Saturday, June 28, 2014

Big Meadows Again

Pulled into Big Meadows yesterday, fulfilling our reservation for the July 4th holiday.  The Abeytas will be here this afternoon and The Berganns will bring their rig up next week….hopefully there will be a spot opened for them.

Here is the view from Site #10.  The evening was very pleasant and we had a campfire…forgot to take a picture.  Hopefully the nice weather will last as we only have a quiet breeze going on now so it will be nice sitting outside.


This morning I “broke down” as I call it all my veggies steaming the broccoli, sautéing the mushrooms, cut up the fresh pineapple, shucked the corn on the cob and defrosted, skinned and cut up the last of our green chiles.  So I am ready for the week as I have blood oranges, fresh blueberries, a couple of mangoes, some local butter leaf lettuce and a cabbage….yup I’m all set.

More photos tomorrow….remember, you are loved.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lunch at Nestle Toll House

The other day Salai and I went to lunch at our local Nestle Toll House.  They have sweet and savory crepes as well as wraps for lunch. 

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We chose the savory Chicken Florentine crepe and enjoyed watching it being made by Randi.






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The finished product was pretty nice looking



The décor inside is very well done

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After lunch we enjoyed some dessert Salai getting the frozen yogurt that they sell for 69 cents per ounce with many choices to add on from sprinkles to cookies pieces; I opted for espresso ice cream….yummmm.

It was a nice lunch with my friend. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jeeps and Cowls

Wind has continued to blow off and on keeping us inside.  Haven’t done much the last couple of days.  Been watching TV mostly and I started another knitted cowl.  I did finish up one of the cowls I was working on at my family reunion in North Dakota.  My Cousin Susie admired the cowl on the right when I was knitting it, so I mailed it to her last week when I finished it.


Jim has gotten industrious and washing and waxed the Jeep.  The rag top finally gave us the ghost after wind got a tear and left it useless.  Jim and his brother changed out the soft top for the hard top, which we have had stored and haven’t used in over 10 years.  It looks pretty spiffy now.  Not bad for a 10 year old Jeep.


Today Jim will wash and wax “The Blue Hornet” the name I gave the Chevy Dually.  Much bigger job. 

I think I’ll get my new walking sticks and take a walk in the cemetery….I like reading the headstones. 

We’re gearing up to leave Alamosa Friday and moving back up to Big Meadows where we have a ten day reservation for over the 4th.  We’ll meet up with the Abeytas and the Berganns….look out South Fork the Three Musketeer couples are together again!!!

Remember, you are loved.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Rails and Ales Block Party

Like many small towns in Colorado where we have long, cold winters, summertime brings a lot of festivals to celebrate warmer times.  Last night was one such festivity.  From 5 p.m. to midnight the side street next to San Luis Valley Brewery was closed, a band stand erected and a beer garden set up featuring their brews.


It was a perfect night, clear skies with a little breeze and no mosquitoes. Heinz and Angela joined us and we put our hinnies on a planter in front of Nestle Toll House.  Nothing like a chocolate chip cookie and a beer!

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We listened to the music of Bittersweet and Narrow Gauge.

And in between we listened to Efram. (Ef has owned some wonderful restaurants we have frequented through the last 30 years and is now retired and enjoys being a DJ.)


We didn’t make it to midnight, needless to say, but left after a “respectably late hour”.

Remember, you are loved.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summerfest and Gonzales’s Zoo

The day after we returned from North Carolina we were able to attend the last day of Summerfest on the Rio, which is our local celebration of the start of summer.

There had been a huge wind storm the day before so many of the vendors had packed up and gone, but the concert that Sunday night was fabulous, Pedro and the Pistols.  Well, maybe I’m prejudice cause we knew the lead musician as a young teen living next door to us.  I remember trying to drown out the “noise” when Nick’s and his band were learning to play together in their garage.  Fast forward 22 years Nick is a very accomplished musician, married with two kids.

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Here is Nick’s parents, Fred and Laurie Gonzales, who were both teachers, now retired.

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Our two families have many ties that bind us together:  next door neighbors; we got Poncho from Fred and Laurie; we bought their fifth-wheel as our first rig on the road; we traded our two-wheel drive Chevy for Fred’s four-wheel Chevy dually,the one we drive now, and Fred is still using our old truck on his farm.

We had a grand time getting reacquainted and they invited us to their house the next day for a barbecue and music jam session. Oh, yah, we could do that!!!

