A Crab AND Yellow Birds??!!

Let me just say that it would be a good policy for the towns of Fraser and Winter Park to give everyone entering town a free wine tasting, and everyone would then leave more of their tourist dollars in town.

Our first stop upon returning to Fraser was the Winter Park Winery. I saw the “Wine Tasting” sign and thought that would be a fine way to spend some time while we were waiting for my brother and his family to finish skiing.

I think they have you taste 7 wines, I don’t know, I kind of lost track. My issue is that I instantly know whether I like a wine or not, so then I just shoot the rest of it down and move onto the next one. So I consumed that wine pretty quickly (not a large quantity of each, but cumulatively…..) I am a sweet wine person (I like some reds, but not “big” reds, and I like reds with lower tannin.) So we bought two bottles of the Riesling (one for Wade and his wive) and one for us, a bottle of their port, and a bottle of “Grateful Red” which isn’t even ready to drink yet but I couldn’t resist. We are supposed to hold off until at least this summer, so I didn’t get to taste it. But it was “Grateful Red” so I had to have it. Good marketing on their part.

I had a hard time taking this picture, MaryAnne thought it should be “Still Life with Wine and Cat.”

While we were rounding the block to park at the winery, I saw two signs – “Art Gallery” and “Thrift Store” which I knew would be our next stops.

They were both in the same building, the historic Fraser mercantile building. The thrift store doesn’t have a website, but the art gallery does. The Elizabeth Kurtak Art Gallery  – they had recently had an open house, and so were sold out of some paintings and prints, but I still found a print I liked (picture from her website since I forgot to take one).

I liked this one as well “Spring Fox,” as it has more complex shapes (I am learning more about what I like in art from my color theory/design class), but she was sold out of that one right now.

Then to the thrift store, I hadn’t really seen anything that caught my eye (other than the two cats in the store, Ken was busy playing with them and hoping I wouldn’t find anything weird) – but then I saw the door that said “Furniture, Man Stuff and Oddities.” Well, you can’t keep me away from oddities, and I think I purchased the item that they were referring to.

Yes, it’s a crab. A crab soap dish.

See, it opens up and you can put your soap in there. Or, you can chase your husband around, clacking it at him. I will not tell you what he said he was going to do to Cyril the Crab if I didn’t stop that. NOT nice.

And Cyril needed someone to keep him company. These birds will look lovely on the wall in the sunroom, if I can find some other bright decorative items to go with them.

We got out of there before I could find anything else I needed.

We headed back into Winter Park and went to nest.Artistic Home, a great store full of original and local arts and crafts. I couldn’t resist an original watercolor by Grand Lake artist Richard Koller. Apparently he is trying to paint one picture a day. I am glad to have this one.

Luckily for our budget, the skiiers were down off the mountain, so we went to see them and left the retail adventure! Quite a good day, I’d say.

Fun With the Nieces and Nephew

This is the first time in a while I haven’t had a post written the night before and ready to go – sorry, the kids wore us out! My oldest set of nieces/nephew (my brother’s kids) and my brother Wade and his wife stopped in town on their way to go skiing over the long weekend. So we met at Dave and Buster’s, which is a nicer restaurant attached to a huge arcade/gaming place – fancier than Gigglebee’s or Chuck E. Cheese (the last time I was at a Chuck E. Cheese, I got pinkeye, while on vacation). Wade had some leftover cards with game credits from some work event, so we had dinner and then worked on using them up.

Dave and Buster’s has the excellent appetizer of soft hot pretzel bites – I have been missing hot pretzels because we used to eat at a restaurant in DC at our January meeting that had hot pretzels as an appetizer. Well, we moved hotels and we don’t go to that restaurant any more. But I love hot pretzels so of they are on the menu I am getting them. These came with three different kinds of sauce and rated a thumbs up from us – I personally like as much sauce as possible. I had Mediterranean citrus shrimp for my meal, and they were fine. My main object was to not get too full after having those pretzels as an appetizer. The kids didn’t want anything to do with them, they were happy with fried cheese sticks. Ken had teriyaki steak, which he said was good, my brother had a steak (don’t remember which) and he said it was good, Laurie (sis in law) had a steak which I think she liked, and the oldest niece, S, who is 12, had a steak and also liked it. The younger two had macaroni and cheese. We offered to take the leftover steak from Laurie and S. but they are staying at a condo for skiing so they have a refrigerator, shoot. :  )

It was amazing how much energy they still had after a 12 hour car drive across Nebraska and half of Colorado. Well, I guess they were shut in a car all day and needed to burn some off. We had a lot of fun with all the games.

