Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Food Story. By Linda

A funny food story from the American Library Association Conference in Las Vegas, NV. 
June 29, 2014.

I went out to eat with some people while at the Annual Conference.  One of my co-workers, Steve, was sitting next to me on my right, and there were about 8 others that I didn’t really know.
We ate at Buddy V’s Ristorante. Apparently Buddy is the Cake Boss from TV, but it was a nice Italian Restaurant and the line for the bakery across the way at the Venetian was HUGE.  Luckily, the restaurant didn’t have huge long lines.  

We perused the menu a while.  It was short, so that was nice.  But I really didn’t know exactly what to get!  It all sounded good.  Steve and I decided we could split an appetizer of eggplant. That sounded good.  They brought us three slices and I had one, he had two.  Seemed fair.  Then when it came time to order, he opted for the shrimp scampi or something and mine was meatballs and pasta.  It was a “Family favorite” or specialty or family SOMEthing.  I don’t think it was “Family Style”, but it did mention three meats, like lamb and sausage and meatballs. But I figured that the meatballs had three kinds of meat. That’s normal.  And I decided I wanted a vegetable, too.  So I ordered some brocoletti or broccolini  or something close to broccoli.  

I also had a discussion with the fellow to my left who (probably appalled by my choice of meats for dinner) was a vegetarian.  I suggested that he ask for the appetizer eggplant to be made into an entrĂ©e for him, as it was really good eggplant parmesan.  So that’s what he ordered.  They just doubled the appetizer size and he got six slices.  “Oh,” he said (he was a very slight man) “I’ll never be able to eat all this!”  And, true to his word, he ate only three and left the others untouched.  He offered me them, as he noted that I’d called it the “best eggplant parmesan I’ve ever eaten.”  I declined at the time.  [ I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten eggplant parmesan before, actually. ]

Well, they brought out all the food for everyone about the same time.  Steve’s shrimp dish was a nice big bowl of pasta and stuff.  And most everyone else had A bowl of something similar.  But *I* was served a large bowl of large pasta with sauce. Oh my. Huge serving.  THEN, the meatballs were actually meatballs (3, I think) AND lamb (2 chunks) AND sausage link (cut up into 3 pieces).  It was in a cast iron oblong skillet thing ON a serving plate. The guy next to me had to re-arrange table settings and glassware to make room for it. THEN the waiter tried to put the vegetable on the table, and the people ACROSS from me had to move THEIR stuff to make room for it.  

I was so embarrassed.  There was everyone else with one dish of food in front of them, and there I sat with THREE LARGE PLATES OF FOOD.  I could have crawled under the table.  I offered Steve a meatball. He took one.  I offered others.  They declined (I didn’t offer the vegetarian to my left any meat). I offered the green vegetable around. No one had vegetables!  Yet, they all declined. 
So the feast began.  I made a stab at it.  I made a dent, but I knew I was going to be taking it home. I was leaving for home right after dinner, going to my air-conditioned car and could put it right in the fridge. It would be enjoyed the next day for lunch and I have no qualms about asking for a box.  And, since the fellow on my left AGAIN offered me his un-touched eggplant, I took him up on it and thanked him very much.

When the waiter came and was taking away our food, etc. I asked if I could please have a box so I could take home my leftovers. He said he’d be happy to take it and box it up FOR me.  “Thanks! And I’m taking his eggplant, too,” I said, pointing to the food and person to my left.

“Oh!” said the waiter. “Did you ASK HIM first?”   


“Do you need them in separate containers?”

“No. You can put them together. That will be fine, thank you.”

“Well, Okay, then! I’ll be right back that that.”

