Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vacation, all I ever wanted...

We went back to Albuquerque, yo.  Rented the same house we've rented twice before.  It feels like home.  I really love the area. We drove down there at night & it seemed to take forever...I think it's our old age, we just can't stay up all night and bounce back like we used to. But it didn't take long for us to get settled in and enjoy the beautiful weather.  Hot, no humidity, cool nights...I could seriously live there.
We ate well, drank well, played hard, read, biked, walked, ran, golfed, shopped, read, and relaxed.  We ate dinner outside every night and set up the projector to watch a couple of movies poolside. It was a wonderful trip.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Goodbye to our boy...

Our boy, our Sidney.  I remember the day I brought him home...he was one of several kittens being given away. I'd seen in ad in the paper, called and arranged to pick one up in a few days.  I had my wisdom teeth removed and was recuperating at my parents' house.  Mom drove me to the house and the woman led me into the garage where there were were six or seven orange & white kittens scampering about. The little boy of the house had his heart set on keeping all of them...he pointed and said, "I want this one, and this one and this one...".  I asked him which I could have and he pointed to a kitten and said "that one".  I leaned over and picked up the softest, trembling ittybittykitty.  I held him to my chest and put him in a box with a blanket for the ride home to my apartment.  He was so scared, I'd just taken him from his mother and all of his brothers and sisters.  The next day, I was on the phone with my mom and we were discussing names.  At this point, I had no idea if the kitty was a he or a she.  So I was thinking of names that could go either way...Frankie, Charlie...then Mom suggested Sidney.  "If it's a boy, you can spell is Sidney and if it's a girl, it could be Sydney".   Well, a few days later at the vet, Sidney it was.

He was the best boy ever. He was so sweet and fluffy and wanted to play for hours. He kept me up at night trying to "catch" my fingers.  He'd fall asleep in the middle of wrestling with my hand.  He loved riding in the car to my mom & dad's...where they would babysit on a Saturday or Sunday while I worked.   When my parents moved to San Antonio, Sidney and I moved with them. We lived in a great big, very old two-story house. Sidney adored the hardwood floors, where balls of paper moved with lightning speed, as he chased them under the buffet in the dining room. He lived for racing down the stairs and talking to the birds outside the floor to ceiling windows.  One of his favorite toys was an old handkerchief that had belonged to my father, I had knotted it in a few places...and Sidney would carry it around in his mouth.  I could throw the handkerchief down the stairs and Sidney would run and get it. Then carry it back to me and ask me to do it again.  Sometimes he wanted to do this at 2am. He'd have it in his mouth and make this funny moaning sound that echoed in the large empty hallway.  A few nights of this and I'd have to "hide" his toy at night.

Sidney and I eventually moved back to Kansas, where we lived with my friend Brenda and her cat, Casper.  Sidney and Casper never became best friends, but they co-existed nicely after an adjustment period.  Eventually, I met John and John was a dog person and a little allergic to cats. But John and Sidney became friends.  When we got engaged and the lease ended on the home Brenda & I shared; I moved in with my parents for the two months before our wedding.  At this point, my parents had a dog and a cat of their own. So Sidney moved in with John, in the house we'd purchased that spring.  Something wonderful happened in those two months.  Sidney and John became the best of friends, they formed a bond like nothing I'd ever seen.  John became his Daddy and the two of them were quite the pair.  John could pick him up and hold him like a baby...and Sidney would let him do this forever. He would tilt his head and bump it against John's head, asking for kisses, and John would oblige and shower kisses upon Sidney's head.  And the naps they would take!  They could cuddle and nap for hours, especially if golf was on the tv.  I loved seeing them together like this.

We were a family.

Sidney loved living in Topeka the past 5 years. He loved escaping outside to eat some grass and discovering new places to nap. He loved seeing John everyday at lunch.  He loved sleeping in our bed during the day, tunneling his way under the covers.  He loved drinking from the faucet or from the shower floor.  And prowling the garage, lying on the cool concrete.  Getting the mail with Daddy and searching the wind for new and different scents.  On Sundays, he was all about hanging out on the sofa in the family room and watching movies, wanting only to lie near us...and if we moved and disturbed his slumber, he let us know.  "Sunday Sidney", we would call him.  We had songs for him, John and I would sing, alternating verses.  When we'd leave for a little vacation...we'd miss him so.  John would ask me, "what do you think Sidney is doing now?". Sometimes I would play along and tell him that Sidney was getting ready to watch some tv or he was messing with our dvr.  Other times, I would ask John, why was he trying to make me sad?  We'd come home and Sidney would purr and purr.  He'd walk into the dining room and roll onto the carpet, "Look how cute I am? Don't you want to pick me up and hug me?"  And we would. And we'd give him kisses upon the head, dozens of them.