Here is their picturesque farm house


and look at the beautiful columbines Laurie is growing
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Glad to see they still have their large teepee



Fred is a “gentleman farmer”.  He loves having animals around him and he has had all kinds of animals at one time or another.  At one time he had all kinds of miniatures from mini goats to a mini cow, yes a mature cow that came up to your knee.  He’s also had llamas, alpacas and fancy top hat chickens.  Couldn’t wait to see what he has now….take a look.

They have two males and three female peacocks
A couple of tom turkeys
Oh, yes, and a reindeer



We listen to Fred and a few of his cronies play their guitars






And look what we found – yup Jim’s old Chevy still going strong.






Soon it was time to eat and, of course, Jim happily volunteered to do the grilling, although that face doesn’t show it.


All the fixins were delicious, especially the green chili as we know it here in Colorado.

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Conversations and music continued and we left when the mosquitoes invaded.  Nice evening remembering earlier days together. 

Remember, you are loved.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Too Windy to Stay

Last Tuesday we drove from Alamosa to South Fork Campground to pick up our fridge with it’s new cooling unit. Oh, it was so nice to have a fridge again and ICE, oh it was lovely to have ice again. We stayed with Rich and Terri for three days to make sure the fridge was working OK and then on Friday we moved to Big Meadows, a national forest campground.

We were excited because we were camping with three other couples – Heinz and Angela – Teddy and Roberta – and previous campers of ours, Richard, Landi and Nathaniel. 


Teddy and Roberta surprised us by showing up with a new rig.  It is a perfect 24’ size with two recliners, booth dinette and size kitchen along with good-size bed.

Friday night Teddy made a ground beef and potato mix along with tortillas and roasted green chile. Simple and delicious.

Saturday Jim made his bacon-wrapped cornbread-stuffed pork loin.  Yummy as always!

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It was sunny, but the wind was kicking up, but we managed to keep the campfire going.



Sunday Heinz and Angela’s daughters came up and fished with their dad and had lunch together.  Kaitlin brought a Dairy Queen S’mores ice cream cake.

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For dinner Teddy and Jim grilled pork ribs.  Nathaniel is a big, big fan of Jim’s ribs and as a teenager he can eat a lot, I mean, a lot of ribs.  Every summer we camphosted Nathaniel would ask Jim to cook him pork ribs.  This year he ate SEVEN meaty ribs…I ate two they were so big... so you can see how much Nathaniel ate.  Love you, Kid.




Landi outdid herself by making a hash brown potato casserole, a green salad, plus a cheese cake and banana pudding.

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Monday Landi fixed up fresh fish packets stuffing them with lemon and dill, which Jim cooked on the grill for her.  We had so many leftovers we just recycled them all for our sides.  Nothing like fresh caught fish!

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Oh, yah, one of those mornings Jim made biscuits and sausage gravy….can’t forget that “died and gone to heaven” breakfast.


The sun shined all weekend, but it was WINDY every single day.  And we’re not talking breezy, we talking full on 15-25 MPH in the morning and evening with gusts of 30-45 MPH.  You couldn’t sit outside long and most nights we parted early to hide in our rigs.

It is different to see Big Meadows without trees, but it sure gives beautiful views for most campsites.

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The weather prediction was for more wind all week long, so instead of staying we chose to leave and come back to Alamosa.  If I’m going to have to be inside I might as well have electricity.

Remember, you are loved.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cataract Surgery

Last week I had my cataracts checked by my ophthalmologist and both eyes will need surgery.  My doctor explained the choice I had of either a standard lens replacement that would require me to continue to wear glasses because of my astigmatism (and what Medicare will pay for)  OR  I could go with a premium lens replacement (called ACRYSof Toric) that costs $900 per lens and NOT have to wear glasses ever again.

I put up a post on my Facebook page asking for comments on which lens to get.  I got a lot of responses and after phone calls from a couple of respondents I decided to go with the toric lenses….biggest reason being in the long run I would save money not having to buy a new pair of glasses every year or two.

So tomorrow I go to have my eye precisely measured and am scheduled for cataract surgery July 1st.  I understand they usually use a very small incision so I should be able to see better pretty quickly. 

I’ll keep you informed on how I do….oh, yes, prayers would be appreciated.

Remember, you are loved.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Family Reunion

We had a whirlwind of a time going to and returning from my family reunion in Murphy, North Carolina.  My sister flew in from Costa Rica, a cousin on my mother’s side drove down from Connecticut with her husband, a cousin on my father’s side flew up from Florida and her brother and his wife live in Murphy. So there was six relatives and their spouses.

We’d drove up the night before and stayed overnight at Holiday Inn at Stapleton and what a nice experience. We found out we could leave our truck in their parking garage for only $5 a night, which is quite a savings from what other park and drives were offering at $9-12 a night.

