAAAA! Must have books. Well, that is easily remedied, they sell books at the airport. OK. Problem solved. I ended up kind of being disappointed in the book I got, but it served to keep me entertained.

Had lunch at the airport at Tamales by La Casita’s, which is relatively new. It is a nice change from the usual spots. I had the tortilla soup, big surprise that I had soup, huh? I wasn’t that hungry after the large breakfast (see last Friday’s entry about LePeep.)

Also, when the bill shows up on your work credit card, it is posted as being in Greenwood Village, which makes the office manager wonder what you are doing there and why you are expensing this meal.

As I settled in on the plane, I thought, “OK, I am going to read my book, and then after the plane levels out I will get out my knitting.” And then I reach into my bag and NO KNITTING. My three different projects are sitting at home on the couch with my BOOKS. Oh, the pain, oh the mental anguish. So I had to just read my new book. And I knew I would need to buy another one before I flew home, because I read really fast and one book wasn’t going to last the entire trip.

We stayed at the J.W. Marriott near the Galleria Mall in Houston. I didn’t even get to shop at the mall, we just walked through it to get to a restaurant once or twice.

It was a nice hotel. I asked for a quiet room, and was put on the top floor, which was actually NOT quiet, because I think the elevator mechanism was right about me. I heard the elevator motors ALL NIGHT LONG. So avoid the top floor if you ever stay there.

The room was perfectly nice, good chocolates on the pillow (they had some herb or seasoning in them which I now cannot remember.)

Do we really need phones in the bathroom? Then again, it is probably more expensive to take the phones down and patch the wall tile than it is to leave the phones there. I did not check to see if the phone worked.

I turned my board loose on their own that night and went out to eat with my best friend from high school, Brian, who works in Houston. Until this summer at our class reunion, I had not seen him for 25 years. So it was extra fun to get to see him again this year. We ate at Pappasito’s Cantina. The parking lot was jam-packed so I was a little concerned about how long we would have to wait, but we were seated immediately. This is apparently a great place for getting together, having your birthday, etc. It was very busy for a Wednesday night.

I had the tortilla soup. Big surprise. It had zucchini in it, which was new and unusual.

And I had the ceviche. I know the soup and the ceviche would fill me up sufficiently, and it did. I am pretty sure I also had some large alcoholic beverage.

They also had EXCELLENT chips and dip, including both salsa and a creamy dip (tomatillo maybe?) that you can see in the background here. Apparently there is a Pappasito’s Cantina in Denver, (well, Greenwood Village), we are going to have to eat there sometime when we are down south.

The next day we had a hotel-catered lunch which was really very good. The mixed greens salad had beets, which I love. The pork loin was well cooked and tender. I did not take any pictures.

That evening we went out to eat at Sullivan’s Steakhouse with another state board. Again, I knew if I enjoyed the appetizers that were ordered for the group (Calamari, Cheesesteak egg rolls, and a couple of other things that they made special for us that I don’t have pictures or recollection of) and wine, I would never be able to finish an entire entree. So I had the raw oysters, mmmmm, I try to take advantage of being closer to the ocean.

They were good, but ever since I had raw cherrystone clams in Boston, oysters just haven’t been the same.

The french onion soup was fine, I recall thinking it could have been warmer. We had a nice bottle of wine, too, no idea what kind it was, tho.

The next day three of us went to Kona Grill and had sushi rolls. It was excellent, fun to have three people so we could order a variety of rolls. No pictures, though, sorry.

That evening we ate at the Oceanaire Seafood Room. I really wanted stone crab claws, but they were just a little spendy. You could only get them by the pound, not any less than that. So I had the “Fin and Shell” seafood stew. This was very good – mussels, crab legs, shrimp, fish, and more. They give you a bib, which was a very good idea in my case. It was quite messy, cracking the crab legs. Sorry for the terrible picture, it was dark in there.

Everyone was very happy with their meals there. One of the sides was got was the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had: MAC & CHEESE Applewood Smoked Bacon, Smoked Gouda & Jalapeno. It was amazing. Not sure I would be able to duplicate it, and not sure Ken would eat the Jalapeno anyway. Yum!

For our last meal (lunch) in Houston, we walked down the street to the Grand Lux Cafe. This restaurant is owned by the same people who own Cheesecake Factory. I had soup and salad – the soup was tomato and white bean, and the salad was the Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese salad. I love beets, and I love them best when someone else prepares them for me. Mmmmm. They were both very good.

We got to go home on Saturday night, so that was kind of nice! Half of the weekend at home!

Friday! And food and crafting stuff

I am continuing to clean up by writing about the photos hanging around on my phone and hard drive – hmmm, lots of them are of food, go figure.

You might think these look like wonderful delightful fried dumplings, but you would be wrong. They were some of the worst dumplings I have ever had. Sad day. I will be avoiding China Wok on Harmony in Fort Collins in the future.


Same thing for the “Special” wonton soup, unfortunately.

I make a crocheted baby afghan, a pieced quilt, and an embroidered quilt for each of my nieces and nephews when they are born (or, hopefully, shortly thereafter, although there is a five-year old who will be getting her embroidered quilt for Christmas this year….). I also offer repair service on these items if they are repairable. This is the latest from my nephew C., age 7.

This was pretty easy to fix.

This one, I am not sure about. It is actually HALF of an afghan I made him (he got two, because he was allergic to one of the yarns in the first one, but he is over that now)  – this aghan kept growing each time it got washed, so I cut it in half and finished the edges so he could have two. This one half is having a problem. I am working on unraveling the tangle right now. Considering I don’t even remember which pattern I used to make this one, I may not be able to have it repaired by  Christmas.

This is the new pumpkin pie bagel from Panera. Apparently this is a seasonal thing.

Their website describes it as: Pumpkin Pie Bagel NEW! Freshly baked bagel featuring pumpkin and spice with a crumb topping and cinnamon sugar mixture, sprinkled with powdered sugar

I thought I might like it because I love the Cinnamon Crunch bagel (which is the highest in calories of all of their bagels, oy vey). Also – what is the point of Cheesecake flavored cream cheese? I tried it because it was also new, but HUH??? It has some brown bits in it that are supposed to be cinnamony-graham cracker crust flavor, I believe. I will stick with my honey walnut from now on. It was not bad, but not better than the Cinnamon Crunch.

It took me forever to remember where I ate the food in this next photo. It is a good thing that my phone puts a date automatically in the photo properties.

This is a crab omelet (or maybe lobster?) with brie cheese and avocado at the Le Peep near my house. I should learn my lesson, I like over-easy eggs or breakfast. But every now and then I get a wild hair and try something else. This was fine, better with the Hollandaise sauce for dipping. The toast was really QUITE well-done enough for me, I really prefer undercooked toast, I might have to start specifying that.

This was the morning I was to leave for a trip to Houston, and the fact that I had TIME to go out for breakfast bodes well for where my head was when I was packing, but that is another entry……