Wonderful Guy and I decided to make the trip from Vegas to home in one day.
It was a good plan, and started pretty well. It's a long trip for one day for me...about 800 + miles. I don't do that so well any more without some psyching up for it. But it meant not spending another night in a Super 8 (after the JW Marriott honeymoon suite, one gets a bit spoiled....no chocolates on the pillow at the Super 8!). It meant a whole day at home before starting work (and who knows what that is going to hold for me...).
So we got up at 5, headed out at 6, and made really good time. Looked like we were going to make it home by 7-ish, MT...until the sign said I-70 closed at MM126 just past Glenwood Springs.
Actually, that wasn't so bad. We drove around Glenwood a bit, took a rest stop, looked for a coffee shop, then noticed east bound traffic was being let through. Maybe a thirty minute break, maybe less. Westbounders weren't as lucky as us.
However...I think the rain we had in Vegas became snow in the mountains. Winter driving conditions, holiday traffic, and perhaps some end of the day ski traffic combined to make driving very, very dicey. We say one accident involving collisions, and a few involving sliding off the road. There was an hour and a half drive from Frisco to the Eisenhower Tunnel. That's five miles. I am not sure one could call it a drive, really....
Yep. It was pretty much a parking lot out there. I am very grateful that Wonderful Guy handles that sort of thing serenely.
Down the other side, into Denver, and up north to home...where there is no snow, temps above freezing...and a world apart!
Desert in the morning, blizzard at supper, and typical fall weather at home....way late at night!
We spent yesterday with Lovely Step-Daughter and had a grand time.
First checking out the seasonal display at the Bellagio, we walked down to the Fashion Show Mall for a walk about. Bought some Ethel M chocolates, and watched alot of people. There are a lot of people watching to do in Vegas. Even on a Monday morning...
Afterwards, we drove to Red Rock Canyon for some scenery. Not far from Vegas at all, these wonderfully different rocks rise up from the desert, of different colors and shapes. Some red, some white, some all pie-bald looking. There is an old quarry located in the loop that went belly up years back (as most enterprises not related to gambling in this locale back in the day!). But I digress. It is an interesting place run by the BLM, and hard to believe one is minutes from downtown Vegas.
Then we bowled. Wonderful Guy beat both Lovely Step-Daughter and myself. But I gave him a run for the money in game three. Mostly it was fun.
Today, I think we will head toward the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.
I hear there is a 'rain maker' heading this way for Thanksgiving Day. It will be interesting to see what they call rain here. It will be more interesting to see what this 'rain maker' does to our travel plans as it moves east.
We arrived in Vegas today shortly before sunset, after spending an all-too-brief time in Salt Lake City with Middle Daughter. More about that later. (Suffice it to say it was a very good time for now, and very difficult to leave.)
Lovely Step-Daughter works at one of the better resorts, and has outfitted us in a suite...a honeymoon suite, no less! Her sense of humor knows no bounds. The resort is off the strip so all that hubbub is a world away.
We have had dinner already with Dearest Sister, Galaxie Guy, and Lovely Step-Daughter. After 450 miles, a glass of wine, and a shower the bath you would have to see to believe, I am sitting here at the laptop, in the wonderful robe that comes with the suite, munching on chocolates that were on the turned-downed bed when we returned from dinner, and feeling very much on vacation.
Except that Wonderful Guy ate all the real chocolate and left me the white chocolate...
And my favorite holiday of the year is upon us. I love Thanksgiving, and I love giving thanks. I have much to be grateful for, and I have waxed on and on about this subject. I am likely to do so again in the future.
I believe gratitude to be my center of good health, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
Four years ago I was laid off during a company merger. The lay-offs were mostly for appearances to the shareholders, and those of us laid off were chosen somewhat arbitrarily, for some better reasons, and some not so fair. When I left, I was saddened to leave a place where I had learned so much from one of the best mentors I have ever had. I was very sorry to leave a workplace filled with some of the best co-workers I have had the privilege with which to work. It was a place of refuge during one of the hardest times of my life, and a place of healing and redemption. I found new self-confidence and a renewed belief in myself while working there during the Dee-vorce.
