Monday, July 26, 2010

Colorado Vacation or Boy, Am I Tired!

We just got home last Friday from a trip to Colorado to see one of our daughters, our son-in-law, and two of our fantastic grand kids. Our daughter and son-in-law played tour guide for us and had something planned everyday we were there. We had a wonderful time and I took about 600 pictures of which probably less then 100 are good, but that's the way it goes when you take pictures through the window of a moving car or train. Did I forget to mention we took Amtrak's California Zephyr to Colorado and back to California? Darling hubby informed me that the train trip was a once every 63 years kind of thing to do. The trip took 30 hours from Vacaville, Ca to Denver, Co and the same going back. We didn't have a sleeper car but the seats all lean back and have leg and foot rests so you were able to kind of sleep on the train. The food on the train was very expensive and not good so on the way home we got small insulated lunch bags and packed our food and water with us. It wasn't the most comfortable way to travel, but the seats were bigger than airline seats and it was the experience I wanted. This is the California Zephyr pulling into the Davis, Ca station where we embarked.



This is the Denver's Union Station where we got off.

Denver's train station entrance.



This is a picture of the front of our train. I'm in the back of the train and it was moving around in a circle to climb a steep grade on our way home.
To be continued...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quilting and Shopping

Today I spent with my darling daughter at her quilt block of the month meeting. She goes to the Sweetheart Quilt shop here in Loveland. She's making some really lovely quilts and it's a very nice shop with very nice owners. When we were done there we went shopping for some clothes for me. I found some very nice things and it was a pleasure shopping. This afternoon we just hung out at home and tried to recover from all the running around.

Boulder, Colorado

Yesterday we went into Boulder, Co. Everything is so beautiful here. Still having a little trouble with the high altitude. We went on the Celestial Seasonings tea factory tour. It was really interesting to learn how they blend their teas. We went into their Mint Room where they store there mint leaves, which are peppermint, spearmint, and catnip. Yes, there is catnip in their Tension Tamer tea because it has a calming affect on humans. The mint smell is so strong that if they left the door open all day you would be able to smell the mint 2 miles away. The mint is stored in a sealed room so that the smell can't contaminant the whole factory.

After we left the tea factory, we went to the Boulder Ice Cream factory tour. It is a small factory that makes their ice cream in batches as it is ordered. We bought a bunch after the tour. Good ice cream.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Thursday we took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. What can I say about this beautiful, majestic, wonderous work of God? I'll blog more about this when I get home and download my pictures.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mile High Stadium, Cherry Cricket, and Candy

Today we set off for Denver to tour the Denver Broncos Mile high stadium. It was an awesome tour. Our tour guide took us into a sky box where you could see the whole stadium. It's $200,000 to rent that box for the entire season and it doesn't include food! If you are going to rent one, you have to rent it for the entire season. We also learned that the nosebleed section in the stadium has a 35 degree pitch to it.  That is really steep. I think I would not like sitting there. Seats in that section are $52.00.

 Our guide took us into the press box and broadcasting box, the visiting locker room, (no one is allowed into the Broncos locker room), one of the beer keg rooms, one of the party rooms, the private club that costs $500.00 to get in to, and down on the field.  We saw the beautiful gigantic sculpture of 7 horses running up a mountain with a waterfall out front of the stadium. The tour took about 75 minutes and was well worth the money. It was only $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for kids.                                                   

After the tour, we went to Duffy's Cherry Cricket. It's a neighborhood bar that has been featured on the Food Network's program, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." They are known for their hamburgers and other great bar food. It was a really nice meal but I almost had a heart attack when they brought the bill. Suffice it to say it was pricey!

Our last stop was at the Hammond Candy Factory. They make all their candy by hand and even package it by hand. They only have one facility in the whole United States and some of the workers have been there more than 30 years. They make all the ribbon candy and candy canes that you see at Christmas and a thing called a Mitchell Bar that is a homemade marshmallow wrapped in homemade caramel. Their factory tour was short but fascinating. It was really interesting to see them making the candy by hand. Well, I took pictures of all of this but since I'm not on my home computer, you will have to wait to see them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

We just spent two days on the train going to Denver.  It was a very relaxing trip and I'm glad we did it. It was a little hard sleeping in the coach seats but because there wasn't a full train, darling hubby took the two seats in front of me, so we could both stretch out. We went through some beautiful country and I took some great pictures that I will post when I get home.

Today we spent some time here in Loveland visiting the Visitor Center and the Sculpture Garden and then Kim and Mike took us to Fort Collins to the New Belgium Brewery. They make Fat Tire Amber Ale there as well as a lot of other micro brews like Sunshine, Mothership, Ranger, and Skinny Dip. This is the girl that hated beer until today. I really liked the Fat Tire and Sunshine beers. And here's the picture to proof it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Still..On the road again...

On the train headed for Denver. Arrival time 7:18pm. More to come tomorrow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On the road again....

