My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

AdventureJo's Sheridan Adventure :-)

At long last, we're enjoying some lovely Autumn weather all week before we get belted with more cold and snow on Monday, but at least the cozy days will be more conducive to working on my annual Quilt Show posts! 

Talk of weather, quilt shows and quilts is a perfect introduction to a few of the highlights of Joanne's fun 5-day visit from Michigan a couple of weeks ago. I met Jo (whom some of you know as "AdventureJo" in the comments) in AFROTC at the University of New Hampshire our junior year, so we've known each other for *gulp* 31 years. Not possible! But I have proof of how young we once were...

Me helping pin on Jo's new 2nd Lieutenant bars on May 19, 1984 ~ 
the day we were commissioned and graduated. (Yo Jo, who's the guy?)
I wasn't even wearing my own rank yet, but eventually got it after 
my pitiful parents finally quit arguing over where on the epaulet it should go! 
Dad: "I've been a Marine for 34 years, I think I know where the rank goes!"
Mom: "And I've been sewing for 30 years, I think I know what an inch looks like!"

Jo ~ an award-winning and prolific quilter, member of multiple quilt guilds, teacher of quilting workshops, and aspiring future quilt show judge ~ always enjoys my posts of our library's annual quilt show. So this year she timed her visit to coincide with it so she could see it in person, and those photos will be my next posts. But that doesn't mean this post won't have a quilt or two in it! In fact, let's start with the generous housewarming gift Joanne made and gave to us when she arrived, a lovely wall-hanging from a pattern by my favorite quilt artist and designer, McKenna Ryan (hey, just because I can't quilt a stitch doesn't mean I can't have a favorite quilt designer!) :-) This block is from McKenna's "Faith Hope Love" quilt pattern...

We love the colors Jo chose, no easy task for someone who only had photos of our new house on this blog to go by! We found a few perfect spots for it, eventually choosing a great spot in our upstairs hallway where it's out of the sunlight but is enjoyed every time anyone goes upstairs. (Jo also brought me my birthday gift which she'd created and which deserves a post of its own once I've got it framed and displayed! It's SO PRETTY!)

Though we'd hoped for more nice days than cozy ones since Jo and I both love to go for long walks and had lots of exploring planned, we ended up with some truly abominable weather. So while that was great for all the cooking, baking and Netflix-watching we enjoyed, we had to squeeze in some bundled-up outings between the rain, snow and wind. We went to the quilt show on Jo's first full day here, and afterward walked over to Dragonfly Cottage (whose neighborhood has changed mightily since we lived there, with a house now crammed onto every tiny lot!) and Whitney Commons, across from the library, where Jo posed with Mr. Whitney himself and some fellow book-lovers...

Jo looks delighted because she'd discovered the bronze book her little buddy is holding actually contained some "writing" in it. (The pages were a bitch to turn, though!) ;-)

Fortunately, our nicest day fell on Saturday when BW could join us on some sightseeing around town, an exploration of Sheridan's beautiful and historic cemetery, and a nice long walk to downtown Sheridan with the girls, photographed here by their Auntie Jo during a pit stop in Kendrick Park...

L-R: Josie, Willow, and Tessa. 
Josie and Tess asked me to assure you that they are fluffy rather than fat, 
plus the camera adds ten pounds. Which is 70 pounds in dog weight. :-)

Though most of Sunday was cold and windy with another winter storm moving in, the day began with crisply cold sunshine, so Jo and I took the girls for an early long walk through a lovely neighborhood. Fortunately, Jo had brought her camera and so was able to capture this handsome mule deer buck's photo when I noticed him watching us from a front yard...

I love that she captured his pluming breath in the frosty air!

Not only did our new friend pose this way very patiently for several photos, he followed us when we turned down an adjacent cul-de-sac, bounding ahead and posing for Jo again, this time with the scenic backdrop of the Big Horns behind him (but the lighting was much better in this photo)! This guy's got star quality and needs an agent! :-)

Despite our recent snows, sub-freezing temps, and no sprinkler action since Labor Day, our grass continues to grow and was in need of mowing. At home, Jo works out every day and so had requested a chance to take our reel mower for a spin for the workout it provides. I'd be a terrible hostess if I'd robbed her of the joy, don't you think? :-) So after we got home from our walk, she mowed while I did the edging and photography. She did a great job, but I must say after BW and my summer of very sweaty mowing, it looked odd to see her doing it bundled up in winter coat and gloves! (See those clouds hovering low against the mountains? That was our next wintery storm moving in!)