He soon returned with my prettily-wrapped-up leftovers and started in on the rest of the table.  Then he checked with Steve, who still had a lot of food in front of him, and asked him if he was going to be taking any of his food home with him.  And Steve said “No, thank you.” [Steve and his friend were leaving for France the next morning on vacation.So then the waiter looks at me and says, “Will YOU be taking his, too,  Ma’am?”
Oh, I just laughed and said, “No. He ate all the shrimp!” 
Going on around the table, the waiter comes to the couple across from me and Steve.  Again, lots of left-over food.  They were not taking it. So the waiter AGAIN asks ME if I want to take it, too!
Seriously, I was laughing so hard.  It’s a good thing I have a good sense of humor. It was funny. 

Maybe I should have taken all their food. I wouldn’t have had to cook for a week or more.  As it was, I had some of mine for lunch the next day and I fed Mike the rest at dinner.  Granted, they were not huge portions by then, but it was more than adequate.
And, yes. I DO hate to waste food.  My waist attests to that fact. And now I have the reputation that proves that fact. Ha.  I wondered how much they talked about me when I left before dessert was even ordered! I had a long drive home and it was almost 9 pm before I got to my car, and I’d forgotten about losing an hour.

Here's the menu.  I had "Valastro Sunday Gravy" on page 2, highlighted in the box.  And Broccolini.  It all seemed so innocent at the time.

Lesson learned: Read menus more carefully and ask the waiter for ALL the leftover boxes to go home-- with ME!!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Photos of the Kitchen process

There are no true "Before" photos.  Because we all know what my messy, cluttered kitchen looks like, right?  Well, here goes!

First of all, you need to realize that it took Mike so long, even WITH some help, because

#1.  He wasn't here every day, and we don't work on Sunday.

#2.  Our Kitchen is not exactly square.

#3.  He only had a certain amount of each type of wood--not enough of either to complete it using one solid color.

THIS is the outline of our kitchen floor space.  Ridonculous, huh?
The pink highlights are where he put darker wood.  Back door entry, edges mostly. and one center area that just was not square enough to do anything else and still have things match up.
They moved the refrigerator out from its spot and put it in the dining area.  All the dining furniture lived in the front room for a couple of weeks.  We frequently took our meals out on the front porch and ate on the lawn chairs.  Breakfast in the morning was particularly pleasant.

The entry area is darker, as is the outline of the dining area (with the mis-placed fridge in the middle!). There is just one random board laying there with the tools. It's not installed quite like that. ha.

This photo makes it appear as though there are three colors of wood, It is the flash effect.  There are just two colors and they coordinate well.

After the floor was completed, we covered it all up, chose fabric for new valances, THEN selected paint.  We had to paint primer over all the stenciling. I feel a bit sad about that.  But, it HAS been about 21 years. It's time to let it go, Linda.

We masked the kitchen cabinets, too, because the ceiling got painted!  No more spaghetti noodle outlines up there. ;-)  Yes, it would have made FAR more sense to paint first and then do the floor.  But we weren't sure we were going to paint until we had the floor done. And it looked so nice, it just screamed for new paint!  And new chair seats!  And new window treatments!  So we listened.

A kitchen request.

I have a request.  What should I put in the crock in the corner of my kitchen.  The crock is on permanent loan from my MIL.  I believe it was Mike's grandma's or grandpa's. It could be a sour kraut maker crock.  I'm not really sure, but it's an anitque and I like it. I used to have it under the phone area of my kitchen with a trailing ivy plant (fake, of course) in it. Apparently, I'm done with ivy.  What do you think should be in it now?  I was thinking of something tall to stand here in the corner by the table?  sticks?   cattails? bamboo? ficus?
Here's the corner with the crock. Pot. Or crock pot. Or cock pit.

A close-up. Sort of.

Oh!  And Eric, this is for YOU!  Remember when I said I thought your Bonzai tree might be dying?  Or I was killing it or something?  Well, Katie started giving it lots of water while she was here, and voila!  It has come back to life with new leaves. It was down to ONE SINGLE leaf!! Now there is all kinds of new growth. I'm kind  thinking it may be a seasonal thing they do. My ficus at work is going through the same thing--leaf droppage and now new growth.  We will stay the course and hope for the best and for survival.

