Monday Musings: So Many States …

I’m getting to check off two entries on my “States I Have Yet to Visit” list this week.

I’m in Fargo, North Dakota this week for a pesticide safety conference, for my part-time day job. Yes, I’ve seen the movie; no, I haven’t seen the television series.

img_8647I’ve never been to North Dakota, or Denver, where we had a layover yesterday. Denver was less mountainous than I’d expected, but still beautiful. Our less-than-an-hour-gonna-have-to-hustle-to-make-the-connecting-flight layover turned into five-plus hours, thanks to mechanical issues on a plane.

Since it’s important to me that any plane I fly on have no mechanical issues, I was just fine with the delay. The upside was my friend and boss has a daughter who lives in Denver,img_8641 and she readily agreed to come pick us up for dinner. And, of course, being introduced to Dion’s and their green chile pizza.

The downside was that I had finished my book and both magazines long before we finally landed in Fargo at 3 AM.

We were surprised and blessed to discover that the car rental agency had stayed open to accommodate our late flight, so we didn’t have to Uber or taxi or hitchhike to the hotel. I crawled into bed about 4:30 AM, Fargo time and managed to sleep a solid six hours.

We ventured to Fargo’s old town area, looking for lunch. The Smokehouse we found turned out to be closed on Sunday (not unusual, we soon discovered), so we went img_8643next door to Würst Bier Hall where we promptly ordered pretzels, wurst, porketta bánh mì, and french fries. Fabulous!! Stud Muffin would love that place, so I obviously have to come back.

After lunch, we walked around the old town area (gotta get some steps in after that lunch!), found a great coffee shop with scones (and a definite Seattle vibe), fun shops, and historic buildings. Dinner turned out to be peach kuchen and a root beer float at Krolls, a recommendation from our lunch server.

Don’t judge.

It’s now 8:00 Sunday evening. It’s only 6 PM in California, but my eyes are heavy. I won’t have a problem getting to sleep tonight. Tomorrow, we work!

Advertisements

Monday Morning Musings: Book Review

Even though it’s not a Book Talk Tuesday, I’m posting a book review on Monday. I really enjoyed this one, and can’t wait to share about it.

cover-secrets

A few books stay with you after you finish the final page and close the book. SECRETS OF THE TULIP SISTERS is one of those.

The Tulip Sisters are a fun group of women. I wish they lived closer. I wish they were real.

Kelly is the uber-responsible older sister who works the family tulip farm and loves it. She and her dad are close. Her long-time boyfriend recently broke up with her and she’s sad that it didn’t upset her more. What’s bugging her now is that Griffith, her high school crush, is back in town and keeps showing up wherever she is.

Olivia is the flighty younger sister. Or is she? Olivia shows up in town after ten years away, expecting a reunion with her own high school boyfriend. The homecoming is not quite as heartwarming as one might hope. With either the ex or her family.

Helen is Kelly’s best friend, and an honorary sister, with a huge secret of her own.

Life is … if not good, at least acceptable, for all three women. Until Kelly and Olivia’s mother shows up, bringing havoc and leaving a trail of mayhem in her wake.

I love this book! Fun dialogue and situations, believable characters, emotionally engaging writing. It’s going on my keeper shelf.

——

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Which this is.

Saving the Best for Last

We got up early and hit the road. Dirt roads, that is. 

CousinExtraordinaire is an amazing photographer (and hostess). She has an ATV (and access to another) and the five of us had an excursion today to see the wild horses and other wildlife in the area. 


We left the house and 7 AM and got back at 10. Then we showered, ate, and headed home. In between, we saw:

  • three bands of wild horses, including the beautiful filly, Pearl
  • 1 family of nesting Swainson hawks 
  • a RC airplane taking off
  • a satellite dish, in the middle of nowhere, on the ground 
  • some amazing scenery 

and we (Drama Princess and I) gave a grasshopper a ride. He flitted into the side-by-side I drove, landed on her arm, jumped to the door, then abandoned us. 

We had a wonderful week and can’t wait to do it again. We saw glorious scenery, ate delicious food, swam, and laughed. 

We’re home now. Queen Bee will go home tomorrow. 

Next up: two weeks of VBS Adventures with Grampy and Drama Princess. 

Friday Funday

Today we drove to Lake Tahoe, to the Tallac Historic Site, near the south shore. We visited the site two years ago with Queen Bee and she had a great time. 

We spent a few hours at the Camp Richardson beach, swimming and playing in the sand. After lunch, we made our way to Tallac. My cousin had thoughtfully signed up both girls for the Kids Cooking class that the site offers during the summer. 

Drama Princess was unhappy about leaving the beach and walking in wet sandals. She sulked and fussed, but once the class got going, she loved it. 


They made popcorn balls, supposedly a recipe that would have been made at the summer home in the 1920s. 

Stud Muffin, Cousin, and I hung out, spied on the group, and took pictures of the marauding chipmunks. 


Napping may have occurred on the ride home. 

After a wonderful dinner at Francisco’s (pretty much the opposite experience of Monday night), we returned to the wonderland that is my cousin’s home. Both girls are loving the goats and chickens. 

Bedtime was early because we were up early for one final adventure before heading home. 

Thursday: A Little History Lesson 

As usual at a holiday in express, we started our day with their breakfast. The day before, we had met and chatted with the woman Who oversees the breakfast room. She offered to make hot chocolate for the girls with warm milk from the back, instead of using the hot water dispenser. That was a big hit! Then we hit the road for Thursday’s excursion. 