While being walked through the lay-off, I thanked those doing the dirty deed (in as kindly a fashion as they could) for the privilege of working and learning. I thanked my supervisors and my mentors. I said good-bye to my co-workers, left toting my stuff, drove out of the parking lot, and headed down the road with tears filling my eyes. It was a sad day for me, but I was grateful for the experience, and knew if not there, then somewhere else...
I have had to start some networking this week. In this networking, I visited with one of my former co-workers. Our conversation turned to co-workers, and how that has been one of my best experiences, previously and presently. She commented that she remembered how remarkably gracefully I handled being laid off that day.
Oh my goodness.
I am glad I didn't throw a fit seeing as how I am having work my network again!
Being grateful for life's crap has almost become a game. I am always wondering what the lesson is here. Taking life on life's terms always surprises me. I cannot predict or control or manage life. I accept, go with the flow, try to learn the lesson, and thank the universe for the opportunity to learn.
See....there I went again, getting all philosophical about thanksgiving. Well, it works for me.
So anyway. I am going to be gone for the week, and don't know if I am going to get the chance to post. I will if I can, because mostly I can't shut it for long. Ask Dearest Sister.
I heard something in my 12-step program I repeated to myself no less than four times today.
"How would I act today if I believed that everything was going to turn out exactly the way it needed to be?"
I am working toward the peace and serenity that comes with that belief. It is not natural for me. I want to stick my nose and my hands and my efforts in to help control the results. All I really need to do is breath, and figure out if I have done what is necessary.
Have I? See, that's the question.
While trying to maintain, I am getting ready for vacation. Got my trip knitting ready. Must be planning to be on the road for a MONTH! I have lined out to finish...
Wonderful Guy's alpaca socks
my mittens and matchey matchey scarf (one mitten half done)
dishclothes, 3 balls worth (so that inc tribbles)
unnamed project, half complete
yarn for another pair of socks....just in case...
I travel in fear of running out of knitting. Is this normal? I think not, and neither does Wonderful Guy, but he does indulge me.
Also, I have done this. All cut out and ready to sew up for Christmas...
...cures a world of ills, or keeps me in deep denial. Either way, it works.
But even I am not that mad of a knitter! Behold the peacoat....
and the sweater vest...
along with the turtle neck and skirt....
and the bag that I have been busy knitting.
I stretched (or shrunk) the truth a tad bit. All the above are taken from, or adapted from, Nicky Epstein's book, Knits For Barbie. I am having fun with these patterns, taking care of some tail ends of yarn, fooling around with some new technics, and playing dress up with my old Barbie.
But here is my real life scarf I finished a week ago, and have been wearing since, or whenever the weather allows for the wearing of scarves. Yesterday and today it was really a bit warmish for such, being in the 70's and all. Yes, I live in Colorado... Yes, it is mid-November...
Adapted from Eunny Jang's Spectrum Scarf, knitted in some Lambspun Prism (merino, silk, and cashmere). It is yummy. I was going to make this for a gift, but as it formed, I got all selfish. It felt so good. I suffered no scarf malaise. Must knit! Must finish! Want to wear it!
When cranking up the Singing Singer this last time, I chanced to note that the manual was for the 400 series. After verifying my Singer was a Rocketeer ('the greatest sewing machine ever built'....built, mind you!) and, therefore of the 500 series, I determined I needed a more apropos manual.
So off I went to the Singer Sewing Company website and ordered me up one. Yes I did.
And it came today.
There will be no stopping me now! Actually, there has never been no stopping me when I have set my mind to something. The question has always been what ever have I set my mind to, and whatever for?!
I quote, 'you will know it's excitingly different...You'll marvel at its truly remarkable sewing and almost unbelievable ease of operation (well, yes, as a matter of fact...30+ years without a manual! Pretty easy, I must say!)...the amazing services it performs (perhaps somewhere in the manual it will tell me that my Rocketeer cleans bathrooms!), the convenience features never before built into one machine... And remember...it's made entirely in America!'
I am making peanut butter cookies tonight to take to Galaxie Guy in Vegas. We are going to exchange Christmas with Dearest Sister and Galaxie Guy, and peanut butter cookies is what I do for Galaxie Guy. So that little bit of effort has been ramped up into the Vacation Mode. That's okay. I like Galaxie Guy, I like peanut butter cookies, and I like not having to ship them this year. The recipe I use is old-fashioned, full of peanut butter and margerine, sugar, and white flour. Not so healthy, and very tasty indeed.