I just can't wait to get on the road again. I love that song. It means that I get to travel. Darling hubby and I are off to Denver this morning by train. It's a 31 hour trip from Vacaville. I'm really excited about traveling on the California Zephyr. We are taking our daughter to breakfast and then she's taking us to the train station. I'll have lots to say later.
P.S. Psycho Dog is a lot better.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

American Beauty-Double Delight

Oh my aching back! I've been working on a quilt block of the month for two days. It took me almost all day yesterday just to cut out two blocks and it took me almost all day today to sew one of them. It took so long because I had to take frequent breaks to rest my back because I need to be able to get on the train and go to Denver on Sunday. I get so knotted up when I'm sewing that sometimes I don't know why I do it. Then I look at the finished product and say to myself, "Oh that's why I do it." This block is called "Double Delight" and it has 49 pieces.  This is for a quilt called "American Beauty" and it is going to be beautiful when it's finished. We do one block a month with our local quilt shop, "A Quilted Heart" and the last block is done in January. I'm doing two of these quilts because my daughter Kim saw this and wanted the finished quilt. I loved it so much that I knew I had to do one for her and one for me.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Psycho Dog

I have two male boxers. Our oldest one, Frankie is between 10 and 12 years old. The youngest one, Lucky, aka Psycho Dog, is around 5 years old. Lucky is the sweetest dog most of the time, but he has issues. We adopted both dogs from NorCal Boxer Rescue a couple of years ago. Lucky and his mother had been put out in a back yard to starve to death. When they were rescued, neither of the dogs weighed even 40 lbs. Lucky now weighs somewhere around 60 to 65 lbs. I think because of that abuse he has issues with food and eating everything he can get his mouth on. If we are not there to pick up the poop as soon as he does it, he'll eat it. He's not good with little kids, which is unusual for a boxer, so we have to keep him away from our grand kids or watch him closely when he's around them. He's jealous of any attention I pay towards Frankie and even to my husband. He will try and put himself in between me and the object of my affection. He also seems to know any time we are getting ready to leave on vacation. We don't take them with us, but we always get our daughter to house sit and take care of the dogs while we are gone.

Lucky will start moping around a few days before we leave. He will eat less, drink less, sometimes vomit or have diarrhea. The last three days he's been doing that again. I've taken him to the vet each time and they can't find anything wrong with this dog. It's frustrating because I really can't afford another vet bill for his head trip but I don't want to see the dog really sick and not pay attention. I'm taking him off all food today and we'll see how he feels tomorrow.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Leftover Blueberries

Yesterday I made that fantastic blueberry pie but I had prepared too many blueberries and had about 1 1/2 cups leftover. This is what I made this morning with the leftovers. New England Blueberry Coffee Cake.
It was a little gooey in the middle, but I think that was because I used so many blueberries and the blueberries already had sugar and a little flour on them because they were supposed to go in the pie. My hubby loved it anyway.





Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hmm! Hmm!

My mouth is very happy right now. A few days ago my darling daughter #1 won a pie contest with a Blueberry Pie recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book, "Baking From My House to Yours." I love pie and I hardly ever make it myself because it never turns out right. I was inspired by my daughter and since I have the same cookbook, I decided to give it a whirl. Dorie says the trick to a good pie crust is to make sure your butter and shortening are very cold, even frozen. Last night I cut my butter and shortening into small pieces and I froze them. Today when I was making the pie crust in the food processor, I was amazed at how easy the crust came together. The only downside of this pie is that some of it leaked out of the crust into my oven so I have to clean that tomorrow, but the pie was so worth it. Here's some pictures.




This is a definite keeper recipe.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

What's Meant To Be

Do you believe in love at first sight? I'm not sure I do, but I believe that there are things that are meant to be.
My hubby and I have a great meant to be story. I had been divorced about five years and was not dating very much and that was okay with me. I was 44 years old and had two daughters that were 19 and 22. My oldest daughter was away at college and my youngest one was engaged and planning her wedding.

One night my friend Michele, called me and asked if I would like to go to dinner with her. I said yes and she asked if I would pick her up at her office because her daughter had her car. I said yes and when I got there, she was on the phone. Now Michele had been divorced about 5 years also and was not dating. As soon as I saw her face, I knew she was talking to a man because she was as red as a beet and just saying uh ha, uh ha.
She put her hand over the mouthpiece and said this guy wants to go out with me. I asked her if he sounded nice and she shook her head yes. I told her to go ahead and make a date with him at a local restaurant and don't get in his car. She made a date to meet him at Bakers Square for coffee a couple of days later.

When she got off the phone, she said, "I don't want to go out with him." I said, "Why not, does he sound like an axe murderer." She said no, but she didn't want to go out with him. Michele explained to me that a patient named Marilyn had come in for treatment and told Michele that she just had to meet her friend, Mike. That he would be perfect for Michele and she just wouldn't give up. Michele told her she would let her know if she wanted to meet Mike and Marilyn took that as a yes. She went home and called Mike and gave her Michele's office number and told him to call. That's when I found Michele on the phone with Mike.