I took S. her pepper pants and she liked them, telling her mother she was going to wear them over her pants the rest of the night, but then she didn’t after I had her take them off and showed her how to tell back from front. I am going to see them again on Saturday, I think I will take along some thread and embroider a “F” in the inside front, since it is kind of hard to tell w/home made pants. She also thought they would be awesome over her ski pants, but we didn’t know if the cotton material would be good for that, and I haven’t seen any fun rip stop nylon pepper prints.

There is a photo booth there that takes your picture and then “draws” it in a different style. You can see this one of the kids is drawn in the “Leonardo Da Vinci” style. Uh huh.

Ken and I were just as bad at the Jurassic Park shooting dinosaur game as we remembered. I believe I beat about everybody in the car racing game where you all have a different machine and race against each other, which is kind of unbelievable. There was also a trivia game (heavily slanted toward MODERN questions esp in the music category) and a Wheel of Fortune game which was hard because you only got to pick 3 letters and then you had to solve the puzzle.

D. (age 6) got his own picture somehow. His sisters explained “something happened!” and then “T. pinched Dawson!”

Earlier in the night I had said, “These kids are old enough that you could throw all three of them on a plane and send them out here by themselves for a few days,” by the end of the night I was questioning whether we would survive that…..

Well, a good time was had by all and the intrepid skiers headed up into the mountains at about 10:30, still having a 2 hour drive to get to their ski area. My brother is a good night driver so I am sure he got them there ok.

My Love of Old Cookbooks – I Can’t Look Away

I love old cookbooks. Partially because I really enjoy trying new recipes, and looking through recipes made “the old way” calling for a #2 can of peaches, or lard, or what have you. And part of it is the horror. Because some of these recipes, and some of these pictures, are kind of scary. Or at the least, very kitschy.

For example:

That’s right, that chicken is essentially sculpted out of egg salad. No word on what to do if your sculpting skills aren’t up to snuff.

Sometimes the recipes don’t have pictures, but they can be just as frightening.

I guess these recipes are similar to meatloaf which uses oatmeal as the binder, but these are a little scary. Especially the 2nd one.

I don’t know, I like my pizza burgers with only about a half a can of Spam. And I can’t even imagine how you would grate the Spam.

Growing up, we at a fair amount of Jello because my dad liked it and would eat it. Mainly jello with fruit. At our house, you do not put jello with crazy stuff like carrots or celery. Or, god forbid, sour cream or mayonnaise. However, olives were not even a possibility that I had considered.

OK, this doesn’t include vegetables, but (see 3rd sentence of instructions) BUTTER MINTS with sugary/sweet marshmallows and cool whip? Oy.

Again, the fruit, not so weird, although dates or prunes would be unusual, and I don’t care for nuts in my Jello, but I REALLY don’t care for Grape Nuts in my Jello.

Spaghetti and pineapple do not belong in the same recipe together. Ever. I like pasta salad, and I like fruit salad, but….you get my drift.

I’m not sure what this is but the picture fits in well with the other recipes. If you weren’t feeling a little queasy before, perhaps you are now.

I am sure that many of these are beloved family recipes, and that many people would be horror-struck by some of our recipes (Snickers/Apple SALAD, please?), so please don’t take this a being mean spirited, just a raising of the eyebrows at some unusual tastes. And looking through those old cookbooks gives me quite a bit of enjoyment. Hmmm, I haven’t spent any time doing that lately, I may need to dig into the cookbook stash. I could do a post on just my Jello cookbooks ALONE…..

Recipe Fail and Happy Birthday to Mr. Fix-It

My evening:

I had been looking and looking and looking for a recipe I made once, it was something like “Easy Chicken Risotto” and it was not risotto that you had to stir all the time, and it had chicken chunks in it, and Ken liked it. Well, I finally found it again (it was in a cookbook, not online like I thought it was.) I made it again and neither one of us particularly cared for it. Maybe we have grown out of that stage. Ken even said it “needed something.” So I won’t be posting THAT recipe. It calls for mushrooms and of course I didn’t put those in but I don’t think even mushrooms would have made a difference.

Then I dug around for a recipe for baked donuts for Mom. She has been looking through her cookbooks and could only find ones that called for mashed potatoes. I was pretty sure I had one that I had tried at one point. I found it, even though it was filed under “bread” instead of “breakfast” but I guess donuts could go in either of those places.

Then I dug around on the internet looking for instructions for a chiming clock. I have created a  monster with my Dad, in that he now believes that I can find an manual/instructions/answers for anything on the internet. Well, apparently I can because I found the clock instructions, or at least close.

Mom and Dad have had this mantle clock for a few years, sitting on top of the refrigerator in our house (mantle? In OUR house? You silly….).  They got it at an auction because my Mom likes clocks with Roman numerals. Well, has never chimed before and now it has started chiming, very randomly from what they can tell. From the looks of the diagram I found, it looks like they may have had it turned to only chime once an hour, and set it so that it thought it was night during the day, so we will see what happens now that I had  Dad change some of the settings. Probably chime really loud all night long.

