Catching Up – June 20

Sorry it has been so long between postings, but I guess I should have known June would be like this – I am on the road for such a big portion of the month and then am extremely busy the rest of the time. But now I am officially on vacation (well, kind of vacation, back in SD helping with the Miss South Dakota pageant) and I have some more time.

Here are some pics from Ted’s Montana Grill that I couldn’t access when I posted about it. It is making me hungry looking at them right now. Beef filet with baked sweet potato and summer squash casserole.

The view from the Bozeman airport is pretty nice.

I was introduced to a new drink – the Moscow Mule. It is like a Dark and Stormy but is ginger beer and vodka instead of ginger beer and rum. Mmmmm. Apparently they are supposed to be served in a copper mug. At the Bozeman airport, you have to give them your credit card so you don’t walk off with the expensive mugs.

The meetings in Bozeman (uh, weeks ago) went well and I arrived home at 10:30 to fall into bed and get up the next morning at 6:00 to meet my boss at 7:30 and drive out onto the eastern plains for a board meeting, which lasted from 9 until 4 and was mentally exhausting. I got home and told Ken I was NOT going to cook and where did he want to go for dinner. I was hungry for steak so we headed to Saltgrass Steakhouse, which isn’t far away. I had the tortilla soup (not really the type I like, too thick, but it was OK), baked potato, and shrimp and steak special. I did not know that BBQ shrimp involved them being deep fried with cream cheese and green onions inside the breading. They were good, but it was all a little too much, and I brought home 2/3 of my steak and one shrimp and most of my potato. Ken had a salad, mashed potatoes, and the steak.

This was some sort of blended margarita that was excellent – I can’t find what it was called, but it was delicious.

Chicken tortilla soup.

Steak and bbq shrimp.

Ken’s steak.

I had so brain cells left after the travelling and meetings that I didn’t think I should operate any power equipment including knitting needles and the washing machine, so I just took it easy the rest of the night, knowing there were big plans in the works (shopping with friends) for the next day.

I got up the next morning and puttered, getting some things put away, talking to my niece on the phone and hearing about my lack of blogging. Then I got on the road for Kinko’s (now FedEx office) to get a visual aid for next week’s meetings printed out and mounted on foam core board, and to DSW to exchange a pair of shoes.

I had been out shoe shopping the week  before, in preparation for summer and the Miss SD pageant, and of course I decided I need to post them on the blog, so I said to Ken “I need you to take pictures of my feet.” His response:  “You have no idea how many times a day I hear that.” Shoe pics will be along sometime this week.

Another recent quote from the husband: “I love you honey, but you have stinky armpits.” Nothing but the romance at our house.


Tuesday, From Lamar, Colorado

Sorry for my lack of blog posts Thursday, Friday and Monday. My 13-year old niece let me know she HAD NOTICED! So I better get with it. And now I am out on meetings on the Eastern Plains and I FORGOT MY LAPTOP, so I am at the mercy of hotel business centers. If I disappear for a few days again, you know why.

Last week was crazy busy with trying to get things done before I went on travel, knowing I was not going to be returning to the office for 7 weekdays, that is a LONG time. I had to have everything ready for travel/meeting on Friday, and more travel and meetings Mon-Thurs, before I left on my Tues/Weds trip. Aiiiiii. Lots of thinking, planning, and staying late at the office!

I did have some time before I left to run some errands Wednesday morning. I am going to take off mornings to run errands in the future. I walked right into my Dr.’s office, had my annual blood screening test, and was out of there. I had my cholesterol tested and then went right to White Soul Brothers and had a potato bomb for breakfast. That is just wrong on so many levels, I know. And then I went to get my tires rotated and balanced, which took 12 minutes –awesome! So I had time to go home and do some job-related work on the computer before I headed to the airport for my flight.