I won an ebay auction today for an acrylic stamp block, getting it for about 60% (including shipping) what I would have paid normally. I love winning an auction!
I have yardage in the washer, in preparation for cutting out three garments for Christmas gifts. I hope to have that little chore done before leaving on Friday. The cutting out, that is, not the sewing up. The sewing up if for doing on our return from vaycay. I am looking forward to sewing. (I may even do some fancy stitching. Watch out!)
What else...I have been knitting. I have knitted a pea coat, a sweater, a bag, and am working on a skirt. Oh yes I have! I have completed a scarf. I have started mittens, an unnamed object, and Wonderful Guy's alpaca socks are 75% complete, more or less. Wait 'til you see the photos. Be patient. I can't show them to you just yet. I am also readying my travel knitting. A scarf to match the mittens, dishclothes, the WIPs, and I am not sure what else.
And I am really glad that I had lots to be positive about today, and that I am practiced in being grateful, because we learned this morning that Friday my company filed Chapter 11.
I had alot of events this week in the evenings, and that is not my usual mode. I was worn through by Friday.
I got home from work a little early yesterday and got my around the house chores, and grocery shopping done, though. So I am good to go for the weekend, whatever I tell Wonderful Guy I want to do.
And there are possibilities.
We are almost out of Celestial Seasonings, so we might make a run to Boulder to stock up.
We might try to get a ticket to see some blond Bond...James Blond...
And I have to ramp up Vaycay prep. Yes, another vacation is in the works. Yes, we are going to Vegas AGAIN! I surely do wish the people I love would live in a place I love. On the up side...I get to see Dearest Sister, Lovely StepDaughter, and First Niece.
Also. ALSO! Just this morning....my most Wonderful Guy figured out how we can see Middle Daughter, too. We are going to make the trip...via Salt Lake. We will be there one night, getting to see her and the SO before heading on to Vegas, baby.
Now if the weather holds. We will be driving where the roads can be closed quickly!
Sunday afternoon, I made Wonderful Guy take me to the Alpaca Breeders Exhibition. I really really wanted to get some paco-vicuna to try to spin. It is luscious stuff, and priced accordingly. I just want enough to taste.
I found some from the Switzer-Land people from Estes Park, just 1/2 ounce, and that is enough.
In the looking around for PV people, I tripped across some roving that was very pretty. But I was prudent. I said I was going to think about it. After all, I still have fleece I am working through. (So prudent she is!)
After making my decision on the paco-vicuna, Wonderful Guy asks me about 'the other'. I replied, 'oh, I don't know...' He then says something to the effect of we're here now and it a good opportunity...'
Oh twist my arm!
8 ounces later....he says "when will I learn?" I say I hope NEVER!
Also, I bought some buttons. No plans for them. Just really liked them!
Yep. These girls are mighty serious about their wildness, too. Don't get in their way. They are not to be taken lightly, these six year olds. They will take you down.
Dearest Sister found this photo of my sixth birthday party in the 'Way Back Machine'. That is me, Iron Needles (before I was Iron Needles...) holding something in the front, and that is Dearest Sister, looking covetously on. She is going to take control of it the minute I lay it down. Be sure of that.
Immediately to my right, and the only one looking like she is having fun, is BFF. We became Best Friends Forever in kindergarten, and still are in touch today. If you follow the comments on this blog, she signs off as 'Tish'. We were inseparable back in the day. She says she considered Dearest Sister and myself as sisters. I know most weekends we were at one or the other's homes. I also remember we got into a fair amount of trouble together, but this is not the forum for that now, is it!
I remembered two of the other girls, as they lived in our 'hood, but drew a blank when it came to the rest of the party. I emailed the photo to BFF and asked if she recognized any of them. She had some ideas, but nothing that rang bells for me. For me, it's about Dearest Sister and BFF, and the house on Walnut in Greensburg in front of which we are standing where Dearest Sister and I was mostly raised, and which is no longer there since the tornado.
Interestingly enough, Dearest Sister was through Greensburg not long ago, and remarked that a Habitat House has been built on this same lot. While the tornado has completely changed landscape of my hometown, it is still alive.
