MS150 RIDE DAY!!!!!!!!

I am so excited!  Tomorrow is the highly anticipated 2-day ride 150 miles bike ride from Houston to Austin with 10,500 people!  Part of the excitement is the weather.  This whole week everyone is watching the weather.  And it looks like we are going to have strong storms come through Saturday night.  Not a big deal unless you are in a TENT!  Some of my team are like well, we might call it a no go for camping over night and you’ll have to figure out what you are going to do. And one guy is like, no problem, it’s gonna rain and we’ll handle it.  After all of this training and fund raising, I’m like, we better freaking do this.  I put the family on standby, in case I have to be picked up.  The MS society says that they have some shelter in a nearby school, I’m guessing we’ll figure it out, so this is it.  I have not a clue how this is going to work out.

Forget about the concern about packing.  A note on that, I am allowed 2 bags.  My cot is one.  The other bag which is like a duffel bag has in it my sleeping bag and a full size pillow.  Squeezed in the pockets are shower shoes (one change of clothes), a towel, shower gel, tooth brush, tooth paste and a brush.  That is it!  I plan to carry on me my water, a rash guard in case it gets cold, sunscreen and lip balm.

Today I had a tennis match, I thought it best to sit myself out, but instead played for someone who couldn’t make it.  I’m thinking, no problem no one is going to get injured, and then my opponent had to retire because of some kind of calf muscle pull/sprain.  She had to be wheel chaired off the court.  I am so lucky this didn’t happen to me.

I’m ready, I don’t know anyone on my team.  I’ve tried three times, still no real connection.  It’s ok, I would have done this by myself.  Instead, there are a bunch of strangers to me in the same suit.  I will eat with them and sleep with them and endure whatever night adventure comes my way.

When I was twenty I talked about doing my own adventures.  Now twice that age, I’m doing it.  I’m pretty sure I was capable back then, and am thrilled that at an older age not only am I physically able, the mental part is 100% there.   The mental component is the one part that I was missing in my youth that is so strong now.   It’s funny because, mentally we might be there and then are body gives out!  Hopefully not this time.

I’m going to bed.  I will be up at 5AM and start my bike journey at 6:55AM.  Whoo Hoo!!!!luggage2.jpg

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MS150 RIDE DAY!!!!!!!!

Texas Wedding

It was a beautiful spring weekend along the Colorado river.  My brother-in-law tied the knot!  The couple chose an informal intimate gathering in Burnet, Texas.  Burnet is a small town a little over an hour outside of Austin and right by the Colorado river, Inks Lake and Lake Buchanan.  The Colorado river links these two lakes with nearby lake LBJ in what is considered the hill country.  The wedding was held at a lake house on the Colorado river and it had plenty of room for guests.  When you spend a weekend at a lake house, you typically bring your food and plan to spend your time outdoors enjoying the spectacular surroundings.  The river at this point is somewhat murky, however it’s great for fishing, kayaking or any kind of boating and swimming.  It’s a great place to get together with friends and family for a fun relaxing weekend!

When we left home we didn’t check the weather and it was a bit of a surprise when we stopped for gas that the temperature dropped almost 20 degrees to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.  Needless to say we didn’t plan accordingly.  The ceremony was planned for six o’clock outside.  Upon arrival there were so many beautiful wild flowers, the blue bonnets are waning, but there were beautiful red and yellow flowers everywhere.  Once you get to Burnet and turn off towards the water, you start noticing the hill country change in terrain.  It becomes hilly, and at one point where you could see the water on the winding two lane road I wanted to stop and take a picture.  It’s just that there is no shoulder.

We were greeted warmly by my brother in law and shortly joined by my in-laws.  More friends arrived and soon we were ready for dinner.  On the menu, BBQ!  It was fantastic overlooking the beautiful Colorado river.

wedding dinner

The sun came out and the wind calmed just in time for the ceremony.  The wedding colors were brown and turquoise with highlights of pink.  The burlap table runner followed with the theme to the seating by the river with bow tied burlap on the chairs. I love the fact that the wedding party was color coordinated.  The bride wore lace and the groom, leather and of course boots and a hat!   There was not a lot of activity on the lake. You can see ducks and herons.  I actually saw a road runner.   The music was the quiet calm and the sound of ducks (which sound like a honk to me) and chirping from a variety of birds.

wedding

Shortly after the ceremony, we had the cake cutting and champagne to celebrate.

wedding cake.jpg

And then a spectacular sunset over the water…

sunset colorado river

What a pretty day!  The rest of the evening was spent lounging, talking, playing games and sitting by the fire.  I switched to PJs quickly!

Texas Wedding

Happy Easter from Texas

Happy Easter!  I woke up this morning to my husband asking me for cornbread.  It was 5:45 AM.  “Your asking me if we are having cornbread today?…this early?”  I really don’t think he was just craving Easter dinner, this is probably the continued effects from being in China.  It takes a while to adjust!