In the past couple of years, Sidney started showing his age. He would've been 18 years old this summer. Each visit to the vet made me realize how precious our time together was. I would hold his little head and look into his eyes, trying to make sure my heart never forgot his face.  This last visit was the saddest, it was time to say goodbye.  Dr. Trupp and his staff were amazing.  They left us alone in the room for 20 minutes or so while we held Sidney and loved him.  When the time came, John held him in his arms and I stroked his head. He went peacefully and our hearts broke in two.

Sidney was one of the best things that ever happened to me. He changed me and made my heart grow in ways I didn't know were possible.  I know John feels the same way.  We all had each other and we were the luckiest.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lush o' the Irish

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day twice this year.  On March 17th, we had my parents and Javier over for corned beef & cabbage, potatoes and cornbread.  Beer was enjoyed by all but my mother.
Then on Saturday, the 19th, we headed to Manhattan, KS to party with Doug & Mindy.  We were woefully unprepared for the drunken mess that was about to ensue.  In fact, we'd all (John, Javier & I) said, we wanted to have a good time but not get drunk.  And then I competed in the Belfast Bomber (or Irish Car Bomb) contest and hung out behind the bar at Doug & Mindy's and passed out shots.  Oh!  And let's not forget the Long Island Iced Teas I just had to have at the KatHouse. Quite a few of us spent the night at Doug & Mindy's beautiful home, we were at least prepared for that.  Needless to say, we had a good time.  It was a rough morning and we needed cheeseburgers & Cokes to fully recover...but if they'll have us, we'll go again next year!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Damn it.  Once again, I've let too many months go in between posts.  Here are some highlights from the past few months.

  • We hosted Thanksgiving with my parents, Greg & Kerrice.  Everything was delicious...except for the sweet potatoes I'd never even put in the oven. 
  • Christmas was lovely.  We saw everyone and spent the following week together at home. 
  • We had another small pajama party for NYE.  It's my favorite.  John says we should make annual t-shirts.
  • In January we said good-bye to a dear friend, Ray Galloway.  He passed away suddenly and we were all shocked and saddened.  The graveside service was beautiful, snow covered the ground and many people came to pay their respect.  Reba Russell sang a few verses and we stayed a bit to listen to some blues and drink a beer for Ray. 
  • Valentine's Day was sweet & simple.  John sent the prettiest flowers and we had a delicious dinner at home.  A few days afterwards, Mom & Dad took us all out to Chez Yasu for another celebration.
  • We celebrated our friend Brenda's 40th birthday in February.  It was quite the week. Dinner on her birthday, margaritas, mexican food and cake on Friday night.  And on Saturday, John, Javier & I took her out for a sophisticated night on the town. Sophisticated meaning, getting fancy cocktails at interesting places and a late dinner in a dimly lit restaurant. 
  • John and I started doing some much needed work on our bathroom. We took the wonky glass doors off and replaced them with a shower curtain. I love it!  Now I want to replace the mirrors with medicine cabinets, paint and update some hardware.  
  • We reserved "our" house in Albuquerque for a week's vacation in late June.  Cannot wait! 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Blues Fest 2010

Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival celebrated it's 25th anniversary this year and we were there for the celebration! Known as King Biscuit Blues Festival since it's inception, the name had to be changed several years ago. But thanks to a very profitable, successful festival, it's going back to the King Biscuit name!

Dad has been stage managing the main stage for years and years, John has been working the stage crew for 7, and I make my way down there whenever I feel like it. (one of my main deciding factors is if Corrie is going!)

Corrie, Anson Funderburgh and me
John and Chad
Kerrice and Corrie
 We had a blast! Music was fantastic, weather was great, and we just enjoyed seeing everyone. Kerrice joined us this year and she made friends with everyone she met!
We saw B.B.King, Dr. John, Taj Mahal, Marcia Ball, Reba Russell, Anson Funderburgh, James Harman, Wolfman Washington and the list goes on.
One of our favorites was Preston Shannan, the first act on Saturday. We were staying out of the sun,
chilling behind the stage, still recovering from Friday...when they started to play. A really solid set...Preston was great on the guitar and backed by a talented band. When they did their version of "Purple Rain", we all just looked at each was really well done. Just a great, great start to our final day at the Blues Fest.

With Preston Shannan

Dad and B.B. King

Exhausted, we drove home on Sunday, talking about all of the fantastic music we heard and realizing how lucky we were.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ichabods in Colorado

We are pretty involved with Washburn University. John graduated from there and currently works for Washburn, and he was just elected to the Washburn Alumni Board of Directors. For several years now, Washburn's first football game of the season has been against Colorado School of Mines. The game this year was in Golden, CO and we talked about going. Plans solidified when I found out Ray LaMontagne and David Gray were going to play Red Rocks the Monday after the game. I talked John into it and in turn, he talked Javier and Brenda into going with us. We turned it into a fantastic weekend!