I know where Dearest Sister lives and what she is doing...powerful exec by day, struggling blogger by night. I know where BFF is and what she is doing...moving force in the rebuilding of the community stricken by the. most. powerful. tornado EVER, television star (yes she is!), wife and mother and healthcare professional. I know who and what I am trying to do...crazy cat woman, cookie baker extraordinaire, book collector, and yarn hoarder (shhh...don't tell Wonderful Guy!) I know one of my party peeps was taken by cancer. The others? Well, maybe one became Hillary Clinton's personal assistant and confidente, and will soon write a tell-all memoir. Another, maybe, is living barefoot in the hills of Northern California, eating pine nuts and hugging trees and making her own wine . One is an artist in Paris, drawing horses, mostly. She was always good at drawing horses...and one is a rocket scientist. Because one always needs to be a rocket scientist in the posse.
She held a comment contest, whereby she asked us for our favorite movie quote. Then she arbitrarily chose one, and designed and worked a bit of original embroidery with the quote, about the movie.
Remember the book fair, when my goal was to find The Phantom Tollbooth and The Princess Bride? (that and stock up with reading material for the next year at bargain basement prices filling my insatiable need to read AND save money AND support the Friends of the Library. But I digress....) The Princess Bride is one of my favorite books, and when it was made into a movie, I was pleasantly surprised. It has since become one of my favorite movies and most often quoted.
When the kids were/are around, and were/are taking off on some escapade, they mostly leave with my admonishment, 'You kids have fun stormin' the castle!' At first, the Lovely Step-Children were a bit flummoxed not being as familiar with this movie as my offspring were. What, exactly, was this woman telling them to do...and just how old was she???
This is a very quotable movie...
'Mahwadge...iz wat bwings uhs here todway...'
and the always useful...
'My name is Inigo Montoya...you killed my father...prepare to die.'
Really. I must stop.
So last Friday Wonderful Guy tells me I got a package. Well! It's from Liverpool! (See. I have international readers. I do! Also, where the Beatles first played...but I digress.)
And this is what bounty lay inside.
I am just tickled with the way Emily conveyed the movie and the quote.
Immediately, The Cat Who Would Be Queen was on the table batting at the little pin with the embroidered sewing machine. Silly kitty. It's not for her!
...Wednesday since a post. Geesh. Blogtoberfest really took it out of me...or maybe the all election ad-age left a empty spot in my heart....or maybe not so much that.
Seems there have been some corners turned at work, and that is good. Very good. However, it has been a long time coming, and the feelings of uneasiness won't disappear without a bit of time as well. Plus there is all the people that I so enjoyed working with that have left. A bit of the soul and joy is gone from there.
I sewed on Saturday. But first, I cleaned and lubed my Singing Singer. Let me tell you a bit about my Singer. It was a wedding gift from my mother when I married the X. It was a used machine when she gave it to me. (Me, she gave it to ME, I tell you! And I took her when he left, too. Yes, I did, and I entertained no ideas to the contrary. Nosirreebob.) My Singing Singer is a 1961 500a Rocketeer. Oh yes it is! Made to last one hundred years! Space age styling! Top of the line! The last of the heavy metal machines! And also 47 years old.
But she still humming away, making curtains on Saturday for Only Step-Son as doors for his closet and a valance for his window. He thought they were very all right! I have some other things in the queue for Christmas projects. It felt very good to sew even if the project was very simple.
I have a long history of sewing. Momma was very a very adept seamstress, and started teaching me pretty much as soon as she was sure I wasn't going to run my fingers through the presser foot. I am serious! And instead of Girl Scouts, which I dearly wanted to join, we joined 4-H.
There was some blather about the things I learned in 4-H...cooking, sewing, knitting (like what of that stuff do I do today? Gosh.) would serve me well for years to come, and the stuff of Brownies were transitory...but gosh, they had uniforms! And every girl in 1st grade was wearing those uniforms every Tuesday to school, except me. Oh, the angst! And then I heard the real reason. The big girls? They were in Girl Scouts. And Mom was even a leader...a leader who thought more of the cookie sales should go to the troop than the council, apparently. So no Scouts for the little girls....on principle! Mother's principles...no uniform for me. And that is why I am the warped social throwback I am today, no doubt. But I digress....back to 4-H...