If you are at the Denver airport, and have time for a sit-down meal, I recommend Chef Jimmy’s in concourse A. Even for a sit-down place, they are pretty quick, and they have excellent quality food. I had an excellent Panini, with a side of fruit (healthier than many options at the airport) and also got one to go for my travel companion who was running behind. I have also had the calamari and the tomato soup here, they are both excellent, although the calamari used to come with fried pepper rings too, and I think they have discontinued that.

Warning: The Denver airport is going to be under construction, adding a rail line and hotel, for the next 5 years or so. Traffic and parking may be higgledy piggeldy. You may need to get to the airport even earlier. I had decided to park in covered parking since it was such a short trip, and the parking garage was full, even though the signs out on the road to the airport didn’t say that it was (the signs actually appeared to be totally out of order.)

My Tues/Weds trip to was to Bozeman, Montana. I had been there for a meeting before, and remembered it being beautiful. It IS beautiful, Bozeman nestles in a mountain valley, surrounded by mountains on every side, it is gorgeous.

We stayed at the Homewood Suites, which is a great hotel, and they have a reception and food every night. You can pretty much make dinner out of that if you want to, except for the fact that on Tuesday night, it was BBQ beef on a bun. Have I expressed my feelings about BBQ beef on a bun? Now, I am the daughter of a rancher, so I do eat beef whenever I can, from carpaccio to tartare to a medium-rare steak. But I also go to a lot of meetings for my job, and a really easy thing to prepare to feed a crowd. In one 3 day stint of 9 meetings, I think we had BBQ beef on a bun four times. That is too much BBQ beef in 3 days. So now I very rarely make it at home (mostly during the winter, when I am not at meetings so much), and I tend to cringe when I see it coming.

We got our meeting schedule started early this summer, with a special event last week. We had a lunch and a dinner meeting, and we had BBQ beef on a bun at both (well, one of them might have been pork, but when it is slow cooked and covered in BBQ sauce, they are pretty similar.)

So I am anticipating next week’s meetings and thinking how much BBQ beef on a bun I will eat, and I wasn’t ABOUT to eat it at the hotel. I don’t make the arrangements for all the meals on this trip, but the one did set up with the caterer, I plead for my life: Anything but BBQ beef, please!

So anyway, I think I am done with my BBQ beef on a bun rant.

In Bozeman, we ate at Ted Turner’s Montana Grill.  This was the original location for the restaurant chain. I had never eaten at one before. It was OK but not the best meal I have ever had. The kitchen is never the best when it is dealing with a table of 20. The drinks were excellent, however. They had a huckleberry margarita (huckleberries are a local item in Bozeman) that was excellent. I had two. I had the beef filet and a baked sweet potato and the squash casserole. They were all fine, but nothing I would go out of my way to eat if there was a non-chain place to choose from. The squash was summer squash, it was pretty good.

My phone is refusing to send a picture of the steak, it will only send the drink. Hmmmmmm.

I taught a Facebook class that afternoon to folks who were there for the meeting, hopefully I taught them more than I confused them. We had an hour reserved, and we could have easily gone for two hours, so we are talking about making a “Social Media Working Group” a regular thing before our meetings.

More on this trip later, have a great week!

Progress Report

I have been meeting my self-imposed deadline of finishing one bunny block per week. The June one was a little out of sync, parts of the design had not transferred well, due to my poor ironing skills, and I needed to do some tracing in a window on a sunny day. I finally got that done and got this block done by the end of last Sunday. (Good thing there was some golf to watch/listen to.) The problem with this block is the rabbit-bride had to be wearing a white dress, which is not going to show up really well on the completed quilt. I don’t suppose I had to make the church white but it seemed like the thing to do. I did make the veil a light silver color, so maybe it will show up a bit differently.

I finished the October blockthe week before, not quite on deadline, but by the end of Tuesday. I am behind on the one for this week, but hopefully will have some time on Sunday. I have a business trip tomorrow, and am taking my Camp Loopy project, the color affection shawl (picture below.) The June one also had much less detail than this October one had.

This one was kind of a pain, but it looks nice, I guess. Now I just have November and December left.