Well, I believe he can fix anything that is broken, so he can believe I can find anything on the internet. I purchased a LOVELY Princess phone on Ebay (because after all the elementary school field trips to the phone company, I thought they were Tres Elegante). It worked (dial tone) but it didn’t ring. I took it home to Dad, and NOW it rings, much to Ken’s dismay, because it lives in our bedroom and it has a very loud ring.

This is the original phone, now in full working order. See, FANCY. Also, Bruce the shark finger puppet, and his friend Norman the shark. Also, a couple of glow in the dark Virgin Marys.

This is now the 2nd phone, apparently I will collect these if given the chance. I have not tested this one to see if it works, but you know where I am taking it if it doesn’t.

He will at least attempt to fix anything I bring home, and usually successfully. Happy 77th Birthday today, Dad!  I love you!


Sew What?

This weekend I need to get started on a the newt quilt. Now that I have kind of changed my plan of attack, and am making the background at least 3 different colors, I may not need to go buy more fabric. We will see. I also need to sew my oldest niece’s pepper pants. She wanted a pair of pants with hot peppers on them, because of some fabric she found at my Mom’s house. There wasn’t enough fabric in that remnant, but I found some online. I have them cut out, just need to get them sewn together. Her family is coming out to Colorado to go skiing over Presidents’ Day weekend, so I will get the chance to have her try them on and see if they fit, will check how they fit on her sister, too, so maybe I can make her some fun pajama pants. I am envisioning them mostly as “lounge-around-the-house” pants but she has kind of an interesting fashion sense so she may wear them out of the house if her mother allows.

I had a kind of unusual fashion sense myself as a kid, (if you couldn’t tell from the improvised Wonder Woman costume). A lot of my clothes were hand-me-downs, thank goodness I had some older girl cousins. I also had a teacher in 8th grade who gave me some of her older clothes, enhancing my wardrobe greatly. I also had the ability to sew my own clothes, which was mostly where the “interesting” came in. I remember an outfit my junior year of high school, I probably sewed it over the summer for school that fall: Fuschia stirrup pants, a blue paisley shell, a purple/fuschia paisley long shirt that came down past my bottom, and then a really long blue paisley shirt that came down to just above my knees. I would combine these in various layers. I also shopped a lot in thrift stores, which I still love to do.

I was lucky enough to have a Mom who knew how to sew and who taught me. She still mends endless pairs of my Dad’s jeans, since he works outside with animals and tractors and engines all the time, he is hard on jeans. And she helps my nieces when they are out there, they are always putting on some show/production and want to sew costumes.

I haven’t sewn clothes for myself for a while. I have sewn some for the nieces/nephews, so maybe I will get back into it, and I may go on a roll with pajama pants if this 1st pair with peppers works out.

My Mom sewed our dresses and Dad and my brother’s shirts.

See that blue weather cottage on the wall behind us? That is why I had to buy one when I saw it at an antique store. The one I found is not blue, however. The quest continues.

This is the smock with the embroidered cartoon characters she made me for the 1st day of school (I have written about this one before.) Wade and Scratch the puppy also in the picture.

Something funny happened with this picture, but you can see Mom’s skirt – I had a matching one. They are still in her cedar chest. She thinks we should let the nieces play dress up with them, I think I should make them into a small quilt. We will see.

Pretty sure Mom made my night hat here – I was very into the Little House on the Prairie books at this time. Don’t remember if she sewed my nightgown or if that was a gift – if it was a gift, I am pretty sure it was from Aunt Connie. Aunt Connie, can you clear that up? Mom and I had matching nightgowns…this must have been 1976…..Anyway, I am very grateful to come from a family of women who sew – Mom, Aunt Connie, Aunt Eileen, Aunt Betty, and others I am sure I am leaving out, all contributed to MY wardrobe and my dolls’ wardrobe as I was going up, and taught me to be creative and make things for myself.

Snowy Weekend Eating

Thank you to all of you who have followed me or who are reading and commenting – I enjoy your commentary!

Friday was indeed a snow day, we ended up with about 17 inches at our house by Ken’s estimate. I made us cheeseburger soup, which is a good “cold day” soup for dinner.