So, what is the verdict for the corner area ?  Also left on my list are towels and rugs for the floor.  I just LOVE this fresh new look!!!

Activities with my Girls

July 9, Katie and Gail and I left the kids with Mike.  He'd just started laying hardwood down on the kitchen floor.  We told C that SHE was the babysitter for her brother.  Katie's kids were with their other grandma, so it was just the two of them.  My girls and I took some family names that had been prepared and we went to the St. George Temple!  It was such a nice time with just us girls.  Katie did baptisms and confirmations for three sisters and initiatory (which was very crowded that day), and then the three of us did an endowment session.

I hear that there is another (third) new temple instruction film.  I wonder if there is a way to time it just right so that one can attend the session in the room that is using the film that you HAVE NOT seen yet?  Can one make a request?  "Yes, I want to attend a session and do this service for my kindred dead. Only can I please have the room with the film that is newest and I haven't yet seen?"  Sounds a bit tacky to me, but I know people.  I think I'll ask around. ;-)

After we attended the temple, we went out to eat at the Olive  Garden.  Then we went to Target where THEY bought swimsuits.  I did not.    I just got a new one. Through the mail.  It's too tight...

Thursday the 10th, I got a couple of free tickets for the Neil Simon Festival.  A play. It was free. Gail and I went.  It was a good time.  The play was  . . .um. . . not one that I'd go see again.  The language was really awful.  No wonder I'd never heard of it before.

Friday the 11th, Mike and I spent the day in Richfield. I'd signed up MONTHS ago for a Utah State Retirement Systems Pre-Retirement Seminar.  All day. 9 to 4.  Presentations and information. Snacks and a lunch break. Powerpoints and talks.  LOTS of information.  Eh, Mike had heard it all before.  Maybe I had, too.  But I forget things. And I know I do NOT want to work until I die.  So, I figure if I have this "Cadillac" pension plan -- their terminology-- then I should figure out how to make this work for me so I can retire at a decent age and go have some fun. Or go on a mission. Or go play with grandkids.  Or something.   And the day counted as a date, OK?

Seth flew in that evening from Rock  Springs to spend the weekend with his family and go home with them. THAT was a fun surprise!

Saturday the 12 was the Chadburn Reunion in Veyo, UT.  Saw lots of family.  Endured the heat.  Enjoyed the meal.  Met with cousins, played with babies. Katie and Gail's families left for a friend's home in St. George to go swimming and the rest of us went home to Cedar where it is MUCH cooler.   I had wanted to go to the Veyo pool after the reunion to go swimming, but after checking the prices, decided against it. It's just a pool.  No toys or slides or nothin'.  It may be from natural warm or volcanic springs, but it's an ordinary-looking pool.

Mike STARTED on the kitchen floor project on July 8.  But many days he didn't get to work on it much.  Like Saturday Night.  After being gone all day, we ended up being gone most of the evening, too, as we went to some friends' house for dinner.  Smoked Brisket with the Kunzlers.  It was a lot of fun to just sit and visit in their shady back yard and enjoy good food together. Mike and Dave Kunzler are really good friends; Carol Kunzler and I both work at the Sherratt Library.

Gail and Seth and Caroline and Jonathan left Sunday morning early to head back home to  Rock Springs.  Their car was one stuffed auto! Caroline's first Girl's Camp adventure was starting the next day or so, and they needed to get ready!

Now it was just Katie and her boys left at our house. So Mike put her to work helping him lay the floor, and paint the walls, take me fabric shopping, and make new covers for the dining chairs, and . . . yes, she really did all that.  And more.

I'm posting this on Sunday the 20th.  Katie and her boys left yesterday for Madison.   It's been a fun summer.  A full-of-family summer!  A fresh-new-look-for-my-kitchen summer!  A fruit and veggie summer--apricots galore while the kids were all here to enjoy them and take some jam home, too!  And my house is way cleaner than it's been in a long time, thanks to Kate!  Thank you, Katie, for all your hard work while you were here.  We'll have to do it again sometime.