We arrived in Atlanta about 4 p.m. and picked up our rental car.  By the time my sister arrived at 7 p.m. and got through customs, it was 8:30 p.m.  We had a 2 1/2 hour drive up to Murphy and with stopping for a bite to eat, it was midnight by the time we got there.

My brother has two beautiful rental cabins (Stone Creek Cabins) which he let us stay in…Jim and I in one and my cousin Sally and her husband, Bob, from Connecticut in the other.

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We took turns cooking and had a nice time chatting and savoring memories of our childhood together.  My parents had a restaurant in Florida where all the kids worked at one time or the other.  It was a big surprise when the first night my brother came out wearing the apron my dad use to wear every night cooking at the restaurant.

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This is my dad and mom wearing the aprons. We all wore them when we worked in the restaurant.






My sister was surprised by her friends in Florida that had a bouquet of flowers delivered to my brother’s for her. Here is my sister on the left looking at old photos and my cousin, Susie, on the right (she’s the one who flew up from Florida).


One of the days my brother, Mike, took Jim out on a ride in his 1984-85 Camaro IROC.  It has a powerful engine.  They sure had fun!

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DSCN3605On Wednesday we drove into Murphy proper to visit my other cousin, Bob, and his wife, Sandy, who own a bed and breakfast, Angels Landing Inn. Bob was recovering from foot surgery so he couldn’t get around easily so we went to him.


This is the Stone clan…seated is Bob, in the back is my brother, Mike, me, Susie (Bob’s sister), and my sister, Evi.  Look how different we all look and yet our father’s were brothers.  Even my brother, sister and I look so different.  Everyone was kidding that there must have been an interesting milkman or postman in our neighborhood cause I look so much different from the rest.

Here are individual photos taken …. doing this so they can copy them off this post.

Jim and I
Brother Mike and his wife, Debbie
Cousin Bob and his wife, Sandy
Cousin Sally and her husband, Bob
Cousin Susie and my sister, Evi

Sally prepared two wonderful meals and featured some of her mother’s Polish recipes….yummm.  I’ll never forget that beet gelatin salad and those lemon bar….oh,yes, those lemon bars. Thanks for giving me the recipe.


One night Jim made his now famous, bacon wrapped, cornbread stuffed pork loin on the grill.  Oh, my….fantastic!


One morning Mike made a large pot of machunka which we use to eat for breakfast dipping in chucks of bread.  It’s a tomato dish made by rendering bacon and then making a roux with the fat and flour.  You then add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and sugar.  It’s becomes this sweet and tart thick tomato gravy. We use to dunk rye bread in it.  I must have been 6 or 7 before I found out not everybody ate machunka for breakfast.  To me eating bacon and eggs was a treat and only happened on special occasions. Thanks, Mike, for bringing back such wonderful memories.  I haven’t had machunka for over 50 years.

Jim made his wonderful biscuits and gravy to go along with the machunka so we really had a feast for breakfast.

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Friday night we met over at Sally and Bob’s cabin and ate leftovers. It was a combination of machunka, ham, spaghetti pie and Polish kielbasa.  What an extraordinaire taste fest.

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Here is the Makruta family….Sally’s mother and our mother were sisters.


And then here is me with my brother and sister.


The country side of these Smokey Mountains are beautiful and it was a fitting backdrop for our family reunion.  It was wonderful to interact as adults and reminiscence of times in our childhood in Lake Worth, Florida.

To get my sister back to Atlanta in time for her Delta International plane to Costa Rica we had to leave Murphy at 5:30 a.m. As I was seeing her off Jim was returning the rental car.  I then took a shuttle to the car rental center and met him.  Then it was walk, airport train, escalators, moving walkways, and more walking to get to our Southwest Airline gate.  We had a 5 hour wait for our plane before our 3 hour flight back to Denver.  Picked up the truck and boogied down I-25, stopping in Pueblo for a late dinner before tackling going over La Veta Pass back to Alamosa.  If you use only one time zone we were up 21 hours before we got home at 11 p.m.  Long day, but so worth it.

Thanks be to my brother and his wife, Debbie for their generous hospitality; to my cousin, Sally for traveling from Connecticut and her wonderful cooking; to my sister for conquering her fears and flying to America after 15 years; thanks also to my cousins Bob and Susie for caring so much to be part of this reunion and finally, “thank you” to those of you who read this blog and your tenacity to keep reading through this long, long post about people you don’t know.  My family wanted to see pictures and identify relatives they have never met, but you, you read all of this also….thank you!!!!

Remember, you are loved.