Calling all Cooks!

Do you make something that your family or friends crave?

Is there something that your colleagues always ask you to bring to the office potluck?

Maybe you have a favorite recipe that your grandmother used to make?

Perhaps you have a fantastic recipe for dog treats.

If so, let me know. I've decided to write a cookbook, and I want to include recipes from family and friends. Please dig out your recipe files, pick out a few of your favorites, and send them along to me. Bonus points if you write a little bit about the origin of the dish, why you love it so much, and anything else you want to say about it.


By popular demand, here's our December and January schedule:

In Norman OK with AnneMarie and Megan today

12/2: I fly to New Orleans, Ann stays in Norman
12/3 and 4: I work in New Orleans, then fly to Dallas the evening of the 4th
12/4: I teach in Dallas, Ann takes the train back to Dallas from Norman.
12/7: we fly to austin, stay at the ABIA Hilton
12/8: we fly to LA, get our car, go to Burbank for 5 days
12/14: redeye to Tampa, go to Kissimmee for a week
12/21: go to Tampa, spend week with Harry
12/28: cruise from Tampa to Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and somewhere else

1/7: fly to LA, get our car, spend 4 nights in/around Riverside
1/13: work in anaheim for 5 days
1/19-21: pismo beach
1/22: orange county, ca, then start driving back towards tx.  or ok.

2/3: one day class in Cleveland.  i'm betting ann sits this one out.
then the next 3 weeks in TX. houston, channel view, dallas
2/24-27: Kansas City
2/28: at approximately 4:27 pm, AnneMarie will give birth to Olive.


Here's a little tip:

No good can come of parking too close to a shrubbery. Especially if said shrubbery is surrounded by an ant hill. Also, if you have an open box of, say, Wheat Thins. Or Oreos.

Your car will end up infested. And $5.00 in quarters doesn't buy enough vacuum time to get them. Hopefully the Raid bait traps will.


September and October

The calendar's a little hard to read, so here's our September and October calendar, as it looks today (August 25).

Aug 26-29: Ontario CA
taking Amtrak back to Austin
Sep 1-9 in Austin, except I take a quick trip to New Orleans and Las Colinas, one day each.
Sep 10-14 in Houston
Sep 16-20 San Luis Obispo CA
Sep 21 -22 Charlotte NC and Columbia SC and Raleigh NC
Sep 23 and 24 Radford VA
Sep 25-28 Oswego NY
Sep 29-30 Austin

Oct 1-3 San Antonio
Oct 4 Houston
Oct 5-9 Austin
Oct 10-18 Los Angeles
Oct 19-26 Somewhere between LA and Mount Hood
Oct 26-Nov 2 Mount Hood Anniversary Vacation



Hey gang! Let's go to Georgetown, Colorado. It's a lovely little Victorian town only a couple of miles down from Loveland Pass. Home of the Slacker Half Marathon. Andy has been signed up for months, and he's really looking forward to it. It's all downhill. Ironically, as it happens, both literally and figuratively.

Andy's brother John, has driven over from Colorado Springs in his new Jeep. He wants to do some off-roading.

About 30 minutes after they've left, this:

OH.MY.GOD. How many episodes of Scooby Doo involved an old mine? 

Is Andy Shaggy or Scooby?
I'm pretty sure John is Fred.

30 minutes later, this:

And this:

Throughout all this, I'm worried because it's starting to get dark and there are signs warning about bears and falling rocks and deer. See?
Actually, this is about the only wildlife I saw. Disappointing, but that's for another post.
I still don't know if Andy is Scooby or Shaggy. But I do know that although I started off pretty Velma-ish, I didn't end up that way. Or Daphne-ish, for that matter. I called several towing/rescue companies, and no one was willing to go out until the next morning. I flagged down people in the streets driving 4-wheel drives, even an H3. No dice. After a couple of hours, I was acting like a total girl. I cried to several random campers, a campground manager, and a Sheriff that my husband and his brother were lost at over 12,000 feet.

Like all episodes, a happy ending.

Yay! Scooby Snack await at Mother's Bar, in town.

The (Really) Highs and (Really) Lows of Life on the Road

Everyone always asks us how we like being on the road constantly with each other.  We say we love it, there are highs and lows, but they average out on the high side.

Last week in CO, we were at a high only experienced once before in our relationship.

Well, today, we hit a low.  Definitely the lowest point of our time together.

Things were going good.  We were actually heading out of Vegas by about 8.  AM!, if you can believe that.

A couple hours into the drive, we started kind of...sinking.  Hard to say exactly what it was.  At some point in this time, I realized that I had left Ann's Tervis cup in the freezer in the timeshare.  Way too late to turn around.  I think we're slowly depositing stuff across the country.  Some socks in UT, a little paint off the fender in Vegas, you know, little things like that.

Anyway, we just kept sinking lower and lower.  I played some music, that didn't stop it.  And, talk about things heating up!  I think by the time we hit our lowest, I'd never seen Ann so hot.  She was practically turning red before my eyes.