My trip to the dentist, part 1 and 2

I had a dental appointment on Monday the 7th.  It was just my regular check up. I do tend to postpone them, but kept this appointment even though we still had a housefull and were kind of busy.

Nothing new.  They said I'd need to watch this one particular tooth that has a very large filling.  Would I want to make an appointment to start some crown work on it?  Uh, no thanks.

Part 2.  My tooth broke!  The very next week on the 16th.  The very tooth they said I should be watching.   Well, I watched it.  Watched half of it disappear right out of my head and never knew it was gone until I finished my meal.  Which means I ATE IT!!

Back I go to the dentist.  Friday the 18th.  New crown now in process. In the meantime, I have a temporary one that is lovely aluminum, with a silvery sheen.

Wow.  My cheek looks quite chubby there.  Oh, wait. It IS chubby.  Along with the rest of me. I keep forgetting.

I also got a hair cut on Thursday the 17th.  I should have backed up the camera a bit and you could have seen that, too.  But it's just the same ol', same ol' I always get.  I almost did something different, but lost my nerve.  It's not a blunt cut, so that 's a stretch for me.  She thinned it!  I've never tried that before.  Different, but I don't think I'll do it again.

Part three of the dental work to come in August when the permanent porcelain crown is done.

Fire Road

The day after the Fourth and that huge celebration,  Mike and I gathered up Katie, Caroline,  and Nick, and we went to volunteer at the Fire Road Bike Race.  Gail and Kaylee watched the kids.  It was a fun and long day.  I'm so glad our kids and grandkid could help us hand out water bottles or Gatorade to the mountain bikers.  Mike and I had driven up to our fluid station (there were four stations and ours was the first) the day previous and were amazed at the hill that those people were doing on BICYCLES!! It was hard for the truck !! Yikes.

You can look up the website Fire Road Cycling
and I'll try to see if I can find some of my photos to post some other time. I know I might have taken a picture or two. Or maybe I did that with Katie's phone and she posted them on Facebook.

It was a very good service project that my co-worker /walking partner talked me into (and I talked Mike into...and we talked our kids into!).  We left at 7 ish in the morning, stayed up there on Cedar/Kanarraville Mountain area at our Fluid Station until 11 or so when the last cyclist passed us by, then headed down to return all our equipment, ate some Pizza for the volunteers at the city park stary/finish line (and there are a LOT of volunteers).  We were at the park when the first finisher of the 100 Kilometer route came in.  It was just before 1 a.m., I think.  Or maybe just before 12. Yes, just before 12.  He didn't even pause for a second when he came past our station around 9 a.m.  "No thanks," he said. "I'm good."  I should say so!!  The race started at the park in Cedar at 8 am, traveled south, up through the mountains, by Kolob Reservoir, down the face of Cedar Mountain...100 k.  and he did it in just about 4 hours.  Wow.  I think we'd have a hard time DRIVING it in that time.  Wow.  We were amazed.  And we did work hard most of the time.

And we sat there waiting for them, eating donuts and chocolate milk! ha! That was before they got up the mountain to us. It took a while. It was a gorgeous day. We also had some brief chats with athletes and had fun cheering them on.  All while being AMAZED.  Seriously. Seriously Amazed.  And I think I'm doing so good just riding my little 6 speed cruiser .7 miles downhill to work, each day.  Phhht.  That's nothin' compared to what we saw that day.

July was kind of busy--and OH! SO FUN!!

I think I'll actually start in June.  June was when Tandy and children came up from California.  They spent a couple of weeks there, then came up to Utah.  They stayed in Kanarraville most of the time, but I did have a cousin sleep-over at my house once they ALL got here from all over.

I reported on the fishing trip to Navajo lake, and hiking at Kanarra Creek Falls mid-June.  And the wedding in Vernal.

