Saturday, March 25, 2006

The adventure: Bellingham to Portland and back again

The adventure: Bellingham to Portland and back again

I arrived home from Las Vegas with enough time to do a quick laundry, pack a bag and leave the next day for an adventure to Portland with my husband Larry and friends Cis and Mike. The guys having Harley addictions felt the need to stop at Downtown Harley in Seattle to look at the eye candy and see what options were added to other bikes that they might want to add to their own. Cis and I browsed the clothing racks after glancing at the bikes, although Cis did have her eye on a possible replacement for her current ride.

We were back on the road again with a quick detour for lunch then straight through to Portland. Mike gave us a scenic tour before we found the McMaster House bed and breakfast where we were spending the night. We were given a short tour then shown to our rooms--three floors up tucked into the dormers and decorated with antiques, collectibles, and warm down comforters. We left our luggage and set out on foot for Powells bookstore, the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Three days a week in the gym doing 12 – 15 miles on the treadmill still left me a little breathless or was it just the sight of the bookstore and all it had to offer.

We checked that we each had cell phones and then split up as we each went to a different colored room looking for a special book we just couldn’t live without. I headed off to the orange room looking for books on art, gardening, and cooking before heading up to the pearl room to look at hard to find and rare books, focusing again on art. Time flies when you are having fun and when my cell phone rang I knew my time was up and I had only begun to glance through the first row. I took my lone book and headed down to meet the others and check out.

The walk to the bookstore was downhill so now the real challenge lay ahead of us. We stopped off at the Ringside to make dinner reservations and then back to our B&B for conversation and a glass of wine. The atmosphere in the guest parlor was relaxing and the hot popcorn and warm cookies a comforting touch to make guests feel at home. Soon it was time for dinner and Mike chauffeured us to dinner down the hill.

We were greeted at the Ringside with attentive staff and we marveled at the menu before making our selections and placing our orders. It seems there was a convention in town and that was the reason most hotel rooms were booked in town and reservations for dinner a little harder to get. We enjoyed the meal and the time spent sharing stories and a few tall tales.

Goodnight, sleep tight.

Next day was a bright and sunny and breakfast was served in a cozy dinning room with several small tables. A slightly warmed grapefruit half with brown sugar and walnuts on top was a perfect starter to go with our hot coffee. The entrĂ©e was cheese stuffed omelets with fresh spinach, sausage links, and a hot flaky biscuit. I’m not usually a breakfast person, but this smelled and looked so good that I found myself eating almost all of my serving. Now it was time to pack our bags and wander the city.

We went downtown to a little shopping mall disguised inside an old brick building. Cis and Mike had a little shop in mind that they knew I would like, called Twist. It was filled with unique benches, clocks, mirrors, hand painted goblets, jewelry, and more. What would a shopping trip be without a trip to the local Ross Store across the street? The guys did not seem impressed but Cis and I each found something we couldn’t do without so it was a success.

We drove through the maze of streets, freeways, and bridges winding our way back to I-5 and our way home. We did make a stop at a Harley shop near Olympia where a Kuryakyn light kit on a bike similar to ours caught my eye. Larry checked out the prices and asked me if I liked the lights well enough to spend $1,000.00 on them. I decided they were not that cute and I’ll pass for now.

Cis had been waiting since yesterday for lunch at Ruby Tuesday when we missed the turn off the freeway. We all ordered hamburgers and looked at the vintage signs, collectibles, sporting goods, and pictures that decorated the restaurant. This is my kind of eye candy.

The traffic wasn’t too bad and we made it home a little quicker than we thought. It was a great little get-a-way just four and half hours from home. Thanks to Cis and Mike we had a wonderful trip with friends and memories to savor.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Celebrating 21

On March 16th I kissed Ally the cat good-bye and told her I would be back soon to take care of her but while I was gone Larry would pay special attention to her. A quick pat on the head for Deuce the dog and a reminder for him to stay off my sofa while I was gone and then I was out of the house an on my way to the airport.

I haven’t flown for a while and was pleased to find our little international airport had been remodeled. The best part is that when I return home I won’t have to stand out in the cold to retrieve my bags as in the past. Timing was everything and I only had a fifteen minute wait until my security check began. I know it is only six days away but I always find it hard to leave home. I kissed Larry good bye and watched him walk across the parking lost on his way back home as I snaked through the short line.