Recipe here: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/09/crockpot-cheeseburger-soup-recipe.html (This blog, A Year of Slow Cooking, has some excellent recipes. Also some not-so-excellent ones, which she details as well. I enjoy hearing about when somebody else’s family doesn’t like what they made…)

My adjustments: more chicken broth and a little more milk because I like a lot of broth. I did not increase the Velveeta because there was enough in there already. I did not put in the red pepper because no way Ken would eat that. I put in a little cayenne, chili powder, and oregano, just to give it some seasoning. Ken thought it was “spicy.” He also recommended the following improvements: more meat and needs bacon. See what I am working with here, folks? You can also make this recipe just on the stove top, without a slow cooker.

Saturday I went to the Sewing Expo with my friend Cathy, we met a friend of hers from her work there and oh we had a lovely time. I decided my next project for my Color Theory class will be “Still Life with Newt,” in the primary color triad, and started collecting fabrics. I want to make a large vase with a blue print fabric, and I think I found one or two that will work. I also found several other useful things. That is a whole ‘nother post.

I wore my SDSU Jackrabbits pullover, and talked people from North Dakota, Madison, SD, Sturgis, SD, and a guy who played baseball for a semester at SDSU before he totally tore his knee up playing on the cold hard ground. People from SD will usually talk to you when they see you wearing a Jackrabbits shirt – SD is one big small town. I love it.

I was wiped out after that so we had Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake, they make an excellent thin crust.

Waffles from a new recipe for breakfast, batter was too thin, I had to add a cup of flour, so I don’t recommend it. It got good reviews on my Facebook Foodie group, so I don’t know what is up. Maybe the altitude?

Lunch Sunday was Runzas. I will put the recipe at the bottom, it is long and has many of my personal notes as to how I do it differently. Ken asked if he could try to set a new record for number of Runzas consumed at one sitting, and I discouraged him from that. My Aunt Connie also made Runzas today, and my Uncle Norman said they need more filling and less bread (I can hear my Dad, his brother, saying the EXACT same thing, about other recipes – he would probably not even eat this one because of the cabbage and onions.) And he dipped his in ketchup, which is interesting, I could see mustard maybe….The recipe below also includes a cheese option, which is JUST WRONG.

Dinner:Spicy Sweet Bacon Chicken Breasts – I make these with boneless chicken breasts, usually cut in half or thirds. I base my cooking time on my meat thermometer, usually about 20-25 min. I might have been a little wild with the Cajun seasoning, because Ken also declared these to be spicy.


Runza or Bierock (Polish or German) (Also called, charmingly, in some place in Colorado, Kraut Burgers)

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 c. cabbage, chopped

2 Tablespoons butter

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 pound frozen broad dough, thawed and raised

8 oz cheese – Jack , Cheddar, muenster, or mozarrella, sliced (Personally I consider putting cheese in runzas an abomination, but to each his own.)

Crumble and brown the ground beef in a heavy skillet. Add onions to meat and cook until they are transparent. Drain off the fat. In a separate (bigger) (I use a dutch oven) sauté cabbage in butter until just wilted. Add cabbage to the beef mixture, season with salt and pepper. (This is good enough to eat right now.)

Cut the bread dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece in a very thin rectangle, about 6 by 7 inches (this is a huge pain.) Place about 3 Tablespoons of mean mixture on each rectangle. Add a slice of cheese, if you are so incluned. Fold the dough over the meat, pinch edges together. Seal it up well, you don’t want escapees. Place on a cookie sheet, let rise 40 to 60 minutes (or until they are good and puffy). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 18 minutes or until browned.

Glenda’s variations: Make your own bread dough (using Speedy Dough recipe_. This is going to make more runzas, so if you have more than a pound of hamburger around, use it. I had a spare ½ pound hanging out in the freezer so I threw it in. Chop about the whole head of cabbage. Don’t chop too fine, you don’t want cole slaw here. Using the food processor makes it too small. Use 4 T. of butter, or as much as you need for the cabbage you have. With the home made dough, I pull off a piece bigger than a golf ball and smaller than a tennis ball. I flatten it out (using one of those smaller light weight disposable cutting boards works well, then the dough peels off of it) into a circle about 5” across. I put about 1/3 cup filling. This time I made a recipe that would make 2 loaves of bread, and I had filling left. So I am still working on that. I will make rolls for Christmas tomorrow, so may only make half into rolls, and use the rest to make runzas. This is a time consuming recipe and labor intensive, but I did get 18 runzas so far, and more to come. They are great frozen and then warmed up for breakfast.

Notes: The ones called Kraut burgers sometimes, but not always, actually have sour kraut in them in addition to the cabbage.

San Francisco Thanksgiving 2010 Trip Report Part 3

Links to all of the trip reports from this trip:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Saturday: As I got up and staggered around the house, I could see that this was not going to be a clear sunny day…clouds and rain. The boys had a small project to take care of before we left the house, replacing the headlight and blinker bulb in Nick’s car. Ken had sounded just like his dad the day before, “You know, you need to get that replaced.” So they tried, but there is still a problem with the bulb for the blinker, so that one is still not fixed. We discussed our options for indoor activities. I had no idea that San Jose wasn’t really that far away and that is where the Winchester Mystery House is located. This is another location in my book that I have wanted to visit for a looooong time. April thought it sounded cool and the boys were willing if not thrilled.