After that, I was basically working half-days only at the library--if that!  I'm so glad the other Circulation Staff people were very supportive of my absentee-ism.  It was extreme the next five weeks!

About the same time Gail was set to arrive at our house, Katie decided to come, also!  She really, REALLY wanted to be here with nearly all the siblings and cousins, so she made it happen. Only, it almost DIDN'T.  One day out on her three day drive to Utah, her car was struck by lightening!  Luckily, insurance took care of getting it repaired and getting her a rental, and she continued on her way with fairly minimal delay.  She arrived at our house on Sunday the 29th.  Gail got here on Saturday night.  At least, that's what I heard.  I was not home that weekend.

I got to attend the ALA conference in Las Vegas this summer.  The American Library Association conference was held in Las Vegas for the first time in forever, so I went.  I went for three days.  I really enjoyed it, except is is just so big and there is so much to see and it takes so long to get from point A to point B.  But still, very worth it and I'm glad I went from Friday morning to Sunday night.  So, I wasn't here for the arrival of my out-of-towners!!

On June 30, ALL SEVEN grandkids, and Grandma Pam and Gail and Katie went swimming at the Aquatic Center in Cedar City.  That was fun.  I even braved the slide.  Pam brought Tandy's water proof camera and we did take some photos, but Tandy will have to share those. We found that it is hard, very very hard, to keep track of seven little children, even if there are many sets of eyeballs looking out for them.  But they all survived.  I think Tandy had an outing with some friends that afternoon.I believe that was the night they all stayed at my house.  Oh, yes.  and Damian and Tandy had a date and stayed all night in St. George. Alone. No kids.

On the first of July, we went camping.  I will post some photos at some other time, as I don't want to take the time to do it now (and it DOES take a LOT of time!!! for me. ugh).  Katie posted one photo of some kids.  We went up to Duck Creek campground on  Tuesday afternoon, July 1.  Gail and Katie went up first with kids to find a good camp spot.  They did well.  Then the rest of us came later, and later still came Pam with Grandma Liebhardt to have dinner with us in the evening.

Can I just say that camping takes a heck of a lot of planning and packing and preparation.  And then we did it all over again, only backward--packing, unpacking and laundry.  Ugh.  It was so nice, though.  We were all together.  Folks had a lovely time. The food was good. The weather was nice.

Here are some camping photos I have found:

 S'mores are always the best part of campfires, aren't they?
 We had this really great idea to do one big group shot with everyone in it. With Katie's camera and the timer.  We positioned chairs so the lighting would be best (and we wouldn't have to sit in the campfire smoke or deal with campfire glare and the camera settings).
 Oh,and please finish your marshmallows before we take the picture. Please.

 Let's see. We have one in pajamas for a family picture.  I guess that'll be Okay. Great-Grandma sits here...
Like Father, Like Son!!!! [see Mike, above.]

 Still shuffleing people and chairs and marshmallows and pointy sticks...
 And shuffling kids and more marshmallows and more chairs... and hats...and kids.
 It's getting closer.  Oh, wait. There's no tripod. Oh well.  Use the chair.  Get everyone ready
 Honestly, what does it take to get one family group shot in the woods?? YOU sit HERE!
 Almost ready.  Fading light. Must hurry.

 If you ever want a perfect marshmallow roasted for you, have Lexi or Ella do it for you. They have a knack for it.

 Braeden's looks pretty good, too.

 I don't know why I don't have any photos of the kids playing with the bean bag toss that we brought with us.  And washer toss and another little game.  They liked playing together, though, and all got along well.

We LOVED the campsite that the girls picked.  Well, I did.  It was isolated--nobody near by to bother us or for us to bother.  The bathroom was close. There was no traffic. The picnic table and fire pits were nice for our dinner spot, and there was adequate firewood nearby. What more could anyone ask for?  Well, the lake close by, but that was OK.

