Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fun Weekend with Lloyd

Last weekend was non stop fun!  My friend Lloyd flew down from Portland to hang out - it had been entirely too long since he'd been here.

The back story on my friendship with Lloyd is pretty cool, I think.  Many of you know that I used to be a consultant for Lawson Software.  Shortly after I started with them I flew up to the Seattle (Bellevue, actually) office to "back up" another consultant teaching a Procurement class.  It was a private class for a client that had just purchased the software.  Lloyd was a student in that class.  That's how we first met.  Not too long after that class I started consulting at his company.  That gig continued off and on for the entire time I worked for Lawson.  We became great friends and at one point Ken even flew up to Portland while I was consulting and we spent the weekend with Lloyd.  When I left Lawson to work at Sutter Health the friendship didn't end and we've had numerous adventures together since then.  Camping on the Klamath River, multiple trips to the Wine and Seafood Festival in Astoria, visits at our house (including traveling down for one of our big summer pool parties).

So our history is a long one (hard to believe I've known Lloyd now for almost 15 years) and a good one.  And this weekend continues in that same vein.

Friday night we went to Mikuni Sushi in Roseville and absolutely feasted!  (yep - I dropped off the Weight Watcher bandwagon for the weekend - but I'm back on now)

When I asked for more Wasabi the waiter said I must be a big fan of Wasabi so he brought me some fresh Wasabi and some Wasabi relish.  The dish on the right has both, and the one on the left is "plain old Wasabi."  OMG it was delish!

When we got home we made cocktails but had a bit of a mix up.  Somehow one glass got both Rum and Vodka (instead of into two separate glasses) so I thought I'd see if I could make a yummy drink - I added Ginger Ale and a cute stir stick.  It didn't work.  Down the drain it went!

Wouldn't this look great in our bar?

Saturday we had a yummy egg sandwich breakfast with bacon, sausage and the all important Tater Tots!  We needed to work off the food so we took a drive out to Amador and Sutter Creek and walked all over both towns.  We window shopped, Antique shopped, and I even managed to shop for Western "bling" clothes at Romancin-the-range a great shop full of bling!  

There is even a cheese shop in Sutter Creek called Sutter Creek Cheese Shoppe and it was having a cheese tasting.  Of course we went in!  What fun.  I tried multiple varieties and Ken even tried two Blue (Bleu? Blu!) Cheese samples and actually LIKED one of them (and he HATES Blue Cheese).  We ended up purchasing four varieties of cheese, a fresh baked baguette and some pepper salami. 

Rather than going straight out to dinner after our day we stopped at home to sample the cheeses and Lloyd made Kick-butt Manhattans (we'd picked up a bottle of Willett Bourbon (smooth) and Lillet Vermouth (dark) as well as Maraschino cherries for this express purpose).   Both Ken's and my grandparents were represented, too.  The shaker that the Manhattan's were made in was Ken's Grandmother's and the glasses we used were my Grandparent's.

 I decided to take a timed photo so I could be in the picture and forgot that it took three pictures in a row.  The first one we're all posed but this one is the second one where none of us knew it was going to take another picture.  By the third picture we were laughing.

Here's a close up of  our plate with Brie, the hard cheese is Ewephoria (a goat cheese - get it!) and the salami and baguette.  Yumm!

Sunday Lloyd and I went to Old Sac to walk around the shops (in the rain).  We made sure we got home in time to head to a bar so we could watch the 49er National Championship game.  We ended up at the bar in Lucille's - the bartender was a 49er fan and the food was (of course) fantastic.

I'm sure you can see the theme for the weekend - food and fun!  By Monday morning I think we all needed to go to work to rest and shrink our stomachs back to normal size!

We're looking forward to Lloyd's next visit.  Whether it's a trip up to Portland to visit him there, or back down at our house.  We're sure to have fun!