It’s only a short hop from Bellingham to Seattle and I had less than thirty minutes before I boarded my plane to Las Vegas, I’m not a good flyer and thought maybe I could just sleep the whole way down. Wrong! Two thirty-something’s tried to one-up each other with stories of jobs, friends, trips, girls, college, and anything else that they could think of. Ten rows back and ten rows forward could hear them loud and clear and knew all about them and I am sure wished we didn’t. The remainder of the plane seemed to be bent on getting a head start on drinking before they got to Vegas. No crying babies on this plane, only a full plane ready to party when they hit the jet-way.

Kelly was waiting for me near the baggage pick up with a sign reading “welcome to sin city mom, there’s no turning back now.” I laughed as I hugged her then turned to find the nearest Starbucks and got sticker shock with my regular drink costing almost $1.50 more than anywhere I have ever traveled. Guess I will have to decide how much I really need my coffee in the future. A rental car mix up was fixed and we were on our way to Kelly’s apartment and a nap.

Later in the evening I got instructions on how to get to the grocery store for dinner fixings and Kelly went to pick up an old boyfriend, Drew, who was in town for spring break. We laughed over dinner that no one would believe Drew had a home cooked meal in Vegas. Kelly took Drew back to his hotel and we talked till we fell asleep on the sofa.

Kelly’s best friend Jerrilynn arrived on Friday and we met her at the airport then headed out to a local bar far off the strip to wait (almost) for midnight and celebrate Kelly’s 21st birthday. A few drinks, nachos, and several games of pool before we headed home at 2 AM.

Saturday night I took Kelly, Jerrilynn, and Kelly’s roommate Julia out to dinner at Hooters. Kelly works as a hostess at Marino’s Restaurant inside the Hooters hotel and casino. I bought Kelly a mini bottle of champagne to celebrate and we had a wonderful dinner with the staff all stopping by the table to wish Kelly a happy birthday. Kelly’s manager had the night off but he ordered a three layer chocolate cake from Freed’s Bakery which was voted the best bakery by Food Network. This was such a considerate thing to do for her birthday, considering they don’t do cakes or sing happy birthday to patrons; but again all the staff surrounded Kelly at our table and sang to her.

Later in the evening, back at Kelly’s apartment, she opened her presents and the girls changed into new party clothes and off they went to meet friends and dance the night away. A friend of Kelly’s got them access to one of Las Vegas’ hotspots, Tao’s, and when her name was called she and her party were ushered into Tao’s without the usual waiting in line. The girls arrived home about 3 AM laughing and talking about what a great time they had.

We slept most of Sunday before taking Jerrilynn to the airport. We returned home to a belated St. Patrick’s corned beef and cabbage dinner. We cut the Boston cream pie that Kelly requested for her birthday but never got around to eating. A little television and we crashed.

Kelly went off to school on Monday and I set out on an adventure to get to the mall on the strip, from NW Las Vegas. I knew all the freeways would confuse me so I took the back streets that look like freeways in some cities. At least the city is laid out well with north south, east west, roads, in a fairly flat valley, with the Stratosphere to get your bearings. A missed turn and the feeling of being a little lost was scary but I was successful. Momma needed new shoes. No, I didn’t gamble for them but I knew what I wanted and this was the only mall that had the brand I wanted. I wandered up and down the escalators with floors filled with shops for everything you could want or dream of. Such a difference from the little mall I have at home. Mission accomplished now I had to get home. It seemed longer getting back to the apartment and a little more stressful. A calming radio station of Christian music and a prayer and I arrived safe, if not sane. I learned to drive in California but Vegas drivers are another breed cutting you off and running red lights. Take me back to two lane freeways.

Kelly and I had out last dinner out and got pictures printed from her birthday celebrations with her friends. We settled on the sofa for some mother-daughter time.

Time to go home. Kelly took me to Hooters where I purchased t-shirts and Kelly got some of the Hooters girls to sign them. I will auction one t-shirt at the April general meeting of our Harley Owners Group and designate the money to go to the scholarship fund our group awards each year to a graduating senior in our county. The other t-shirt will hang at Harley-Davidson Bellingham and be raffled off with the money going to the GRADS teen parent program through the Bellingham School District. The Hooters girls loved the idea that the t-shirts would help others. One of the girls is the 2006 centerfold for the Hooters calendar and she was the 2005 calendar cover girl.

I dropped off the rental car, checked in for my flight and had lunch with Kelly. I hugged her goodbye at the security line and gave her a kiss. This goodbye felt every bit as hard as it did last August when I left her in Vegas to attend school and work. I love my kids and miss them. As much as I wanted to go home, I hated leaving her behind. Kelly is full of life, smiling and laughing, daring, bold, soft and sweet, that’s my baby girl. She’s twenty-one but still my baby.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

21 years of life changing moments

I am preparing to leave for Las Vegas to visit my daughter Kelly and celebrate her 21st birthday. She moved to Las Vegas last August to attend UNLV. She works two jobs besides a full load of classes at college and Larry and I are so proud of her for all that she has accomplished.