We didn’t really have firm plans for lunch, and it occurred to me on the way down to San Jose that WE ARE IN CALIFORNIA, WE CAN GO TO IN AND OUT BURGER! I had never been before but it is kind of one of those things that you have to do at least once. So with the help of Nick’s iPhone, we figured out where one was and that was where we ate. Of course, I had my burger Animal Style and my fries Animal Style and everyone else just had normal food, but it was pretty good. Next time I would get more beef patties because the meat kind of gets lost in the bun/tomato/lettuce ratio. Then we had to find a gas station and fill up the car with the overprices San Francisco gas – $3.19. Yow. (This was written in 2010 when I had not yet paid $3.50 and up for gas in Colorado.)

The Winchester house was built by Sarah Winchester, who was the widow of one of the Winchesters who made all the guns. After her infant daughter and husband died, she went to a psychic who said to appease all the ghosts of all the people that had been killed by Winchester guns, she needed to build a house that would never be finished. She had a fortune of 20 million dollars, and she went to town. In 1884 she purchased an 8 room farmhouse 3 miles west of San Jose and for the next 38 years, the building never stopped, with carpenters working 24 hours a day. The mansion eventually grew to 160 rooms. Now, if this were a mansion that a rock star were building today, it would cover city blocks, but this place is really relatively small. The rooms are not giant. The whole house covers about six acres.  Now, from the book I read, I thought this was kind of an isolated place, but it is right in the middle of San Jose, with streets and a movie theatre right next door. They still have preserved a large part of the grounds, but not miles and miles. They were pretty busy, people getting away from the rain maybe, and out of town T-giving guests? We bought our tour tickets, decided to go for the basic tour plus the “behind the scenes” tour, and then perused the gift shop until it was time for the tour.  Let me tell you, their tour guides are a little more rehearsed than we used to be working at Rushmore Cave during the summer. I think they have a script that they pretty much stick to. They do not emphasize the ghostly spiritual angle much. But it is quite a tour around switchback staircases, narrow halls, windows in the floor, elegant bedrooms, some of the earliest elevators, stairways that end at the ceiling, doors that open onto a large drop, etc. The tour groups aren’t too large so you kind of stay together and you can hear the guide well. THEN we went on the behind the scenes tour. Our tour guide for that part was studying for a future career in used car commercial announcing. She really needed to work on appearing to have a natural style at least. It was interesting to traipse around the grounds, tho, and see the grapefruit tree and yew tree that are original plantings, and then go into some of the more unfinished rooms and into the basement (hard hat required, Ken bonked his tall head a couple of times on the pipes) so we were glad we did that. And then we were about toured out.  We had to get our traditional souvenir of a magnet, and of course the book.
Got in the car, the rain had settled down, and drove back north toward Richmond/Berkeley.

Next stop: IKEA!!!! We are getting one in Denver next fall but I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to get an idea what they might be like. Ken’s idea was that we were just going to make a “quick visit” there but from my reading about IKEAs, I was pretty sure that was not even possible. Those stores are just huge and take a long time to wander through. I restrained myself to only buying finger puppets (there was a shark one in the assortment, I HAD to). If there was one of these close to us, I would go just for the food and the toys, never mind everything else. Plus, they had a large bin of wind up kitchen timers, and you know what I had to do with them. I hope the people shopping the rest of the night enjoyed them going off randomly.
Dinner tonight: Spengers Seafood Grotto. They have well-known cioppino, and that was one of my foods I wanted to eat in SF. I had the cioppino, april had mac and cheese with andouille sausage and shrimp, Nick had the stuffed salmon, and Kenny had the fish and chips. Little oddities:  the crab fork I originally received had one of the tines bent at almost a 45 degree angle. We were pretty sure that was NOT the way it was supposed to be. Then April got her mac and cheese, and it had chicken chunks instead of Andouille, we told the waitress about that but never got an explanation. She was still happy with it. They were busy, probably had run out. I had creme brulee for dessert, and Nick and April had the pumpkin pie. Kenny tried the creme brulee, and decided that hey, creme brulee is pretty good. Well, there goes me having that dessert all to myself. On the other hand, he might let me get a torch now, to make my own. “Under close supervision” he says. Hmmm, just because of a few minor oven fires and that one burned up toaster oven, he is hyper cautious. Excellent dinner all around, but I did decide that I prefer squid in my cioppino over crawfish.

