I hope everybody had a safe and happy new year.
I had fun on my trip!
The flight was pleasant and uneventful. Security at the airport wasn't too bad, except for a brief moment when I thought I was going to get wrestled to the ground and strip-searched - I approached the checkpoint line and had my boarding pass and ID ready. A nice lady checked it and let me go through (she even told me happy birthday), so when I got to the place where you put your stuff in the bins and take off your shoes, I stuck my boarding pass in my purse and sent everything through.
When I got ready to go through the metal detector, the security guard asked me for my boarding pass. I said I had put it in my purse. He said, "Oh. That's not good."
I started sweating.
He said I would have to have someone get it for me and he asked if I was with the people ahead of me. When I said no, he once again said, "That's not good."
But then he let me go through while another guard stood near my purse while I fished out the boarding pass. Schwew...
I was all worried about all my liquids (due to the war on moisture), but they didn't even ask to see my stupid zip-loc baggie...
Anyway, I arrived safely in Kansas City and hung out with Larry and his family that evening.
They had been having unseasonably warm weather there, so we were a little worried about there being enough snow to ski. Colleen picked me up on Friday and we headed up to Snow Creek to hopefully get some skiing in before it rained. We were laughing because the Snow Creek website said something about needing to wear sunglasses because the snow can be really bright at highter elevations. Is 300 feet high?
We suited up just in time for the lesson - Colleen was a newbie and I needed a refresher, so we did the ski school. Brad, our instructor was really nice. And he looked like Billy Bob Thornton. But in a good way.
Colleen fell a few times, but that's normal for the first time. I thought she acutally did really well - especially for such an old person - 40 next week!
We practiced a while on a small practice area and then headed up to the real hill. On my first or second pass down the hill, I was turning and out of the corner of my eye I could see a little boy on a snowboard coming up behind me. I had no choice but to turn to my left so I wouldn't hit the ski lift, and I guess I went right into his path, because he ran into me - almost completely under my legs. I proceeded to sit down on top of him. Lucky for him he had a helmet on.
I asked if he was OK (I was sure I had broken his skull) and he said, "I'm sorry. I'm not very good with this snowboard." I told him, "It's OK. I'm not very good with these skis."
Turns out it was Brad's son. Awkward!
He said that both of his boys were really good on skis but were just learning the snowboard and hadn't really learned to turn yet.
On our last ride up the hill on the ski lift, Colleen fell as we were getting off and she took me along with her. We then proceeded to take out several more skiiers as they came off the lift. Luckily everybody was OK.
We were amazed to realize that we had only been skiing for an hour. It seemed like much longer. Colleen was pretty tired and I didn't really want to ski by myself, so we headed off to find the hotel. It started raining not long after that, so it was good that we stopped, anyway.
The hotel was in the downtown area in Weston, Missouri, which is a cute little historic town. We dropped our stuff off and then headed out to a restaurant called The Vineyards. The food was really good - expensive, but we're worth it. How often do you turn 40?
We decided there that for our 50th birthdays, we're going to go to Paris.
Along with the check, they gave us little recipe cards with the recipe to the yummy soup we had ordered. Here's the recipe (this is for Jenna):
Cream of Red Potato and Rosemary Soup
1 T butter
1 T flour
1 quart heavy cream
1.5 pounds baby red potatoes, boiled and diced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped scallions or chives
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
shavings of parmesan or romano
creme fraiche or sour cream
additional diced peppers and onions
fresh sprigs of rosemary
Over low heat, melt the butter in a deep saucepan and whisk in the flour. Add cream and whisk to insure flour misture is dissolved in cream. Add potatoes, red peppers, red onions, scallions and rosemary. Increase heat to medium and stir occasionally until thick and creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
Divide into serving bowls. Garnish with shavings of cheese, creme fraiche, diced peppers and onions and a fresh sprig of rosemary. Serve with an assortment of lahvosh crackers and hot crusty breads.
Serves 4 to 6.
After dinner we headed to O'Malley's Irish Pub. I think it had been a brewery at one time. When you walk in, you walk down a bunch of stairs and the whole place has stone walls and a vaulted stone ceiling. It was really cool.
There was a band called The Lucky Charms playing. They played a lot of Irish music but also some other stuff. I told Colleen I'd pay her to yell, "Free Bird," but she wouldn't do it. She joked about yelling Pink Floyd but someone else did. And the band actually obliged.
One of the singers announced that a friend of theirs worked for a liquor distributor and had arranged for everyone to get free shots of Evil Monk. Note to self: if it has the word "evil" in the name, stay away.
...or I suppose it could have been the wine, the irish cream drink, and the shots of Skyy...
At any rate, I was moving pretty slowly the next day.
We had been sitting in the balcony area, watching the band for quite a while, when suddenly, a couple of the singers started acknowledging us. Winking at us. Mentioning that we had been singing along with them the night before. Wha? And when we left, they waved at us. Weird...
We had a little breakfast and then walked around the cute little downtown shopping area, checking out all the antique stores. Snow Creek was closed because of the rain (it can be pretty brutal at those high elevations!), so we had to change our plans...
After lunch, we headed off to Colleen's. We checked in with her crew and then went to the Plaza. We raced to the Nelson-Atkins Museum to see a little art before it closed. They're adding a new wing, so most of the more contemporary stuff wasn't on view. A guard told us about the Kemper Museum, which was open later, so we went there. Such a great place! You can see more photos in my flickr set here.
We attempted to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, but the line was horribly long. So we found a nice place down the street called the Classic Cup. Back to the Cheesecake Factory after that to get cheesecake to go. Yum.
We got to see a cool magic show at Colleen's that night - Daniel got a magic set for Christmas. He even made Xander disappear!
I made Colleen take me to Winstead's the next day for lunch - it would be a crime to go to Kansas without having a burger at Winstead's.
I hung out the rest of the time with Larry and his family again. New Year's Eve was fairly mellow - Lauren went out with her friends and Larry had to go to work. Ellen, Ryan, and I watched a few special episodes of Cops (Ryan's favorite, apparently). I have to admit that Naked Cops was pretty good. Then for some reason we watched New Year's Rockin' Eve. I don't know why. It always sucks. Will I ever learn? After the ball dropped, we switched it to PBS and some Garrison Keillor special. The best part about it was that Carson Daly wasn't on it.
I called Sam at midnight to wish him a Happy New Year. I asked him if he was tired and he said, "No. I drank two cups of Sprite!" I said, "Don't you know that Sprite doesn't have caffeine?" He said, "But it makes me hyper."
When I got home I asked him when he had gone to bed and he said, "About 12:10." That sounds about right.
I was supposed to go back to work today but the university was closed for mourning for Gerald Ford. So I stayed home and cried all day. Oh, and I also slept late, put away the Christmas stuff, and went to my studio and to SuperTarget. So it's back to work tomorrow. Sam goes back to school on Thursday.
I'm waiting to hear back about the timing for me dropping off my work in Temple this weekend. Trish and I are going to drive the stuff down there and then spend a night or two in Austin. I also have to pack up my other work to send to Houston. I had to go buy bubble wrap tonight. So tomorrow night I need to finish packing. Busy busy!