Drove to Denver on a Friday, I scheduled a detour at the outlet malls in Castle Rock, everyone bought something at Coach! We made good time and checked into the Sheraton Denver West--we got great rates using Hotwire. That night Washburn Alumni gathered at a sports bar near Cherry Creek for a get together. Our friends Robin & Scott were there and we had a lot of fun visiting and trying new beers. I'd done a little research and read about a burger place in the Cherry Creek area, after hearing some more great things about it, that's where we went for dinner. Cherry Cricket was was great and we had a blast hanging out at the teeny bar in the back, talking with the bartender.

Washburn played on Saturday, it was sunny and warm, and we cheered the Ichabods on to victory. Yes, Ichabods. If you need more info on why the Ichabods are the Ichabods, go here. "What's an Ichabod?"
We stopped at a joint right across from our hotel for happy hour...Jose O'Shea's...seriously some of the best margaritas I've ever had. And I love margaritas.

Sunday, we drove to Colorado Springs. We had brunch at the Broadmoor and it was outstanding...gorgeously done, everything you could possibly want. We changed into some casual clothes and took a drive. Patsy's for some saltwater taffy, then checked out Green Mountain Falls, where John and his family vacationed for years. Finally ending up at one of my favorite places, Garden of the Gods. A few hours were spent here...

At the end of the day, we were finally hungry again and I casually mentioned that there was a good German restaurant nearby, Edelweiss. So happy that the gang said that sounded good! Oh my goodness, I was in heaven...gemichste salat, rahmschnitzel, spatzle.

On Monday, we touristed up and got out to see a few things. Breakfast at Snooze in Denver was a very wise decision. So was the Denver Museum of Nature & Science--it was free that day to Colorado residents. We tried to pay but they waved us on through. Then back to Golden to tour the Coors Brewery. Time was running out but we stopped at another place I'd read about, Empanada Express, right there in Golden. Venezuelan empanadas and arepas, some fried yucca and plaintains...all good!

Breakfast nirvana...


We were worried about getting to Red Rocks on time...we had general admission and wanted to make sure we got there to have seats together. I was warned about the trek to the amphitheatre but I truly had no idea. Combine the altitude with my general outofshapeness, and I was wiped out by the time we made it to our seats. Brenda thinks they should take pictures of us and put a sign at the bottom of the steps..."If you look anything like these two women, don't attempt".
It was worth it, the show was great...beautiful setting, gorgeous night.

We packed a lot into that long weekend! I love Colorado and hope we can go back soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My kind of town...

Chicago is. We went for a long weekend in July with our friends Javier, Cheri, Scott & Robin and had a blast. It was John's first trip to Chicago and I hadn't been in over 15 years. The trip was planned by Washburn Alumni, but it was very much a do your own thing kind of trip.

We started off with a Chicago architectural boat tour and I highly recommend it! That night we went to a great cocktail party hosted by Washburn for us and Chicago alums. We drank all of the free cocktails we could, then walked to the original Pizzeria Uno where, amazingly, our group of 7 got right in and ate ourselves silly.

The next day was spent in Wrigleyville. Drinks at a friend's apartment, Cubs game, and more drinks at Murphy's Bleachers. Again, we found ourselves happy & hungry, so we trekked all the way to a Costa Rican restaurant we'd heard of, Irazu in Bucktown.

Saturday was spent negotiating Michigan Ave. where Transformers 3 was filming. We had breakfast at a place we'd spotted the day before, e.leaven, delicous! We made it through the crowds and did some shopping. We ended up on the 96th floor of the Hancock Center for two and a half hours drinking the most delicious mojitos we'd ever had. Then we hit Tiffany's where Cheri did some major damage and John bought me the sweetest pair of earrings. I've decided that we should always have cocktails before shopping for jewelry! Again, happy & hungry, I dragged us several blocks to get some food at Portillo's.
That night we went out for Italian at a place Cheri's friend had recommended, Rosebud on Rush. We went for a long walk afterwards and ended up stopping at Billy Goat Tavern to pick up a cheeseburger for Robin. (I think she and Scott were suffering from too much fun)

Sunday, we were a little lazy and walked to Millenium Park and grabbed some breakfast on the way. We'd flown out but were taking the train back, so we ordered pizza from Gino's East to take on the train with us. I wanted Lou Malnati's but was talked out of it. I really didn't care for Gino's East, especially when compared to the Pizzeria Uno from Friday night. Next time, it's Lou Malnati's!

It was our first time on Amtrak and we loved it! (Except for Cheri, I don't think she liked anything that day) But John, Javier and I would definitely do it again! It was a long trip, but time flew and we spent most of our time playing cards in the observation car.

We can't wait to go back!