Of course, this may have had to do with the fact that we were driving towards the lowest point in the continental USA.  Badwater Basin, in Death Valley National Park, is 282 feet below sea level.  Definitely the lowest we'd ever been.  I've been lower, but I was on a submarine, so I'm not sure if that counts.

That tiny rectangle of white at about 1 O'Clock over my head, that's a sign indicating sea level.

And then, we drove out of there.  Paused at the sea level sign on the highway

And, yes, we actually stopped the car when the garmin read 0 feet.  Actually, we stopped at -3, so we had to back up to get it on 0.  By the way, that 29,282.4, that's how many miles we've driven since October.

Then, we drove to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the continental USA.  If you don't count Alaska as part of the continental USA.

This store is at the trailhead for Whitney.  It's at 8365 feet.

Then, while Ann waited, I took a quick run to the top, at 14500 feet.  That's the peak in the middle of the picture.

Nah, I've already been there, no point in doing it again.

Now, we're in Bakersfield.  Just somewhere to stop before we drive to Santa Barbara tomorrow, after a quick stop by our winery in Arroyo Grande.

Oh, and our high last week in Colorado?


trucker humor

What does that say?

Nope. Still can't quite make it out... 




Offroading with John

It's been a couple of weeks, the terror has subsided, so now I can talk about it.

John and I are offloading in his Jeep.  We had left the pavement about an hour before, gradually climbing in elevation to 12,200 feet (about 2500 feet up) in the 6 miles of driving.

We get to this snowy spot in the road.  There are tracks going through it so other people have made it.  We didn't.  Not even close.  Did I mention, 2500 feet above, 6 miles away from, paved roads?  Oh, and it'a about 2 hours until sunset.  AND, my half marathon is tomorrow morning.

Transcript of our conversations (slightly paraphrased, to protect the innocent and unprepared):

Me:  Anything to dig with in the back of the jeep?
John: No, but I have a whistle.
Me:  Good, that'll be a lot of help.  I'll start digging us out, with my BARE HANDS
John:  three sharp whistle blasts (recognized by boy scouts everywhere as a call for help)
Me:  That's not helping, let's dig the jeep out of the snow.
John: three more whistle blasts, I really don't want to have to sleep in the jeep tonight.
Me:  I'm NOT sleeping in the jeep, I have a race in the morning.  I think everyone who knows anything about being in the mountains is already off the mountain, cause it'll be dark soon.  Maybe we should start walking.
John:  SIX whistle blasts, yeah, let's go.
Me: Don't forget where we parked.

About an hour goes by, walking, walking.  I've texted Ann a couple of times to let her know what's going on, but that's her story to tell, apparently.

John:  I hope we make it down by dark.
Me:  Too bad we don't have flash lights.
John:  There's 2 in the jeep.
Me:  Oh.  Good.  It'll be dark soon.
John:  We should get inside.  They mostly come out at night.  Mostly.
Me:  WTF are you talking about?
John:  You know, the little girl, in Aliens? Put her in charge, man!
Me:  Oh.  I don't think there're aliens here.
John:  No, but there's bears.
Me:  It's ok, I can outrun you.

Finally, after 2 hours of walking, we got to the road.  And there was Ann, waiting for us.



Due to popular demand, here is our schedule from now (May 28) through August.  Between these dates will be a lot of driving/trains/flying

Orlando - May 29, 30, 31
Baltimore - June 3 through 7
Beaumont - June 10
Baton Rouge - June 11, 12, 13
Dallas - June 19 and 20
Georgetown, CO - June 22 (half marathon)
Irvine, CA - June 25, 26, 27, 28
Las Vegas - June 29 through July 6
Taos, NM - July 6 through July 10
Estes Park, CO - July 11 through July 17
Houston - July 24
Roanoke, TX - July 27
Dallas - August 6, 7, 8
Houston/Beaumont - August 15, 16, 17
San Luis Obispo, CA - August 20, 21
Ontario, CA - August 27, 28, 29


It's been a while.  Since our last post (February, I think) we've been in, in order:

Indianapolis, Cleveland, St. Louis, Houston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Huntington Beach, Moss Landing (CA), Houston, New York City, San Antonio, New Orleans, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston,  St. Louis, and now Kalamazoo.

Whew, just thinking about the past 3 months makes me tired all over again.

While in St. Louis, we met up with Nick, a guy I met in Kansas City in class.  We hit a couple of breweries, then went to the City Museum.  I gotta say, I have never...NEVER...seen anything like this place.  It's a 10 story building, maybe old warehouses(?), taken over by a mad genius and made into a playground.  In all my travels, this was one of the most interesting places I've ever seen. This pictures will not do it justice, it was very dark.

Part of it is like walking through a deep, old cave.  When walking through, you had to remind yourself that you were inside a building in downtown St. Louis.  Not some subterranian tunnel system.

There are things that look like teeth.

There are things that have teeth:

There are things you can crawl through, if you're very small.

I'm NOT going in there!

Or, there.
And things to climb on, or through.