Then we came home and I talked everyone into playing Trivial Pursuit and a Christmas/Birthday gift to me. They were more willing when I said it could be all of them against me.  Nick and April have the 20th anniversary edition, I think those questions are on average a little difficult, because they center on the 20 years of 1991-2001 that the game has been in existence, so there aren’t a lot of history questions. I of course had to go get my shark finger puppet to join in the game. His name is Bruce, he was a big help. Then everyone else had to have a finger puppet. At one point Nick had one on each finger, so that greatly added to the amusement of the game. Nick is really good at coming up with the correct answer and then talking himself out of that answer and going with his second impression so that helped. We got down to the last question for each of us, and they kept giving me sports questions, and I kept giving them the literature category, and of course they got the question about George magazine, which we had already had a question on previously in a different category, so they won, but still it was great fun. And the finger puppets enjoyed it.  And then we all fell into bed as it was  11:30 or so.

Sorry, no pictures from today, here is another one of Rodeo Beach.

San Francisco Trip Report – Day 2 (Thanksgiving 2010)

Links to all of the trip reports from this trip:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Friday: I was up around 7:30, of course, would be nice if I could sleep in on vacation but the older I get the more that seems impossible. By the time I am Mom’s age I am sure I will be getting up at 5:30 a.m. like she does.

Before we got on the road to Muir Woods, Nick asked if anyone got carsick on twisty roads….I said I might but I would let them know how I was feeling. Well, this road was considerably worse than either the road between Hermosa and Custer where I used to get sick as a kid, or anything in the Black Hills for that matter. But I was OK as long as I had the window rolled down. When we got to the hiking area, to hike to see the redwoods, we knew it was a bad sign when the parking area was full. Then the overflow parking was full, then all along the road was full, then a mile down the road was full, so we decided we didn’t want to have to hike 2 miles for the start of the hike, and just continued on. Nick told us about the eucalyptus trees in the area, they are kind of an invasive plant, they were brought over from Australia to provide wood for building but their wood is terrible for that. But, they are really flammable, so they are good for brush fires!

Next we went to Rodeo Beach.  This beach is rocky instead of sandy, and you know how Petersons are with rocks.

So I was picking up good rocks and putting them in my pockets, of course. Found some tiny pieces of green sea glass. This beach is surrounded by bunkers and gun emplacements. I didn’t know about all the military installations in the area, but SF was considered such an important port in the late 1800s that all of these bunkers and buildings were built to guard and protect the coast, and there are still barracks, etc., where the soldiers stayed. After the advent of radar, these facilities were declared obsolete, but the ruins are still there, and are historic landmarks today. Ken really thought one was a great place to make a zombie movie.  I also discovered that while I am not typically bothered by heights, I am bothered a bit by heights that involve tall ocean cliffs with rocks below. Yikes.

We hiked up one hill to look at the bunker at the top and see the view (while we were at Rodeo beach.) Ken would not let me pick up any large pieces of sea weed to take home. Or, the dead seagull which I know Nick and April’s cats would have enjoyed.  We drove to the other bunkers/gun emplacements. While looking over one of the cliffs, I had the first seal sighting. The boys were too impatient to stick around and see him poke his head out of the water, but April confirmed for me it was a seal.

I wanted to dip my toe in the ocean, so I took off one shoe. April joined me. The ocean had its own ideas, and so both of us got both feet wet.

Speaking of the cats, it is really nice for us to stay somewhere that they have cats, because then we don’t miss ours so much. Nick and April are way more strict cat parents than we are, however, they don’t leave a light on for the cats when they know they are going to be gone all day and get home after dark. Also, no cats sleeping on the bed in their house. We are having fun playing with Newton and Zoe.

Then we headed to Golden Gate Bridge. There were a lot of people there, but we didn’t have to park too far away. There is a park area, and a walkway with historic information signs  (and more bunkers and gun emplacements) and we walked out to the overlook for the bridge. Lots of picture taking.

We decided it was about time for lunch and headed back to the car. April and I investigated the bathrooms and decided that we could hold it until we got somewhere far far away from there.

We drove over the Golden Gate to get to Ocean Beach, where we ate at Beach Chalet (well, really we ate at “Park Chalet” which is the part of the restaurant that faces the park rather than the beach.) All of the other three had local beers, I had my beloved diet coke. April had wild mushroom and goat cheese pizza, Nick had the crab roll, Kenny had a burger, and I had calamari and ceviche. Oh, good April quote to Ken, I don’t remember when – “I didn’t know that you were so picky!” Uh-huh, welcome to my world. Then we had to go walk on that beach, because if I am anywhere near a beach, I have to go investigate.