I was in 4-H for 3 years, if I remember right, and entered in the county fair twice. Here are my awards. Yep. I still have them. This was big stuff for me. No uniforms, but I got my ribbons!
I got my grand champion ribbon. I got my reserve champion ribbon. I am...this old...and am still proud as punch of that little 10 year old girl that walked away with the big prize. And I was one of the youngest to get the big prize. But I sewed all. that. freakin'. SUMMER! when I just wanted to be out playing and hanging and swimming with Dearest Sister and all the kids in the 'hood.
I got blue ribbons for all my sewing and knitting projects, for my cake and my brownies, too. Which, to be honest, I didn't think were anything to be proud of and I did not make from scratch probably ever again. Those red ribbons? For chocolate chip cookies...which I make ALL the time, FROM scratch, and EVERYONE loves. My specialty, almost.
I am just all a-flutter that I finally live in a blue state!
It's been many years....like...NEVER!
I have been voting since I turned 18 in 1973 (do the math!), the year after they gave the vote to 18 year olds. (Yep. I remember back in the day when 18 year olds could be drafted to go fight in a war and die, but didn't have the right to vote.)
My first national election was 1974, in the middle of Watergate. My first presidential election was 1976. I think I voted for Carter. I may not have. I like him now though. I like to think I voted for him.
I have lived (and voted) in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Colorado. I take that back. I was not old enough to vote when I lived in Kansas.
All those states last night? Red. Except where I am living now...and whooping it up, doing my own little happy dance...in the privacy of my own little heart and soul and mind. And in the semi-privacy of my blog for all the innerwebs to see.
Because that's what us middle-aged white chicks do!
I am thinking I will be remembering the 2008 election like I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and Armstrong and Aldrin landing on the moon in 1969. These are events that remain imprinted on my consciousness for my lifetime, that I marvel I was witness to.
(There are other events all imprinting up my consciousness, but some of them are downers, man, and we don't need anyone bringing us down today, man...)
Interesting...1969, 1989, almost 2009...every 20 years...
Last week, I was awarded my first recognition, and forwarded to others. And from that, it has circled back around to me again. I think that is pretty cool.
I am not going to repeat the awarding effort, but I do want to thank Lynne, and Kate, and Wunx~, and LenaL for letting me know how much they appreciate reading my effort. (By the by...LenaL is Swedish. See. Another international reader!)
So the holidays are almost upon us...Thanksgiving, for those of us in the states, and Christmas/Hanukkah next month. That generally means some cooking and baking is going to be happening...for those of us who do that sort of thing. Which I do.
Now this year for Thanksgiving, Wonderful Guy and I are traveling to Sin City, not because that is our favorite place in the world to go, but because some of our favorite people in the world live there. (Please move, Dearest Sister, Beautiful Step Daughter, and First Niece. We want to visit other places.) Dearest Sister will be in charge of The Dinner. I suppose I will have to help, but it will be her kitchen.
If The Dinner were in my kitchen, with The Offspring in attendance, there would be certain menu items that would be required. Expected! DEMANDED Grave Disappointment would be evident if these dishes did not make an appearance on the table.
In no particular order, our menu would be as follows:
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy. Green bean casserole. (this is a 3 star item) Cheesy broccoli casserole. (this is is a 3 star item) Grandma Perry's orange salad. (this is a 2 star item, only because it generally gets left in the fridge.) Hot bread of some sort. Grandma Perry's pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. (another 2 star item, only because of the generally overfull condition of the revelers by this time)
I swear I could skip the turkey.
Here is the recipe (and story) for the cheesy broccoli casserole. Originally a cauliflower casserole, the recipe comes from Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, where there is a exhibit of Shaker history. Buildings, engineering, ferry, it is something to see if you are in the area. The restaurant was always a treat when we lived there, and I assume is still. So anyway. All authentic, all Shaker-ish...especially the part in the recipe that uses Velveeta. I know those Shakers were all about using processed cheese spread!
Cheesy broccoli casserole (as I have written it out for my daughters. Pardon my humor...)