My mother told my children that I would be putting together an Easter basket for them. She LOVED to do this.  And I did for years, maybe you are never too old to receive an Easter basket, however my plan was to make a coconut cake.  Added to this plan is now cornbread and ham.  An impromptu Easter dinner.  Little did I know this dinner was going to take six hours to make.  Ham just needs to be heated, how hard could this be? I’ve always wondered why ham is served for Easter dinner.  Not that I believe everything you read on the internet.  If it makes a little sense, I just go with it.  So, a search said that ham is a traditional dinner in the US supposedly because meat was slaughtered in the fall, before refrigeration pork was cured for spring.  It seems as though Europe and even in Israel, lamb would be more of a traditional food.  Maybe there wasn’t lamb available in the US.  It isn’t really popular in the stores from what I can see.

Here we have traditions, and my husband really likes his family traditional food.  Ham, cornbread, great northern beans and potatoes.

What took the most time was the scalloped potatoes that I prepared in the slow cooker on the “high” setting and the great northern beans (white beans).   The cake took a while too.  I think it’s hard to time things so that they come together at the right time.  My grandmother was excellent at this with her tiny kitchen.

The family starved the entire day waiting for dinner.  Everything was going just fine until I started mixing the frosting for the cake.  I have made it once before and it was great.  This time the mascarpone cheese curdled when I added whipping cream.  The last time I made this the frosting was to die for.  I couldn’t believe it wasn’t smooth and fluffy. Again the internet is pretty helpful!  I found out why it happened and a way to save it. It’s important to have the whipping cream and the cheese at the same temperature.  I had to drain out the whipping cream and slowly heat the two to about room temperature, then reconstitute…It worked!

The ham was good too! It was a boneless half ham because we wouldn’t eat a full one.  It didn’t come sliced like the spiral cuts we have had in the past.  I made this glaze out of honey, brown sugar, rice vinegar, worcestershire, and dijon mustard.  The glaze really dressed it up! Cooking the potatoes in the slow cooker helped by freeing up the oven.  I used gruyere cheese, parmesan, cream and some spices.  I think they needed some cheddar.

The meal isn’t colorful enough for me.  I didn’t have it in me to make any more things to add color though.  We have a saying here in Texas…”Don’t mess with Texas”.  The same goes true with my husband’s traditions…don’t mess with them.

cake2.jpg

easter dinner

Happy Easter from Texas

Spring things

This week it’s back to cooking and enjoying spring.  I have to post this beautiful picture of blue bonnets because they are amazing.

bluebonnets

Again it’s time to host a dinner get together with 3 friends (I party so hard).  I wanted to do this floral arrangement I saw on pinterest.  I saw some tulips and thought how cool it would be to do this arrangement with Peeps and lemon drops.  I’m a good copier.  The arrangement turned out cute.  I had to get some more tulips and peeps to complete it once I figured out to use a cake/punch bowl for the base.  And then I realized how needy tulips are.  They require an entire cup of water a day.  I don’t think these are going to last a week.  It’s been 3 days, maybe they will last 5.  Both my husband and daughter were horrified I used peeps because they are full of sugar and they are worried about ants. Which is definitely cause for concern, especially here.  So far we are ant free.

floral

My big thing was the dessert.  I made the same carrot cake cup cakes which turned out cute last year and I thought were pretty good.  They are made from scratch and have pineapple, applesauce and carrots in them and oh yeah a ton of sugar.  Then they are surrounded with toasted coconut.  The rest of the meal wasn’t as intense.  I made a tortellini BLT salad and served, well salad with it and bread.  LOL, they are so kind saying they liked it, but I don’t know.  I like the BLT salad, it has the cheese tortellini, spinach and cherry tomatoes with a ranch dressing.  The salad was one of those from the bag, it had some kind of  vinaigrette and sunflower seeds in it.  And the rolls were yeast rolls that did take about 1 and 1/2 hours to make.  I’m not really sure they even liked the cupcakes, but what the heck.  We got into the hot tub and chatted for a while !  No one even wanted wine.  What a shame!  I really like fish and not many people here in Texas like it.

However, I did make an AMAZING rainbow trout yesterday.  I didn’t take a picture of it, but it really was good.  The guy at the meat counter gave me this beautiful piece of fish for free.  I thought it was salmon, but he said it was trout.  And I said I have never had that, so he said try it for free.  I put salt and pepper on it and then dredged it in flour.  Then dipped it in egg and coated it with a mixture of panko, almonds and dill.  After it browned in a pan, I put it in the oven with some carrots and asparagus coated in olive oil and rosemary.  Wow!  What a meal.  We squeezed lemon on it and I mean, I don’t think I could have had a better meal here in suburbia.  At least a fish meal.

So excited for next weekend’s tennis tournament, an upcoming wedding and the MS150! April is going to be a great month!

 

Spring things