Virginia City!

We took our time getting there. We first drove through Dayton. And then took a back road into Virginia City. Very interesting. 

We easily found parking in Virginia City, and made our way to the visitor center, where we purchased tickets to a silver mine tour. We wandered the wooden sidewalks and visited the old shops. We had an encounter with a man named stinky and his donkey, Bernadine. 


We had our pictures taken in old west garb. Drama princess didn’t want to do it, until she heard she could dress up as a cowgirl. Then she was all in. 

We headed back to the car for lunch. We were going to eat our picnic out of the back of the car, but to the side of the parking lot we spied a picnic table under a tree. It was in the yard of the courthouse, but the gate was open. We decided to spread out there, and if anyone came and told us we couldn’t be there, we would leave. People came and went from the courthouse, usually they smiled at us. One commented, “We don’t even use our own picnic table. Nice to see someone enjoying it.”

After lunch we headed to our mind tour. The Chollar Mine is about a mile from town. We thought it a bit closer and decided to walk. After half a mile downhill, Grampy decided to go back for the car. We girls forged ahead, and waited at the mine entrance. It’s a 400 foot walk into the mountain, led by an unenthused old-timer who would have sounded perfectly normal droning, “Bueller … Bueller…” instead of silver mining facts. 

We headed back to town, wandered through a few more shops, bought some old-fashioned candy, and called it good. 

We stayed the night with my cousin in Gardnerville. She has a lovely home on acreage. The girls were in heaven with a dog, a bird, chickens, and goats. 

We ended the day with another chapter about Mma Ramotswe’s cases. 

Friday: Lake Tahoe! 

Wednesday: Lessons in Patience (For Everyone)

Wednesday morning was time for Stud Muffin and I to earn this trip. We had to go to the 90 minute timeshare presentation. We knew we weren’t buying so it was just a matter of wasting an hour and a half with two squirrelly girls. 

We bestowed our electronics on the girls, threatened them with no swimming, and crossed our fingers. They did great for the first hour. But it worked out. Just as the electronics lost their appeal, it was time to ride in a golf cart to look at a sample unit. After that, just ten minutes of repeating, “I understand it’s a great deal. I know the same deal won’t be available later. We still say no,” and we were free again. 

We headed back to Genoa and toured the Mormon Station Museum/replica fort. Drama Princess loved the pelts on display. She was less enthusiastic about the other displays and definitely disapproved of any picture taking. 


After finding a Walgreens to replace the missing goggles, we visited  Farmers Market for more fruit. Then lunch at the hotel, more swimming, pizza for dinner, a movie on my laptop (Freaky Friday with Lindsay Lohan), more swimming, and finally bed. Drama Princess fell asleep during the movie and couldn’t/wouldn’t wake up for swimming. We expected her to be wide awake at 11 PM, but she slept over 12 hours straight. And woke up talking. 

Day Two: I Don’t Want to Be A Cat! 

Day Two Highlights: Pupils that contract and dilate. Naked women in the spa. Disappearing goggles. 

Tuesday morning started with the Drama Princess waking up crying because she had a dream she turned into a cat. Then she walked to the full-length mirror to be sure she hadn’t changed into a cat. 

Loud wailing ensued for 10 minutes. Because she had just woken up, her pupils were dilated. She was convinced this meant she was becoming a cat. Grampy and Grammy explained how the pupil of the eye works, in the light and the dark. She spent the next 40 minutes watching her eyes in the mirror, turning the light off and on, as her pupils dilated and contracted. 


Both girls love a hotel. After their Holiday Inn Express breakfast, we headed to the pool, while Grampy ran some errands.

We decided the girls needed swim shoes because their feet were already getting cut from the bottom of the pool, from all the jumping into the pool. Grampy headed out for swim shoes, and more Lunchables. The girls are eating more on this trip than we have ever seen them eat. They both have a hollow leg.

They swam till almost noon, then we went back to our room for lunch out of the ice chest. We thought a bit of a quiet time might be a good idea. So both girls and Grampy fell asleep and took long naps. We finally left the hotel at about 3 PM. We drove to Genoa, Nevada.

Genoa is billed as, “the oldest city in Nevada.” It has a one-block long old town, with antique shops, a general store, a bar and grill, and museums. We heard amazing reviews of the ice cream available in the general store so after walking through the town and into a few shops, (which took about 15 minutes), we each had a scoop. There’s a beautiful park, with a statue of the man who delivered mail to the town in the late 19th century. In the winter, he came twice a month, on long skis, with the mail on his back. It took three days to get here from Placerville. 

We then headed to the resort, where we have access to the mineral dprings, hot tubs, and a pool. We spent several hours there, and the girls had a blast. 

The two notable things at the resort: one pair of goggles has disappeared into thin air. She had them and then she didn’t and we have no idea where they are. It was literally 10 minutes from the time she took them off till we discovered they were missing. And we hadn’t gone very far. From the pool to the locker room. 

The second notable thing was them seeing a woman in the locker room. She was naked. This sparked questions and a conversation about locker rooms, spas, nudity, appropriateness of nudity, and the use of optional changing rooms.

We’d had our picnic dinner in the park, but both girls were starving again. So Grampy made a quick stop at Dairy Queen for chicken strips which they ate in the hotel room. We read Chapter 3 of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. No tears this time, but a bit of judicious editing by Grammy was needed. The elder child caught that something was awry, so we will be having another conversation about appropriateness.

Lights out.