10 oz of brocolli, cooked. (Follow the directions on the package. It is not rocket science) 1/4 lb (114 g) of Velveeta cheese ½ stick of butter 12-15 Ritz crackers (or equivalent), crushed
Melt cheese with ½ butter. Combine with brocoley, and mix well. Put in small casserole. Melt remaining butter, and mix with broken up crackers. Sprinkle on top of cheesey broccollee. Bake at 350 F (do your own converting to Celsius) for 30 minutes (until bubbly and crackers are sort of toasty)
Come back tomorrow. I have some recipe books I am going to give away in celebration of this cooking/baking time of year.
Grandbebe Girl came over to play. The bebe mama and daddy were gone most of the day, and we had a famous time.
We went to a near-by park, and had a very good time. Then buzzed over to a lys that is closing out. Wonderful Guy stayed with Grandbebe Girl in the car. One of the things she likes to do at Grandmama's is play with the tail end balls of yarn. I didn't think a place with walls of items with which she believes she has free rein was such a good idea. I wasn't there long anyway! Since she dozed on the way to the yarn shop, a nap was mostly out.
So we played with tupperware kitchen stuff, and old FisherPrice toys, and we colored, and we walked around the block.
We played with yarn.
And we loved on Best Dog Ever, who showed why she is the Best Dog Ever.
Yep. I had pretty much the best Sunday ever.
She is a marvel for me, proof that I didn't do everything wrong in raising my girls. I don't believe I could have, and have her momma be such a good momma, and for her to be such a happy, well-loved girl.
First, my new best friend is Tomtom, our GPS which led me around to new places in The Big City WITHOUT FAIL even when I didn't follow the given directions so good.
I arrived at my first meet up early, so did my shopping (1 lb of chocolate covered almonds! the best oil and vinegar salad dressing in the world! and a surprise for Wonderful Guy...shhhh!) then sat on a bench, outside, in the sun, and knitted until College Friend arrived. Ahhhhh....glorious Colorado!
And I see that Dearest Sister has posted a photo of the same establishment, Eastern version, on her blog. Going to Andres is one of our favorites things to do together. Even if I couldn't be with Dearest Sister, Wisest Sister, and Precious Niece for their visit, it was nice to be where I was yesterday, in a very similar atmosphere, same logo, same place mats, same desserts (I had a Matterhorn!) same banners and bells hanging from the rafters.
It is a personal redemption of mine to be someone a bit different than the clueless and lost 18-year-old I was when I first knew this wonderful person. And I am grateful for this friendship that has been renewed in person after so many years of holiday card exchanges. I do not doubt the important of tenuous connections, no matter how long and thin they may seem. After two hours of delicious bites in between wonderful catching up, it was time to advance to my next stop.
Again, I reach The Lamb Shoppe with nary a blip. Huzzah for TomTom! I walked in and immediately recognized (and liked!) Liz from Lizzzknits. After a brief orientation of the shop, and a drink purchase, we settled at a table and pulled out our WIPs and started getting to know more about each other that we have discovered through our blogging efforts. I count her among my real life friends now, and look forward to when I next get to see her. Thanks, Liz, for making the effort to meet me, Saturday, and for all you shared. Also, no purchases made. And I repeat, except for a bottle of water, I spent not a dime...but only because Liz bought the last sz. med. sock blockers.
After closing down the lys, I traveled back north to the 50th birthday party of the relative-ish person. Again, I was early, because, again, Tomtom, I love you! I didn't stay longer at the party than to greet and chat with the relative-ish people, who made me feel welcome, who were thrilled to see me, and who were so glad I was there. Hmmm, according to them, relation isn't all about blood! Who knew?! Guess the second guessing was all on my part! Guess that's why I always thought they were such special people!
I arrived home pleased with the day, but exhausted.
It takes a push for me to get out for a day like this. There is alot of fear to get past...being out of control, fear of people, fear of disapproval. I was on my own, had make my plans, cover my bases, and rely on me (and Tomtom and my cell phone...yea for technology!). I am aware of my fears of people and disapproval so while that stuff mostly niggles in the background, it is still something that the little girl inside me, standing by herself on the playground, needs assurance about. So I put my arm around her, and told her, 'come on, we were going to have some fun, and I would be there with her!'
And we did.
PS My exciting, extraordinary day happened on Saturday. I had most of this written to post on Sunday, then Grandbebe Girl came to stay, and the rest is history!