I wasn’t thrilled about her moving out. It wasn’t that I didn’t want her to go out into the world and be successful; I was going to be an empty nester. For twenty-seven years I have had three children in and out of the house and all their friends. I love being a mom-- PTA meetings, sports practices, school plays, teaching them to read and later to drive, field trips, late night home work, and parent conferences. Good days, bad days, I wouldn’t trade my time with my children for anything. Now I am left with a dog and a cat to baby. It’s just not the same.

My husband, Larry, worried about me after Kelly left. My son Michael who lives near us calls more often and we have lunch when I get to town by lunch time and my son Jim checks in on me with weekly calls. My mom said she knew exactly how I felt and said that even now when I leave after a visit that she has that same old feeling of when I was younger and moved out. It is emptiness in the house, silence. Just because the kids move out doesn’t mean you stop being a mom.

Larry is staying home to take care of the dog and cat while I go to spoil my baby for her birthday. I’ll cook little casseroles for the freezer for her to enjoy after I return home. A shopping trip or two for some birthday goodies to go with the presents I am taking her. I promised to help her hang some shelves, spray paint some candle holders, and cover a window with a privacy film.

We’ll have dinner out on her birthday and a night out on the town. I’m not sure how this is going to work. A twenty-one year old, her friends of various twenty something ages, and her older mom (I am not going to tell how old I am). Kelly will have a birthday cake from her favorite bakery and has a new birthday outfit bought. There will be digital pictures on a website to share with family and print copies to fill up scrapbook pages.

Of course Kelly shares her birthday with Ally the cat, so Larry will be at home left in charge of celebrating the cat’s 11th birthday. Who do you think is going to have more fun?

Kelly Renee…Baby Girl

I love you for who you are, unique, beautiful, giving
You have made my life fuller
I told you there was nothing you couldn’t do
Now go out into the world and make it better
Always do your best
And remember…I love you more!!!


Monday, March 13, 2006

1,000 Lakes Road

My husband Larry and I spent several days with friends Marcia and Larry D. at their home in the little town of Elma, several hours south of our home and snuggled into the countryside 7.5 miles off the main highway on a road we fondly refer to as, "1,000 Lakes Road."  The two Larry's worked together for many years at WWU before Larry D. retired.
Marcia and Larry traveled, visited their children and grandchildren, and friends across the country until the last few years.  Larry lost a kidney during surgery about seven years ago and now his remaining kidney is failing.  Marcia and Larry have seen one of their sons through cancer treatments and he is now on the road to recovery only to have their son-in-law suffer a spinal stroke.  Marcia is several hours away from her mother who is aging and living in a retirement care facility.  The saying goes, "God never gives you more than you can handle."  Marcia and Larry must be extremely strong people to handle so many difficulties in such a short time.The old saying, "life is short" comes home to haunt you when you realize that you get too busy to visit with those you know and care about.  It's easy to talk on the phone, send an email, and visit with friends and family close by.  When those we love are farther away life just seems to get more complicated.This trip was cancelled, rearranged, and changed several times, but finally completed this weekend.  It will not, however, be the last time.  We arrived to find the most wonderful gourmet dinner prepared for us with homemade oatmeal bread, stuffed tenderloin, potatoes au gratin, etc.  The two Larry's are wonderful cooks and love to show off for each other; so much the better for Marcia and me.  Marcia was not to be outdone and had prepared a wonderful lemon and chocolate torte for dessert.  We talked till we yawned and then said goodnight, tucked into a cozy cabin in the woods. Breakfast of hot coffee and Larry D's homemade bread was a wonderful way to start the day.  We took a drive into a little town of Montesano for lunch, a  tour of the local museum in Aberdeen where Larry volunteers and then a scenic drive in the country with a stop at the Estrella Family Creamery in the Wynoochee River Valley.  The owner Kelli is a friend of Marcia and Larry's and opened up just so we could taste the cheese and see the operation.  Of course we had to purchase several of our favorites to bring home.  Larry and Marcia had a culinary surprise still yet to come.  We drove down highway 12 to a little country grocery store to have dinner where we were met by Marcia and Larry's friends, Sally and Nells.  Who would have ever thought that through the front door of a country store, past the fast food nachos and hotdogs, and through a small doorway in the back that you could find fine furniture and gourmet dinning.  The menu had the typical items of hamburgers, fish and chips, sandwiches, etc., but Marcia said to ignore the menu because on Friday and Saturday night the chef, Kay, who had previously owned a restaurant that was "the place" to eat in Olympia would be cooking and there was no menu.  Kay is Korean and she prepared the most wonderful array of dishes with fresh ingredients and an emphasis on eating good food that is good for you.  The spare ribs fell off the bones but the pork in blackberry sauce was my absolute favorite.  My husband Larry loved the chicken with fresh mango but each and every one of the six dishes was excellent.  You just don't know where you will find a diamond unless you get to know the locals and thank goodness our friends know the locals. We arrived home to enjoy a slice of the lemon and chocolate torte and hot tea before bedtime. Breakfast on Saturday was filled with more good food, hot coffee, and conversation before we departed for home. We arrived with a dusting of snow on the ground and we left with a dusting of snow on the ground waving goodbye to our friends until the next visit.  Memories are what we have after the fact.  Today is for living and enjoying what we have, family, friends, and time.  Don't let life slip by you because we don't always get a second chance.  Pastor Bob said to live each day to the fullest, not to waste what God has given us.

