Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Swetsville Zoo

Having the Once Upon family come for a visit was the perfect excuse to go somewhere I've been dying to go.  You see, once we moved, I had to drive by a place that my kids have been to, but I haven't.  And I have to do it almost daily.

With Itty Bit here, I had the brilliant idea of using him as the excuse to get to go.  It didn't hurt that I know how much he loves heavy equipment, so I figured that critters made from heavy equipment would be a hit.

I just hopped it wouldn't be a flop.  Especially after we'd spent an hour in the car.

See that running Itty Bit?
That was our view most of the time.
Turns out, it wasn't a flop. We were constantly playing catch up with Running Itty Bit.  And talk about precocious!  He could name what the critters were made out of.  I don't know how he did it.  I had to keep asking Jay what things were.

The only reason he slowed down was to read the sign.
I made Jay pose.
It's a good thing he's game for anything.
How cute are these babies?

More posing :)
Itty Bit loved that damn horn.
And isn't Rachel gorgeous?

Mr Daddy was pretty excited to find this "steelhead".
The Swetsville Zoo has been a landmark for decades and I'm ashamed I had never been there before.  I really had no excuse, but make no mistake, I will be returning.  Probably to take Nebalee's heathens, though there's a couple of really nice places by the river that might be nice to sit at and write.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

25 years.

Mom and Bill have been married 25 years.  Dang, that's a long time.

The story of Casa Bonita was the subject of a True Story Tuesday hosted by Rachel and Mr. Daddy a few years ago.  So it only seemed natural that when they came to visit, we had to meet them there.

We've met Rachel face-to-face before, at High Country Rendezvous, and we've been trying to get her back with Mr. Daddy and Itty Bit. Things just seemed to line up perfectly and plans fell into place and next thing we knew, they were here!

It was fabulous to see them, even though we pretty much ran them ragged. So much for a weekend of relaxation. They have to go home to relax (as I'm typing this, they're still an hour away from home after getting up before the sun to catch their flight). Itty Bit was a good sport about being dragged all over the northern part of Colorado.  We started their whirlwind tour at Casa Bonita, using them as an excuse to get Mom and Bill there for their 25th Anniversary.  Sneaky, no?

Before we even got in the door, Jay was making trouble with Itty Bit. Of course, once the cameras came out, Itty Bit got all sorts of shy.  Apparently, it's funnier to laugh at Jay "peeing" in the fountain than to pose yourself.

Bill put on his "no paparazzi" face once we got into the restaurant, and this is the best picture I could get:

"No photos, please"
After I showed Rach the bruise the dentist gave me, she offered to punch me so I'd have a better story.  Here's photographic evidence that Rach popped me a good one.  Pay no attention orneriness you see in her face (let's just say Itty Bit comes by it honestly).

I didn't take a lot of pictures, because I was having too much time gabbing with everyone and watching Itty Bit's reactions to the cliff divers and Black Bart's skits.

However, there are a couple of mandatory picture spots in Casa Bonita - the little inlet at the base of the waterfall and the fountain.

I think Rachel has more pictures on her camera, and I'm pretty certain Mom and Bill, do too.  Well, they've got pictures on the camera Bill didn't drown on their vacation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


We have some very special guests coming in on Thursday!

Expect lots of posts and pics.  So far, we've got Casa Bonita and Swetsville Zoo on the menu.  I'm trying to work in some gun powder therapy, too.

Any guesses who's coming a visiting?

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Weight Loss Plan

Well, it isn't really a weight loss plan, not one that I'd recommend anyway.

You see, I've had a lot of dental work done since August.  I started with not one, but two, root canals that went bad and got abcessed.  My face was swollen.

I had the two offending teeth removed.  My face was swollen.

I had some work done on a molar last week.  My dentist inadvertently ruptured a blood vessel in my cheek.  Guess what?  My face is still swollen (and black and blue, looks like Jay belted me).

I've still got a fair bit of dental work to go, so my face will continue to be swollen.

My weight loss plan? (I know, you were trying to figure out where I was going with the swelling thing.)

Wait for all of the swelling to go away!  I'll look like I've dropped ten pounds and won't have had to do a damn thing.  Okay, okay, it's more of an illusion, but still...

What do you think?  Brilliant, I know!

From Google Images

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Not Even Mom's Recipes Are Safe

I'll pretty much bastardize anyone's recipes, including my own mother's.

I know you're asking, "what pray tell, have you done now?".  I'd be asking the same thing, but I didn't do much to change Mom's Spicy Sausage Potato Soup, just figured out an even faster way to make it.

Mom can whip this puppy out in almost no time.  Subtract six minutes and you've got it even faster.  I cheated, I use canned diced potatoes, thereby taking away the need to cook and cut them.  I also added kale, because I really, really love Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana. 

Drum roll, please...GunDiva's Totally Ripped-off From Her Mom Sausage Potato Soup:

1 lb spicy sausage, browned
½ c. onion, thinly sliced
½ c. celery, chopped
1 c. chopped Kale
1-2 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
2-3 c. milk
2 cans diced potatoes, drained

Saute’ onion and celery with sausage. Add all ingredients to a large soup pan, bring to a slow boil, simmer 15-20 minutes.