Here is the color affection shawl. Thanks to my friend Judy, I am doing it on the size of needles recommended. Usually I go down two sizes, but she is also a loose knitter, and she is knitting it on a size up from the recommended size 6 needles. I am hoping to get to the end of the 2nd section (lavender and cream stripes) by the time I get home from my trip, and carpooling to a meeting on Friday. If I get enough knitting time on the airplane, maybe I can take embroidery on the trip to the meeting. I can’t just sit in a car and ride, it is very difficult for me. I have to be reading, or knitting, or embroidering. Usually I don’t get carsick. Usually.

I watered the flowers tonight and one of the peonies lopped over and bent its stem, so I felt the need to bring it in for a bouquet. Peonies are in my top five favorite flowers, and they are blooming happily this year. I am very tempted to convert most of the upper garden to peonies. It is half peonies and bleeding hearts anyway. Maybe I will put in an additional row this year. Can’t have too many peonies, in my opinion.

After a stressful day at work and coming home to swamp cooler problems, I declared it to be a night to sit in the driveway and have a drink and watch the sun go down. It was great. I will be making that declaration more often this summer.

Annual Knitting Brunch

I took last Friday off work to cook and clean all day – sounds like fun, doesn’t it, but it was, because I was getting ready for my annual knitting brunch with my friends from Knit Knight at the local yarn store. Fortunately, the house wasn’t too messy since we just had company a month ago. It did need some picking up, and the kitchen floor always benefits from a mopping. MaryAnne was pretty sure I stayed home to play with her all day, so I ended up spending some time throwing the ball for her to chase and catch.

I took a break at lunch time, and headed for the local Polish restaurant, knowing Ken would want to have nothing to do with going there with me. They have very reasonable lunch specials for $7.95 at Cracovia. I elected to have the Czerwony barszcz (beetroot soup with sour cream and potatoes) soup and the Golabki (cabbage roll). Since I had tomato sauce with my cabbage roll at the Bagel Deli, I tried the mushroom sauce here.

The soup is VERY pink. It is served hot, not cold. I gave it two thumbs up.

The cabbage roll was also excellent. A little filling for lunch. There were also several slices of bread, and “pork butter,” which involves lard, I believe. A little of that goes a long way.

Then I came home to more cleaning and cooking. And then Saturday morning, we had our party!

The sunroom, all set up and ready. The sunroom is pretty much the reason we bought this house.

I pull out all of my vintage linens. I do not care if they have a few holes or stains, they have character. And yes, they all have to be ironed, which is a big pain. But worth it.

My friend C. and I show off some of my vintage hat collection. The veil on mine is so long it would make it hard to eat. How did they deal with that? I guess ladies didn’t wear their hats to eat. Perhaps this was a church hat. It goes with this dress rather well, don’t you think?

I also pull out my Mom’s luncheon sets (glass plates) and my trays that were mostly wedding gifts.  I don’t remember where the swirly mod green one came from, I think I may have snagged that from Mom’s cupboard as well.

Smoked salmon/asparagus/cream cheese tortilla roll ups.

Pimento cheese finger sandwiches. All of the tea sandwich recipes are from here:

Green Chile Egg Casserole.

Prosciutto fig tea sandwiches.

Wonton Mini Quiches brought by my friend Cathy. They were excellent.

Pickle roll ups from my friend, C (pictured in hat.) I think these have: pickles, bread, and cheese. They are delicious!

More pimento cheese pics.

Dessert table: angel food cake with homemade strawberry sauce, Strawberry pretzel salad, kringle (hand carried from Wisconsin by my friend M., pictured here  with the champagne bottle making a mimosa), smoothies,  and Boston Creme Poke Cake. That poke cake is really rich, it needs LESS of something, maybe only one box of pudding would be better. Strawberry pretzel salad was good as always, I only make this when I have significant numbers of company coming, because I can’t eat it all. Everything was delicious, thank you to all my wonderful guests who attended shared food and laughs and who may never be the same after all of C’s dog stories.