This beach was sandy, with some small shells and parts of sand dollars washed up. I always have to collect some shells to take home for our shell jar. Once again, I was not allowed to take the very interesting large pieces of kelp.

Part of the fun of this trip to SF is that I have a science fiction/fantasy book that I really like called “Earthquake Weather” that is partially set in SF. So there were some locations that I really wanted to go to, like the Sutro Baths and Cliff house. The Sutro Baths were a large indoor bath house built along the ocean in the early 1900s, and they are only a ruin now. You can walk around on the old foundations, and there is a tunnel you walk into that has two cave openings to the ocean where you can hear and see the water, and a spot at the end of the tunnel where you can see the waves on the rocks.

I got Ken’s attention when I stumbled a bit on the foundations and he was pretty sure I was going to fall in.

I decided that if I was going to fall into the murky green water in the ponds or the rocks on the ocean side, I would rather fall into the water.

This is April and I reflected in the water.

After we staggered back up the large steep hill to get back to the car, we watched the sun starting to go down over the ocean, and you could see the clouds rolling in from the cold front that was supposed to move in. Over and over during the day we heard what a great day this was, how flat the ocean was, and how this was NOT TYPICAL!

Then we drove around downtown for awhile, drove the Haight Ashbury area, and then to that crazy Lombard street, that has all the turns – we were going to drive it but the line was waaaaay long so we drove to the other side and watched other crazy people drive it. We headed to the house where we started the debate on where to have dinner. G’s rule on vacations is to not eat anywhere she could eat at home – so we are supposed to go somewhere local! We tried to go to Looney’s, a BBQ place Nick and April highly recommended, but they were closed, must have given their employees the day off after T-giving. So then on to T-Rex, another bbq place, somewhat inexplicably named, because there was NO dinosaur theme, much to my disappointment. Had excellent ribs there, Ken and April had the baby back ribs, actually that is what all of us were going to have, and then our waiter gave us a bad time and told us we weren’t challenging ourselves…so Nick had the Long Cut Beef Short rib, which was something like the piece of meat Fred Flintstone orders that knocks his car over, and I had the spare ribs, which came in an order of 6 and I only managed to eat 3. They came with potato salad (red skins, fress dill! YUM!) We also ordered the side of mac and cheese with bacon, which was deeeeelicious and a huge hit. I had a ginger beer which made me feel old-timey and nostalgic for the 1890s, but was quite tasty and I am sure good for me.  And then we went home and the girls pulled out the yarn and the boys pulled out the remotes, and we discussed the possibility of cards or a board game and just never got around to it. We did watch an episode of Diners Drive Ins and Dives that had a restaurant on it that is in Berkeley and very close to Nick and April here, not sure if we will get there or not….so many things to do, so little time……

Speedy Roll Dough – Updated

I made Holland Rolls this weekend with my Mom’s speedy roll dough, and I was previously unable to find any Holland Rolls pictures that looked like hers so I thought I would make some and take pictures. I made one pan for us, one pan for our neighbors who babysit the cats, one one pan for the neighbor who helped dig me out of the snowbank.

Holland rolls are nice, because you don’t have to cut the bread, they just divide along the separations in the dough.

Recipe at bottom of post.

Pinch off a ball of dough about the size of a tennis ball. This one is a little small.

Roll it out so it is slightly oblong.

Make oblongs until you fill your pan. It took 6 to fill my pans. If I had been sensible and weighed my dough on the kitchen scale, I would have had 3 uniform pans of rolls. Shall we take bets on whether I did that?

Let’s just say I did not. The size difference is not that obvious here, but it will be later.

See, the middle one is kind of a runt.That’s ok, that is the one we will keep for ourselves.

Handy baking hint: I turn the oven on warm for a few minutes, and then turn it off, and put the rolls in to raise. If you leave it on warm , and then put the dough in, and you have a tea towel on top of it, there is always the possibility the tea towel will touch the heating element and catch on fire and that is how you start to get a reputation.  Pay no attention to the baking soda on the bottom of the oven.

And viola! They got a little more done than I might have liked, but they were fine.

Speedy Roll Dough

Measure 6 1/2 cups flour.

Combine 2 cups warm water, 1/3 cup sugar, and 2 Pkg Dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp). Stir until dissolved. Add 3 tsp salt and 2 c. of the flour. Beat 2 minutes with electric mixer (or stand mixer). Add 2 eggs and 1/3 cup shortening. Beat 1 minute. Work in remaining flour (by hand or with dough hook). Do not add all flour if it gets too stiff, or add more if it is too sticky. Cover and let rest in bowl 20 minutes. Shape and let rise 40-45 minutes, until approximately doubled in size. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Makes two 9 x 13 pans cinnamon rolls, 1 cookie sheet ranch rolls (shape into golf ball size rolls), or 3 loaf pans Holland rolls. (Mom also calls these side-by-side rolls, you make a cylinder of dough about as long as your hand is wide, and about an inch in diameter, when you pop them out of the loaf pan, they separate nicely.) Could be made into any other shape you desire, for that matter.