We went to dinner, and for two hours I tried to convince her that she should meet him, but as I was talking to her, I had a very strong feeling that I was the one that should meet him. It was weird because I was not the type of person that went on blind dates or would give my phone number to any random person. At the end of the evening, Michele told me that she was going to call Marilyn and tell her to call Mike and let him know she wouldn't be meeting him. I told her if she was really not going to meet him, to give him my phone number.

Three days later, Mike called me. He had a very pleasant voice and manner about him and I agreed to meet him for lunch at Bakers Square. I arrived at Bakers Square first and when he came in and introduced himself, the first thing I noticed about him was his eyes. He has the most beautiful hazel eyes with eyelashes that most women would die for. He told me he was a widower with two small children. He was five years older then me but he and his late wife had the children later in their marriage. They had been married 22 years when she passed away. His daughters were 5 and 8 when their mother died. He showed me pictures of these beautiful little girls with eyes like his and he was so proud of them. I told him about my two girls and how proud I was of them and showed him pictures. We sat and talked for 3 hours. By the end of that date I knew this person was going to be special to me. We got married 14 months to the day after we met and we've been married over 13 years now. He's my lover, my best friend and the best companion I could ever hope to have. I'm sure that it was God's voice I was hearing whispering in my ear that day, telling me I was the one that was supposed to meet Mike. By the way, Michele was our wedding photographer!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Wii Fourth of July

We had a really nice 4th of July weekend. Daughter #3 and her boyfriend came up for the weekend and spent some time cleaning out her storage locker to move the rest of her stuff to LA. So I guess that means she intends to stay in LA. Both she and daughter #4 were sharing the storage locker, so they helped her move her stuff to her apartment here in Vacaville. I'm sure she will have to go though a lot of stuff and throw it away.

Brian borrowed his parents Wii and brought it up here so we could try it out. We had so much fun with it, that we bought one. Hopefully it will help darling hubby and I to get up and move. I also think it might stave off memory loss. We got the Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort with it and really had a fun time bowling. We both liked the 100 pin bowling. Megan tells me that I will really enjoy the boxing when I've had a frustrating day at work and want to punch somebody out. I think I'll try it.

I barbecued tri-tip and after we ate, hubby took the kids downtown and dropped them off for the fireworks so we could play with the Wii by ourselves. Ha Ha! We really had a relaxed time this weekend, which is just the way I like it.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July and that we take time out from our picnics and fireworks to think about the sacrifice of our military men and women that allow us to celebrate our freedom. Freedom isn't free but they are willing to put their lives on the line every day for us. I just want to thank them all and share a picture I found in my Grandmother's pictures. She didn't write on the back of it to let us know who this was, but he was important enough to keep the picture.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Kitchen Drawer

Why do I save the things I do in that special kitchen drawer, known as the junk drawer? I have one neat bundle in a gallon sized zip lock bag of directions for different household products, like my stove and refrigerator, my dishwasher , gas grill, Weber barbecue grill, bread machine, and a Showtime Rotissere Barbecue machine. Each time I find a nut, screw or bolt laying around it goes in the junk drawer because I don't know where it came from, but I will need it as soon as I throw it away. I have nails and a hammer in there and picture hangers, a barbecue lighter with no fluid and coupons that should have been thrown out 2 years ago. There is also a paint brush, allen wrenches, bag clips and pencils.

I never want to move out of my house because the sad fact is, this is just one drawer. I accumulate things that long ago outlived there usefulness and I have a hard time getting rid of it. Oh, I don't mean my house looks like the houses in that show "Hoarders", but we could all learn to live with less. I think I'm going to spend the rest of this year, using one day a week to sort and throw things away that I don't need anymore. I'm going to try to streamline my life.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Pain

I made a commitment to write something every day this month. The topic today is pain. Like in the back pain I'm having right now, that is making it difficult to sit here and write this. It started yesterday when I was cleaning up the house and then sewing in the afternoon. My back goes into spasms and if I don't listen to my body, quit what I'm doing and start icing immediately, I pay the price. Yesterday I didn't listen to my body, so I'm knotted up today. I will be icing today for sure and taking a muscle relaxer.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo is a challenge to blog everyday this month. The theme for July is Saved. I'm going to start the month by thinking about all the things I save and how I have been saved. Jesus Christ is my Savior and that is the most important part of saved for me. I know I will be with him in his kingdom someday and I am grateful that he died on the cross for my sins and rose again on the third day to prepare a place for me to live with him forever.

A couple of things I have saved in recent years are these:

Frankie is in the dog bed and Lucky is laying outside the dog bed. I adopted them from NorCal Boxer Rescue in December 2007 and January 2008. Frankie is now about 10 -12 years old and Lucky is about 5 years old. They really bring a lot of fun to our household. They both have their own issues but for the most part have been great in our home and I wouldn't trade them for anything.