The dessert table again. It was worth a 2nd picture.

We also had tea and punch, in a nice punch bowl, thanks to my friend Judy. She allows her punch bowl to live at my house and come out for the knitting parties. She also brings champagne for mimosas, what more could you ask for!

After we enjoyed our refreshments, we adjourned to the most comfortable chairs to knit and chat and tell wild stories.

A good time was had by all (I believe) and boy, did I sleep that night. (Ken hightailed it out of the house for the day, and the cats hid. MaryAnne did come out to be admired when there were only about 3 guests left.)

This is about how much help the cats were:

Sand Dunes/Santa Fe/Albuquerque Trip Report – Day 6 (Monday)

Sorry for the impromptu day off on Friday, I was off work cleaning the house and cooking for my Annual Knitting Brunch on Saturday! Thank goodness we had company a month ago, so the house was already pretty clean. Next year I am going to remember to make less food!

Monday, Memorial Day, Leaving Albuquerque: We weren’t in any particular hurry to get up and get on the road but of course I was up early. I think I managed to sleep in until 7:00. I got up and worked on blog entries and caught up on Facebook.

Ken got up about 8:00 and we went over to the main building and settled the bill and had breakfast. This morning the Canadian bacon quiche did NOT have green chiles in it (I asked to be sure.)

Ken had asked if I didn’t want to do something that morning, like go see the petroglyphs, but what I really wanted to do was go to more stores with Day of the Dead things. I found one that looked good, but we went over there, and it looked like it would be 10:00 or 11:00 before they were open, so we passed. According to the internet, the Jackalope stores also had Day of the Dead stuff, so we stopped at the one on the way out of Albuquerque, but it didn’t really have much. I will have to look around here in Denver, there are a lot of interesting shops on Federal. Need to add more to my glow in the dark Virgin Mary collection.

By the time we actually got out of Albuquerque (me driving so Ken could nap) it was 10:00. And we drove and drove and drove. We drove TO Santa Fe via Hwy 285, so going home on I-25, we had some different scenery. Drove through some pretty country.

We waited until we got to Trinidad, Colo. to eat lunch, because we were snacking on and off and not terribly hungry, but at that point we needed some time out of the car, and a gas stop as well. We ate at the Trinidad Diner. A sign in the window advertising “Menudo on the weekends” is usually a good sign. Not that I want to eat the menudo. It’s just a good sign.

Ken had the patty melt.

I had the hot turkey sandwich. Quite good. Not real mashed potatoes, but still good. And they don’t get carried away with the portion, you don’t need two scoops for lunch.

Then we got back on the road. We only really hit traffic coming out of Colorado Springs, otherwise it was not bad all the way to Denver. We were home before 6:00, even with a lunch stop. Of course I had a long list of things I was going to get done since we got home so early, but really, getting dinner together, unpacking and sorting laundry, and writing a blog entry, and then I was about ready for bed – especially since I needed to get up early the next morning for work, and go jaunting about the Eastern Plains.

Wrap up of the trip: We had a great time. We tried to do to much in a few days. Next time we will just focus on going to Albuquerque OR Santa Fe. We also need to go to Taos. Ken says we had a relaxing time, and there was interesting culture, and the Day of the Dead stuff was cool. It was really windy, not that we could do anything about that.  Ken’s favorite meals were the brisket in Albuquerque and the steak in Monte Vista. My favorite meals were the three different kinds of soup at The Shed and the country fried tuna at The Standard Diner.  And the huevos yucatecos at Tecolote. Best shopping: Santa Fe, in my opinion. Next time, we will budget more money for shopping and eating. Food cost as much or more than hotels. And we didn’t even eat at the most expensive place on our suggestion list. We need to figure out a different plan for golfing, because if I have to drive him too far and drop him off, it puts a crimp in my time for what I can do while he is golfing. And some things I want to tour with him, and don’t want to do while he is golfing. It will be a while now, because my work is super busy in the summer, and the next trip will be to South Dakota.