To Montana and back…

To Montana and back…

When you spend two long days in an automobile with someone, you get to know them pretty well.  Doug and I left on November 12th for the 1,130 mile journey to Montana for a sweet visit with my firstborn and his precious family.  Over the course of a couple of days, there was a lot of conversation and just as much laughter.  Thankfully, we have like tastes in music and enjoyed it at a volume we could actually hear!  We both sing along with the music and that’s fun.  We also have similar tastes in reading material and we both like mysteries…which made listening to a couple of books on tape enjoyable.  When we took breaks, we were anxious to get back to the mystery to pick up where we left off.  I think that I can honestly say the time and the miles actually flew by.

For the most part, we were blessed with good weather, marvelous scenery and light snow!  The funny photo below was one of several cute “photo ops” at the Wyoming Welcome Center.  I confess the one of me on horseback was funnier but won’t be published!  😉

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Rafting in snowy waters photo op at the terrific Wyoming Welcome Center…

We loved our time with my son and his family.  One day we drove about two hours to the Patagonia Outlet in Dillon, Montana.  Patagonia is expensive but a terrific 40% off sale made their prices look a whole lot better!  It was a beautiful drive with awesome scenery along the way…including several impressive Montana ranches!  On the way, we also made a stop at Montana Wheat Bakery & Deli for lunch and a visit to the bakery & gift shop.  On the evening before we left for the return trip home, Doug treated us all to pizza at the MacKenzie River Pizza Company in downtown Bozeman.  We had such a good time, but all too soon it was time to say goodbye.  I miss them all already!

On the return trip, we took the two-lane road through the Black Hills of South Dakota which made for some beautiful and interesting scenery.  We stopped for a break to check out a very neat place, the Spearfish Canyon Lodge.  It reminded me very much of the lodge in the movie Christmas in Connecticut.  It would be a great place for a winter vacation with all the snowy trails and snow mobiles for rent!  It would also be a great place to meet the family for a fun vacation in the Summer.  It is not far from Mount Rushmore, our next stop on the trip and only 2.5 miles from where the film Dances With Wolves was filmed.

I must be one of the few remaining people on earth who had not seen Mount Rushmore – along with Doug.  It is an inspiring, captivating place.  A place borne in the heart of a dreamer and sculptor.  To say it leaves an impression on you is an understatement.  Seeing it with snow covering the mountains made it extra special I think.  Not to mention the fact that on that bitter cold windy afternoon, we were two of only a handful of people in the entire park.

Enjoy the slide show below of our visit and our journey back home…

A snowy walk in Montana…

 

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A weekend pup-sitting…

A weekend pup-sitting…

I spent this past Friday until Monday pup-sitting Kiana while my daughter and her family drove four hours north to Minneapolis for the regional swim competition.  Her three oldest competed and did very well.

Back home with Kiana and me, it started pouring “ice” in the form of chunky sleet on Friday evening and progressed to snow on top of that on Saturday.  I stretched out in the comfy leather chair with the ottoman and knitted in front of their large HD television (completing another baby blanket for my baby granddaughter).  I was totally spoiled to watching my FBI shows in high definition by the time I left!  Cold Case Files will never be the same again on my little ancient television!  I also watched HGTV in HD.  It’s amazing the difference in the background things you notice.  I read some and spent time with a Hungarian Vizla.  Sometimes, just to get her up and moving (she’s on medication for her thyroid so she’s slow these days), I would say “Kiana!  See if there’s a BIRD outside!”  Her ears would perk up and she’d head to the window, her small tail straight out and a little pep to her step.  Being with Kiana all weekend made me realize how very much I have missed having a dog!  She was very good company.

In the photo above, she was sitting in front of the refrigerator and looking up at the cabinet where her treats are kept!  As if to say, well, what are you waiting for?!