Monday, March 06, 2006

65 Candles

On Saturday March 4th, 2006 I gave my husband Larry a 65th birthday party. Now that in itself is special, but this was his first ever birthday party not work related--obligated to attend--type of celebration.

We spent the week planning, shopping and cooking. A few changes to the menu and we were ready except for a last minutes trip to the store for ice.

Thirty-two of our friends arrived at 5:30 PM to begin an evening of appetizers, dinner, and lots of laughter. The first mistake was assuming that we had enough beer. The last two or three parties we have had leftover beer that I wound up feeding to my plants, which of course they like. So being the good friends they are, Mike and Cis went off on a beer run, just like teenagers.

The ladies of course were content to sip a wide variety of wines we had or some of the many bottles that friends brought, as well as two special libations that Lilly and Barb brought to share.

We brought out the first course of appetizers at 5:30 with nuts, chips and dip, vegetables and dip, chicken wings, marinated Ritz cheese crackers, crab dip with crackers, and porcupine meatballs in gravy. The guests dug in.

At 6:00 we served up crustless quiche, red pepper aioli with crackers, stuffed mushrooms, pigs in a blanket with mustard sauce, bbq sauce, and sweet and spicy oriental sauce. The guests spent more time at the tables digging in to the food.

At 6:30 when we started to served Jamaican shrimp, pizza, and cheese and cilantro quesadillas they couldn’t believe there was more food to come or that they could handle it all.

Our friends were enjoying themselves and feeling pretty full when we began serving mozzarella chicken, spinach salad with feta cheese and dried cranberries, risotto with vegetables, and garlic bread. Most people had assumed wrong that all the appetizers were the light dinner I had advertised in the party invitation. Surprise! I told everyone that they could eat it now or take it home, their choice. The evening was young and most eventually found their appetites again leaving only a small amount of leftovers.

Hot coffee and four desserts followed: French chocolate flourless cake with ganache and whipped cream, a three layer chocolate cake, white cake with raspberry filling and white butter cream frosting, and a biscotti and amaretto torte.

The best part of the evening for me was seeing my husband among his friends laughing and talking. Larry’s study was a warm cozy spot to talk and a visual art gallery with ducks, fishing, and Harley art covering all the wall space. Several of the ladies discovered my art studio and spent their time exploring my altered books and paintings. Some people moved from room to room visiting with everyone, some found a comfortable place and pretty much stayed put, and others just seem to enjoy being in the middle of everything, my kitchen.

I put “no gifts” on the invitation so there were lots of thoughtful cards for Larry, some meant to bring laughter, and two very creative people drew pictures of Larry as a SASS shooter and Larry with his hunting dog, Deuce.

I love our group of friends and feel fortunate to call each one a friend. On the way out the door Dave asked if we could do it all over again next week. Well maybe not next week and maybe a little more casual, but definitely again and we won’t wait for a birthday to do it.

Thanks to all our friends for making this birthday party a special evening.

Happy Birthday to you Larry and many more.

Love me
Forever and ever
Body and soul

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Happy 65th Birthday


You’re my knight in shinning armor
My best friend
My husband
Forever and ever
Body and soul
You love me
Just the way I am
For better or worse
You are the love of my life
Riding your RD VXN Harley
With your cowboy six-shooters
My own personal love PhD
I love you Larry

Happy 65th Birthday
Related Posts with Thumbnails