When the weather drove us indoors and we weren't busy catching up, watching several movies and the first few episodes of Breaking Bad (got Jo hooked on both it and Pinterest during her stay, so we may have seen the last of her online for a while, LOL), we were cooking, baking, and eating. Jo treated us to lunch at the Good Earth Food Co-op's deli in Billings the day we picked her up at the airport, me to a lunch of delicious vegan burritos at Oliva's after the quilt show, and BW and me to a dinner of vegan fajitas at our other favorite restaurant in town, Las Delicias. Yum! But the rest of the time we cooked. Boy did we cook! And bake, because Jo and BW both have major sweet teeth! :-)

Before she came, I'd made Confetti Muffins, Hearty Spiced Cocoa Muffins, and Banana Date Walnut Muffins (they all freeze splendidly), which we snarfed on a daily basis. BW had made chocolate sorbetto, and whipped up a batch of Chunky Apple Oatmeal Pancakes on Saturday morning. Jo and I also made a batch of Pecan Leprechaun Shillelaghs (so what if it's October?) and Chocolate Pudding Cake, and I made a batch of Banana Chia Pudding.

When we weren't eating sweets (like, when we were sleeping, lol) we snacked on fresh fruit, homemade kale chips (torn kale leaves spritzed with tamari, sprinkled with garlic powder, a bit of cayenne, and a liberal amount of nutritional yeast and dehydrated at 160ºF for a few hours till crispy), two kinds of pumpkin hummus, and Smoky-Cheezy Walnut Spread. For our main meals we enjoyed Tempeh Salad sandwiches, Cadry's Lemony Baked Tofu with Rosemary (always a huge hit!), steamed kale with walnut dressing, basmati rice and Roasted Delicata Squash with Rosemary "fries" (subbing No-Oil Oil for olive oil), "Weenies and Gravy" with BW's homemade boule, super-deluxe tossed salads, and even an early Thanksgiving dinner - the only meal any of us photographed! Good thing Jo thought to grab her camera or I wouldn't even have it to share...

Quinoa & Red Lentil Cutlets, butternut squash, smashed organic red potatoes with 
Road's End Organics Shiitake Mushroom gravy, organic peas, BW's basic boule, Girasole's Sangiovese wine for me and Rogue Ales Mocha Porter for BW and Joanne.

Though it goes without saying that we never went hungry, we all wished we'd had time to make even more dishes for her to try. So much yummy vegan food, so little time! (At least we sent Jo home with lots of recipes!)

And last but not least... I know I've yet to share any upstairs photos of our new house (now just over a year old), where the bedrooms are located. One reason is that Jo had said she wanted to see it in person before seeing photos of it, so now that she's gotten to do that here's a photo of the guest room...

I took some photos of the guest bathroom too, but wasn't satisfied with them so will make another attempt next time I think of it. 

The quilt on the bed (LL Bean's "Timeless Floral Quilt") provides a great segue to the first of this year's quilt show posts, coming up next and hopefully soon(ish!) Thanks so much again for making the trip out here to see us, Jo!


  1. This is a lovely heart-warming post. Made me hungry though.
    One of my friends is someone I have known and loved for over thirty years as well. Scary isn't it? It seems like ten minutes, and is over half our lives.
    I love the quilt Jo made for you - and am really looking forward to seeing your birthday present. And the quilt post.
    And who would be so rude as to comment on your beautiful girl's weight? Shame on them.

    1. Thank you, Ellie Sue, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Writing it made me feel both hungry and overfed! LOL
      Yes, the years really fly by. Guess that means we're having fun! :-)
      Wish you could see the quilt in person, it's even prettier! I love Jo's quilts, and am now the proud owner of eight of them, if I count a pair of placemats as one and a gorgeous pillow she made for us a few years ago. She ALMOST makes me want to learn how to do it, but we'd have to live near each other so she could teach me. And she'd probably need to buy a lot of beer to get through the experience. LOL But we have a blast going to quilt shops together!
      No one has commented on our girls' weight, and Josie and Tess really do have really thick fur and stout builds, but I thought that photo really made them look overweight and wanted to assure anyone who thought so too that they're really not. Seeing overweight companion animals always makes me sad.