When I arrived back to my apartment/condo on Monday afternoon, I noticed it was rather chilly.  I had left the thermostat set on 66 degrees, but it was definitely cooler than that.  I tried turning the thermostat up but nothing happened…except for the very loud unfamiliar noise coming from the furnace closet in the hallway just outside my apartment.  Long story short:  they are putting in a new furnace tomorrow.  It is now 30 degrees outside and snowing (again).  Not to worry, the elderly occupant in the condo below must keep his thermostat on 92 degrees for it hasn’t been too bad!  Plus the fact the Lenox company left me 3 small space heaters when they came to measure today just in case I needed them.  It was 60 degrees in the apartment this morning but I have on my Oregon sweatshirt and I’m surviving!  (Not to mention the fact that I could just return to my daughter’s house, but I have a lot of things that I need to accomplish here.)

I returned my videos and books that were due to the nearby library this morning and checked out another stack of knitting books.  Then, it was back home to clean the apartment.  Thought that would generate some warmth!  Good thing since, once again, the wind is gusting and the snow is falling… 😉

Blooming hope…

Blooming hope…

Outside, it is 26 brisk degrees with bright sunshine and plenty of snow still on the ground…

but, inside, the promise of Spring is blooming.

There is hope!  Winter will end…

Hide and seek…

Hide and seek…

When it’s cold and windy outside with a blanket of deep white covering the ground, one must be creative…especially when playing with grandchildren inside.  One must also have a very good sense of humor!  😉

It is a challenge trying to win at “hide and seek” when Kiana (the Hungarian Vizla) is a dead-give-away!

Me (whispering):   “Go away, Kiana!!!  I’m trying to hide!”

Kiana:  Slurp.  Slurp.  Kiss.  Kiss.  “Aw, Grandmom, let me in here with you!”

  My eight year old granddaughter:  “Found you, Grandmom!  *laughter*  You’re too big to fit in the cathedral room (the tent under the table…evidently, the sun shines through the different colors of blankets and looks like stained glass)!  Your bottom sticks out!” 

At this point, my daughter and I cracked up in laughter!

Actually, I think it was Kiana’s bottom that was sticking out from the tent!  😉

 

Snowy day scones…

Snowy day scones…

It has snowed all day long…a beautiful blanket of white.  My daughter, who is accustomed to driving in this after almost 15 years in Iowa, said that it was icy and treacherous driving and admonished me to stay home!  I did.

I put on a CD by Norah Jones and headed to the kitchen – something that I rarely do now for the purpose of “cooking for one”.  Obviously, I need to get over that and cook for myself.  I must get over it.  I’m working on it.

There were two fresh juicy lemons in the fruit bowl, and I decided to make my favorite lemon raisin Scottish scones.  Scotland…  I’ve held on to a small account for years that I’ve called my “U.K. account”.  I haven’t used it to travel yet and hope I don’t have to use it for my “old age”.  I picture myself in England or Ireland or Wales…but, most especially, I picture myself in Scotland enjoying tea and scones in a quaint little tea shoppe.  I have a vivid imagination.

 

 

 When the scones came out of the oven, I glazed them with the juice of one-half lemon and enough powdered sugar for the right consistency.  Then I enjoyed a delicious warm scone with a cup of Constant Comment tea and watched the snow fall…

Dianne’s Raisin Lemon Scones

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

6 tablespoons butter

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

2 beaten eggs

1 teaspoon lemon extract or lemon juice

zest of one fresh, washed lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a cookie sheet or stoneware pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients + lemon zest.  Cut the butter in gently until mixture resembles “crumbs”.  Combine the yogurt and beaten eggs and add to ingredients.  Add the raisins.  You may need to add 2 – 3 tablespoons of milk to make it a dough you can work with.  Gently work the dough adding a little flour if needed.  Form a circle and pat it down on your stoneware pan or cookie sheet.  Use a pizza cutter to score the dough.  Bake at 425 degrees for about 12 – 15 minutes (depending on oven) or until golden.  Glaze the scones while still warm.  Enjoy!

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