Gail, Katie, Tandy and I left the campsite rather early on Wednesday the 2nd (after packing everything) because we had tickets to attend a matinee at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, "Sense and Sensibility."  Yes, Jane Austen.  :-)  It took a while to get cleaned up, and then we picked up Mike's mom and all headed to the theater.  What a nice production!  We all really enjoyed it.

We left Mike and Damian with all 7 kids up on the mountain and they tried their luck at a little fishing on Navajo lake before heading off the mountain.  They all made it back safe and sound.  We kept expecting lots of rain because of clouds and rain, but it sprinkled a bit while we were in the theater, but then all dried up.  Not so for my windshield wipers.  I couldn't turn them off!  I joked that my electrical stuff was blown a bit--perhaps the car had been struck by lightening while we were in the play?  I know when we got up to the campgound on Tuesday night, there were thunderings and lightenings around.  No rain fell on us, but it made the little Rossman clan a wee bit jumpy!

Awaiting the parade in Kanarraville on the Fourth. Katie, Grandma Liebhardt, Mike, Gail, Kaylee and Nick. No kids because they were all on the float!  The parade lasts less than 10 minutes and we gathered up one pail of candy. A plastic 5 quart ice cream pail.  Lots of good stuff, too!

The third of July I left everyone home to catch up on laundry and I went to work to catch up on my chores there.  The fourth was a fun time.  Small town Kanarraville Fourth of July.  Thanks to Pam for a lovely party, as usual.   All the kids were on a float that Tandy and family organized and put together (when, you might ask??!!).  We watched people perform at the town talent show, sang patriotic songs and then I was a party-pooper and came home with my group to feed them lunch of left-over hamburgers here instead of waiting in long lines and paying money at the Cobble Crest.  I needed the nap, too. ;-)

The parade photos:

 They look so patriotic, in their red, white and blue! (Nick and Kaylee)
 Every good parade needs horses.  Kanarraville is such a cute little town.
 And we need kids on bikes, and flags.  The theme of the parade was the 200 anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.
 Here comes our float!  and we're already out there, picking up candy.  Damian is walking down the street, taking pictures of the parade-watcher.

 The wording on the float reflects the words in "The Star Spangled Banner," and the scene depicted is one of the famous flag-raising scenes most folks recognize--raising the flag on Iwo Jima.  Look closely and you might see a character or two.  Mostly they were busy trying to get their cans of silly string working, or throwing candy out.

 Don't you just LOVE Tandy's socks????!!!!

 Great face, Caroline. ;-) Those cans can be difficult.

Photos from the program follow.  Some were sitting in the sunshine, some were enjoying the shade.  It was so fun to have family and friends gathered, listening to Tandy and her girls perform on the piano and Pam dance a traditional hula with other ladies from town.  Among other things. Not many fiddlers this year.

Lexi in red shirt with RW&B cap. All the parade kids on their float got these very cute base ball cps of Red, White and Blue.

Damian sitting in the kit section.

Sometimes kids just need to play in the rocks. So they did.  I should have zoomed in and cropped first.

Note how Corbin is now reclining in the rocks and gravel.

Dinner was in the evening at Pam's.  She fed 42 people for dinner that night!! Amazing feat, to be sure.  Fireworks followed at Dusk.  Tandy and Gail and Katie put glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces (just the plastic ring things) on all the kids and it really did help to keep track of everyone in the dark!  My goodness, what a display they and all their cousins put on in the sky!!  It was actually a bit chilly that evening.  I needed a blanket!  A storm was threatening, but never dropped any rain on our drought-stricken area.  The wind was  pretty  bad, though.  We thought for a while that it would be bad enough that fireworks would have to be cancelled, but they did them anyway.  I didn't take my camera to Pam's, but there were plenty of people snapping pictures all evening that I could see (Tandy and Katie, at least).  Late night.  Tired kids and grandparents.zzzzz.....

What a great Fourth of July!!  Did I mention that Nick and Kaylee drove down from Salt Lake on the third?  It was fun to have them here, too!!!  Just like last year--only a MUCH bigger crowd!