Monday, January 16, 2012

6 Weeks Since I've Seen Blu

Last weekend I went down with Sharon and enjoyed some fabulous weather at the ranch.  I couldn't ride because I'm still not cleared by the doctor but I enjoyed time with Blu.

Watching from the sidelines takes some getting used to!

It's been 6 weeks since I'd been down to see him.  Yikes.  I never want to go that long again.

And yes, I do totally miss riding.  It was tough to watch Todd riding, knowing that I wouldn't be getting in the saddle at all.  And seeing how nicely Blu was going on Saturday, too.  Sheesh.

I did take some video.  Though I forgot to recharge the battery before the trip so I wasn't able to take as much as I would have liked.

I asked Sharon if she wanted to ride Blu, too.  The last (and only other) time she rode him it was because he was being a pill so I thought it would be nice if she got a chance to ride him when he wasn't (a pill).  And to ride him in the Bosel.

Sharon on Blu

Sunday was Brrrr cold and Blu was not appreciating being the first one out.  The wind was up, too.  Doesn't make for the best riding conditions.  But Todd worked him through his moments.  And I got a few more photos.

Blu thought there was something in the bushes - but he was standing square and it looked pretty.  Click!

For my next visit I should be able to start riding.  The doctor said  if I can jog then I can get in the saddle and ride for 5-10 minutes.  Five to ten MINUTES?!?!  I'll barely be in the saddle and the time will be up!  But she says I can build up from there.  So by the second day I should be at an hour, right?!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Las Vegas Week - The Elvis Wedding

Our wedding day has to rank up at the very, very top of my favorite days ever.

We did our Vegas Elvis wedding RIGHT.

Hair and makeup, Limo, a great Elvis, dinner and clubbing....

After shopping for a few hours at Mandalay Bay we got back to the MGM in time for the limo to pick  Sharon and me up and bring us to Viva Las Vegas where we were pampered by having our hair and makeup done.  Sara and Yolanda came from Off The Edge Salon and if you click the salon's link you can see the two wonderful ladies.  Sara is on the left and Yolanda on the right.  They were dolls!  Such fun, and talented too!  Sara did our makeup and Yolanda, our hair.  I wish I could have them around all the time!

I am not usually one to like photos of myself, but having my hair and makeup done professionally can make a difference!

The men traveled in style, too.  The limo picked them up at the MGM and brought them to the chapel in time for the ceremony.  When they arrived they joined up with an amazing group of friends who came all the way to Las Vegas for the wedding!

It was a nice stretch limo!

We chose a 6:00pm wedding in the Garden Chapel at Viva Las Vegas Weddings because it looked so pretty with all the twinkling lights.

Describing the wedding would be inadequate, I believe.  Watching it, on the other hand, would make you feel like you were there.  Shortly after we got back from Vegas I posted the video to my YouTube channel so you may have already seen it.  But in case you haven't (or want to see it again) - Enjoy!  (We did!)

Turns out we had a popular Elvis, too.  He was in Katy Perry's video "Waking up in Vegas" and our wedding included a couple "firsts" for Viva Las Vegas.  First Elvis wedding in their Garden Chapel and First double wedding officiated by Elvis.  Fun!

"Our" Elvis is at about the 1:11 mark

The chapel had our names up in lights, too.  "Sharon & Bill Married 10 Years" and "Kathy & Ken Married 20 Years"  We heard quite a few horns honking while we were out taking photos.  Not many can say they've had their name up in lights on the Las Vegas Strip!  

Mom took this photo and I love that the four of us are in it!  

After the wedding we got in the limo again (such suffering!) and went back to the MGM where we had reservations at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House.  May I just say "YUM!"  We had a round table for 12 (that easily fit an extra person) that was perfect.  The company was fabulous and the meal was divine.

The "Newlyweds"

After dinner:  the Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay.

What a way to finish off a most memorable day!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Las Vegas Week - Rodeo

I tried to condense five nights of rodeo into one series of photos and a video.  Included is a short write up on some of the events, from what I know (or THINK I know.  HA!).  It's probably 1/2 wrong, and as book authors say in their Acknowledgements "Any mistakes are mine and are not the fault of anyone else."