Nick, climbing through the world's largest slinky.
Out back, there's this huge structure, several airplane fuselages 40 or 50 feet up in the air, interconnected by these huge slinkies to crawl through.  Here's a picture from their website:

There's really no describing this place.  You HAVE to go.  

Here's a link with some good pictures.  It might not work. If not, i found it by googling City Museum St. Louis.


here, there be giants...

Our adventure involves A LOT of driving. In fact, over the first five or so weeks of 2013, we drove almost 6,100 miles. And we've seen a lot of stuff that leads us to believe that here, there be giants. See for yourself.
giant legs with graffiti socks
world's largest rocking chair
world's largest wind chime
giant pop bottle and straw
giant fork
giant red arrow - they're shooting at us! run, you fools!

But don't worry. Andy is strong, like bear:

And thirsty, too.


we were living it up at the hotel oklahoma

Our great friends (and former neighbors) offered to let us stay with them in Edmond for a few days on our way from California to Indiana. Miss K, our hostess, thoughtfully provided us with a welcome letter that included the lowdown on Oklahoma, family news, games and an art gallery, their "board of fare" (really, Doug? calf fries?), and a special note from SethOatis:


games and gallery


Shopping with Karen!!

We're going shopping with Karen.  Not Karin.

To HEB!!!

(in south austin for 48 hours, then off to houston)


A quickie stop at the Mustang Ranch

Ever since I was in college, I'd heard of the Mustang Ranch, but never had the chance to go.  Now, with all of our travels, I finally had a Chance. It was a little bit of a detour, but I've wAnted to go for so long time, so I figured it was worth it.

Ann, on the other hanD, I wasn't sure how she'd feel about it.  I thought It might just be a guy thing.  Turns out, she's just as into that kind of stuff as I am.  I just sort of timidLy suggested we stop by, and she was ALL OVER THAT!  My kind of woman.  She even made sure the camera was fuLly charged before we went.  She thought it'd be great to get some pictures to document the occAsion.

It's a little bit off the highway.  If you weren't looking, you'd drive right by.  You think there'd be a sign or something.  And the entryway is kind of weird.  Sort of a "one person at a time" kind of door/gate thing.  I guess they need to Control how fast people come in.  There is a sign outside that reminds people that what you're going to do on the inside is not legal on the outside.

Anyway, when we got there, there were 10 different models to check out.  I asked Ann which one she liked best, because I had to pick a different one.  She said there's nothing wrong with us sharing, but that was a little weird.  So, we each decided which one was our favorite, the one we'd each speNd a little bit Of time with.  The one Ann picked was a few years younger Than the one I preferred.  Ann's always said I had a thing for "older Models".  Ann actually looked it up afterwards.  They were all about 1 year apart in age, so they spanned about a decade in age total.

We played aroUnd for a while. As uSual, I was done before her.  I had To be a little patient until she got what she wAnted out of the experience.  Meanwhile, I just hung back and watched.  Even though I was done, it was nice watching her enjoying herself like that.  Again, pretty normal for how these things go for us.

The noise from the other people enjoying themselves was kind of a distraction; everywhere we go it seems to get crowded. One guy was just laughing and yelling as he was doing his thing.  Kind of annoying. Why make all that noise, right?  Then, as we were leaviNg, we walked past a used condom. Kind of Gross.  The whole thing, looking back as we were leaving, was kind of dirty.

But, like Ann said, it's about the journey, not the destination.


things that make you go, "WTF?", part 2

For probably 200 miles we saw at least 100 "teaser" billboards about it. Supraliminal advertising at its best. Of course, we stopped.

Like many roadside attractions, there is a small fee. In this case, $1 (we read somewhere that when asked what "the Thing" was, the cashier replied that it was $1 to go find out for yourself but he'd tell you for $5). We forked over the $2, and were told that "the Thing" would be in the 3rd section.

1st section: a bizarre mix of antique cars, a diorama of ancient torture methods (with mannequins!), and cattle. Allegedly, Hitler used the Rolls Royce. See him peeping out the window?

2nd section: was lined with wooden display cases, each one full of different stuff (some might say, crap), but the diorama of the old western bar was kind of cool. Notice the "nude" over the bar (2nd from right, middle row).

3rd section: Finally. THE THING.

the Thing

Even after seeing it, I still wasn't sure what to make of it (besides the obvious). So I googled it. Wikipedia has some information on the origins. There has been speculation that it came from catacombs within the Grand Canyon, by way of Egypt. Hmmm... Weird US (Arizona) doesn't mention anything about Grand Canyon catacombs or Egypt. Actually, they suggest that "the Thing" was cobbled together in the 1950s or 60s by a man who made just this sort of thing for his own attraction/museum.

You can find lots more pictures of "the Thing" by googling - most of them are better than ours.

My favorite part of the whole thing was, by far, all of these driftwood creatures. Check them out here and in the Flick stream (link above).

the guy in the middle is my favorite. or maybe the 3rd from left on the top row; he looks like he just got caught doing something naughty.