Over the river and through the icy snow packed highways…..

Last Friday’s drive to SD was longer than usual, not just because Ken and I had about three “discussions” before we even got out of town, on of which required me to bring out the fist of death (See Alice in the Dilbert cartoon) and threaten him with it. At least one of the discussions involved me saying when I buy my next car, the other one that I would consider besides a Toyota Matrix (which is what I currently drive, Mimi the Matrix) is a Scion. Ken things those are ugly and boxy. They are very highly rated in reliability, though. And I like unique cars. Then Ken said that maybe I should get a subaru. My opinion on those is that everybody in Colorado has one of those and also they look too much like a station wagon. So he questioned me then “Doesn’t Mimi look like a wagon?” “No, Mimi is cute.” Then he gave me one of those looks, and I said “Follow the Glenderella logic.” And he said, “So, NO logic?”  And that was when the fist of death first appeared……

Colorado roads were fine, but once we got past Cheyenne, the roads were snow packed and slippery, and the wind was blowing (as it always is in Wyoming). Several people were in the ditches, and most of them had arrived there recently because there were still people in the cars. After we turned east at Orin Junction, we had clear roads for about 10 miles, and then some of the worst roads I had ever driven on. Not only were they snowy and icy, but the snow and ice had frozen into ruts, and it was like driving over a washboard for 30 miles.

The road sign said  “Slick spots, turn off cruise control.”

As Ken said, “Slick spots, how abou the entire frickin’ road”

We refuled at Lusk, and were warning people about what travel to the west was like. We overheard  one guy saying “Just 40 miles to I-25, and then we will be fine.” Uh, no, sorry. We let him know he was going to have fun road conditions until Cheyenne. The station guys were also telling people the roads were the worst north of Lusk. Those people were in for a big surprise when they got west of Lusk. And the roads north of Lusk were also terrible, snow and ice packed, but not rutted, at least. And that didn’t slow down several people who thought they needed to go 70 mph. We no longer have any need to get anywhere that fast, must come with our advanced age or something….

The drive home took us about an hour and a half longer than usual, so that was pleasant. We did stop in and see my friend Cyndi and all her family there visiting, and dropped off a present for her.

Cyndi’s Christmas presents:

Fetching Fingerless Gloves (Pattern from Knitty, Summer 2006) I did a variation on the thumbs that I found online somewhere. The thumbs look like they are different lengths, but they are the same (really) (I hope).

Then a Christmas potholder/hot pad and two “yarn end” potholders/hot pads. They are kind of wild but they are nice and thick, this is my Grandma’s pattern for potholders.

Because they are crocheted in the round, they have a different look on each side. I did have to add some additional yarn to finish the Christmas one, ran out of the variegated. She will understand, she is a quilter.

And I got her one of my favorite pincushions – http://www.ewesful.com/ewesful.html.

By the tme we left Cyndi’s, it was dark and we had about another hour to go (at least the roads were clear here.) I told Ken it was kind of freaking me out, I wasn’t used to driving somewhere where there was so much DARK (no street lights, no buildings, etc.) all around. Usually we arrive at the ranch while it is still light.

We saw a bald eagle while we were still in Wyoming, plus many many antelope, and a shooting star as we got closer to the ranch. Ken said “Did you see that?” and I was glad he said that because I thought maybe I just saw a reflection of something in the windshield.

When we got to the ranch, my Aunt Connie and Uncle Norman were there (en route to Rapid City), and Mom was making steamburgers  for dinner. We had a good visit before they headed into Rapid City for the evening.

Speaking of that, those sandwiches are one of those things that has all sorts of regional names: Sloppy Joe, Barbecues, Taverns, Manwiches, Steamburgers…….I don’t think I had ever heard them called Taverns until I moved to Colorado. Loose meat sandwiches, Maid Rites – except sometime Maid Rites are only seasoned with salt and pepper. What do they call them in your neck of the woods?

I finished a pair of socks while I was there, and made progress on the Chevron Scarf, and then made reverse progress on the way home when I discovered I had was somehow up to 52 stitches from the proper 48 stitches, so there was some frogging (rip-it, rip-it) done there. Progress pic:

This is being made with a Magic Ball from Sophie’s Toes. The colorway is “Cosmopolitan.” I unrolled the 1st color and am alternating (per the pattern) with the unrolled ball and the yarn still on the big ball. I am into the 2nd colorway now, and we have taken a turn for the pink and purple. This is going to be a very interesting scarf.