A word of warning - be careful not to break the milk.  I brought mine to a boil too quickly and the milk broke.  It didn't scorch, thank God, but it didn't look very pretty. Tasted good, though. The kale really adds something wonderful and is a cheap ingredient.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We're Having People Over

The apartment is finally put together enough to have visitors, and what a better excuse than to host a home party?

I was lia sophia consultant years ago, but spent more than I made (hell, who can resist a 70% savings on jewelry?) so I cut my losses and moved on.  However, I still love the product and agreed to host a party.  See...it appeared that I was doing my cousin a favor by booking a party off of hers, but the reality is, it was the perfect excuse to have people over.

Jay's been slaving in the kitchen all day, because this is exactly the kind of thing he loves (and he might have been the one to suggest booking a party).  He's making mini-tacos, mini-pizzas, and brownies.  But not like I'd make.  Nope, he's making fancy stuff and it will turn out fabulous, just like it always does. 

I did contribute one of my favorite foods, Bacon-wrapped Jalapenos of Happiness.  If nothing else, we'll eat well.

Cross your fingers, though, 600 square-feet isn't a whole lot of space for having people over.  There's not much butt space, so I hope people don't mind getting cozy.
Image from Google Images

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adventure by Proxy

Baking Weekend 2011
Robs, Sue, Staci, me

You know how much I love "my girls"?  Robs, Stace, and Sue?  And how much I treasure our rare get-togethers?

They are some of my oldest (and by oldest, I mean, I've known them a long time, not as in we're getting old, because we're not) friends.

This year, Baking Weekend is going to be a little different - we're losing my birthday twin, Staci.  She and her husband have sold pretty much everything they owned and bought a sailboat.  They're planning on spending the next couple of years sailing.

I'm super happy for them, even though I'm going to miss Stace a whole heap.  I mean, how often do dreams like this come true?  They've been plotting their escape for a long time and the fact that they're able to do it makes my heart happy.

Stace has started a blog, Shambala Sails, to detail their adventures.  I might not be on the boat with them, but I'm looking forward to living vicariously through their blog (and I don't have to worry about sea-sickness).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Resuming Life

A Family Affair -
Nebalee, Asset, Ashinator and me

You know how much I love the 9HealthFair?  Sure you do, I talk about it pretty much every April.

Well, I love it so much, I thought it would be a good idea to host a Family 9HealthFair.  Nevermind that the spring fairs consume my life from January through April, that wasn't nearly enough, apparently.  Nope, why not let it consume my life from June through September, too?

Jay's pretty patient.  I'm certain there was nothing in our wedding vows about being a 9HealthFair widower eight months out of the year, yet he never grumbles.  It's not like I get paid an additional salary for all of my work with the fair - it's a volunteer-run organization (for the most part - there are 20 paid employees that oversee the tens of thousands of volunteers state-wide).

And this year, it wasn't just me involved.  I recruited Nebalee to be my Wellness Coordinator.  The fall fairs are different from the springs ones in that the focus is on families, so I needed someone to coordinate kids' and family activities.  Cue Nebalee.

She did an outstanding job.  Her ideas really elevated our fair.  She asked for teddy bears to give out to the kids, so that she could teach "Teddy Bear First Aid". 
Is this the best idea ever or what?

The kiddos learned how to put pressure on bleeding and what to do if their Teddy Bear falls (Don't move!) and when to call 911.  Somewhere, there's a picture of Autobot and Kyzzer all gloved up with their bears.  Super cute.

Nebalee also managed to get the Smoke House from the fire department.  The Smoke House is a training tool that is used primarily with second-graders in our school district.  It has three rooms; the first room is where they talk about kitchen safety, the second about fireplace and heater safety, and the third room they talk about how to check a door to see if it's hot and how to get out of the room if there's smoke in it.  The third room is by far the coolest.  The bedroom door is actually designed so that if you run the back of your hand down it from top to bottom, you'll feel it go from cool to hot.  They also pump in theatrical smoke so simulate how dark and scary it can be if the room fills with smoke.  In the midst of the room filling with smoke, the smoke detector is screaming.  It's really quite an experience.

Even grown-ups like the Smoke House
This was the first year I've acted as the Site Coordinator, always in the past I've been a worker bee.  At times it was very difficult for me to do the schmoozing and glad-handing that goes on with being the Site Coordinator.  After about the first hour, everyone was settled into their jobs and didn't need me for anything other than giving tours and answering questions the bigwigs from the organization.  I guess that's a sign of success.  Everything went smoothly enough that I didn't have to race around putting out fires.

I've now got a few weeks of downtime before NaNoWriMo starts up, so maybe I can get a few things posted and get caught up with everyone.  We've got very special company coming in from the 18 - 21 and I'm so excited I just want to jump up and down.

Then, of course, November means I'll be scarce again as I try to crank out another 50,000 words in 30 days.

So, pretty much, we're back to situation normal here.