Opening the Rodeo each night was a parade of all the competitors.  They all rode in, single file, following their state flag, while the announcer introduced them.  It's high speed and they all end up tightly grouped and then race out to kick off the night.

Team Roping - The Cowboy in the white shirt (Header) ropes the calf's head and the Cowboy in the purple shirt (Heeler) ropes the calf's two back legs (not just one - that's a 5 second penalty) and stops the calf.  It's a timed event - fastest team wins.

Saddle Bronc riding - 8 seconds of Ouch.

Calf Roping - the Cowboy has to rope the calf, run to it, flip it onto its side then tie three legs together , get back on his horse and loosen the rope, giving the calf 6 seconds to try to get a leg free.  If it can't get free, it's considered a complete ride.   

This is what they call a commercial at the Rodeo.  Each flag has a sponsors name on it and the Rodeo Queens (I assume) all ride black horses at full speed around the arena ending in this straight line.  That's my kind of commercial!!  It's done right before the Barrel Racing.

Barrel Racing - The ladies ride lightning fast horses around 3 barrels as fast as they possibly can, without knocking over a barrel.  Really exhilarating!

The Rodeo ended on Saturday the 10th with the awards presentation at the end of the night.  It was well worth staying to watch.  Rodeo Queens rode out on black horses with very sparkly prize saddles and raced around the arena.  They all lined up in a V and dismounted while a Dodge truck parked behind them.  The announcer introduced each division winner (bronc, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, etc) as he or she came out and mounted up on the horse with his/her prize saddle.  And one Cowboy won the Dodge Truck!  (All that was in addition to the cash they won each night!)

The saddles on these horses were awarded to the winners of each division.

The final presentation was to Trevor Brazile.  He earned his 9th World Championship Gold Buckle!

And with that, I hope you enjoy my short (amateur) video:

Final night of the 2011 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Las Vegas Week - Shopping

Now that you've seen and heard about our trip in general I thought I'd spotlight parts.  I'll start with the shopping!  <grin>

I don't know if the picture below can give you an idea of the size of just ONE of the shopping "events."  I'm standing near the isle markers which are in the center of the row.  Can you see how far it is to the back wall?  Imagine twice that distance for depth, and something like 20 (yes, twenty) rows, for width.  Had to be 10 times the size of the HorseExpo in Sacramento.  And that is just Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  There was also the NRS shopping at the MGM Conference Center, Mandalay Bay shopping in their Conference Center, and Sands shopping - the only one we didn't get to.

 The hat is one I'm getting custom made - this one is obviously a bit too big, has a few other features I didn't want....but the color was like nothing I've seen before and I HAD to have it.

 On Wednesday morning we got to Cowboy Christmas before they opened the doors (same with Mandalay Bay shopping on Thursday morning).

I looked for a Bosel for Blu and loved this one - simple yet has some nice silver - with different Mecate reins.  But decided to save the money for something I'd be able to show with for more than just one "Junior Horse" year.

I looked for "dressy" boots for days and on Thursday morning found these at Mandalay Bay - I bought them (actually the ones I bought have a pointy toe and cool heel) and ended up wearing them all night after the wedding.  I think they looked really cute with my dress!!!  And they were comfortable right out of the box.  Can't beat that!

If only.......  

Alpaca saddle blankets!  This couple (she's on the right) weaved their own goods.  I could have used the saddle blanket as a pillow it was so soft.  But I couldn't pull the trigger on the price.  Maybe if I ever make Nationals I'll treat myself to the blue one.  But for now I've contented myself by buying my Mother In Law a wonderful Alpaca blanket.

On Friday when Todd joined us for some shopping he showed me what to look for in Western Show bits.  Balance and Angle.  This bit had them both.  And Beauty.  I took the picture so I could gaze upon it at will!  Until it maybe becomes mine some day.