  2. Jo looks lovely. And that buck shot is glorious!

    1. She's a lot of fun, but the putrid little creature hasn't aged much in 31 years. :-) And I agree, that photo of that beautiful buck is a winner! I was so glad to see how well her photos of him turned out. (And I have a feeling he would be too!) :-)

  3. Wow! I feel like a star!! Thank you so much for honoring me with such an amazing post! It's I who should be honoring you for being such a thoughtful hostess!

    You made me LOL with the arguement your parents were having about pinning on the rank! Sounds just like them!! The guy, (I think) is Jamie. You know me and my memory. I can remember details about things we did together but I can't for the life of me remember his last name. And I had forgotten that he had pinned on my second bar. Clearly that wasn't memorable. But I remember that you pinned on mine and even had it engraved - I still have it!

    As for the description of my trip, I don't think I can add any details EXCEPT to say that the food was AMAZING! Laurie and BW made the BEST food ever and I'm surprised I didn't gain 5 pounds except that it's so HEALTHY as well as good. I went home with lots of recipes (alot of the on Pinterest) and highly encourage everyone to try all the one's she's linked to.

    I have so much to say but I'm running out of time so I'll close by saying that the guest bedroom are very cozy and comfortable and Laurie needs to be careful or one day she'll get a guest that will not leave!!!

    1. You are a star! :-) And thanks for helping to make this post possible with some of the photos you took!

      I know, it sounds just like them because it WAS just like them! I'll never forget that argument they had over my head while doing their lopsided pinning. I don't remember a Jamie, wonder if I'd ever met him before that day. And I'd forgotten I'd had your butter bars engraved! I still have mine somewhere too (I think!)

      I'm sure glad you enjoyed your stay, and thank you for the great review of our B&B! LOL I'm so happy you enjoyed all the vittles (even I was surprised to weigh myself after all that gluttony and find I hadn't gained weight) and appreciate your great sous chef assistance with most of the dishes! Making the Shillelaghs was especially fun, we had such a cozy day for it! I'm also glad you found your accommodations cozy and comfy. We definitely chose well when we decided to put flannel sheets on your bed! :-)

      Thank you for the fun comment, Jo, as well as the fun visit! I know you're gone on your long weekend adventure and hope you guys are having fun! Enjoy a freshly-picked apple for me! :-)

  4. This all sounds like such a fun time! The quilt Jo gave you is just amazingly beautiful. I adore it! What a thoughtful, perfect gift. She's very talented!

    Josie and Tess do look quite furry. All that fur will come in handy with that nasty weather you keep getting! Emma would love to have a luxurious coat like that. :)

    You all certainly ate well. I found my mouth watering as I read the list of all the deliciousness. You and BW certainly know how to treat a guest!

    1. Yes it was and yes she is! I think the quilt she made is even prettier in person.

      Josie and Tessa are always very furry, and it does indeed serve them well in the cold temps, but I think next year we'll have them shaved! We use a Furminator on them, but we could brush them out all day, every day, and still end up getting enough fur off each of them to make another pack of dogs out of. :-) Maybe we'll save all that fur and have Jo quilt Emma a coat out of it! LOL

      We eat a lot more when we have company than when it's just us, and then we have to readjust to not having desserts at every meal or so many side dishes! :-) Jo made it easier because she helped make almost every dish (she's a great sous chef!) and did most of the dishes, too. That helped a lot, because we generated a lot of dirty dishes during our cooking-fests! :-)

  5. I love my old friends who are scattered across the country. One friend I have known for 64 years and lives in LA. Much easier to keep in contact with email and quick photos included in the email. Wonderful that you were able to catch the quilt show and of course all the goodies you prepared. -- barbara

    1. You must have met that long-time friend when your bassinets were side by side in the neo-natal unit where your mothers gave birth! :-) Do either of you get to travel to visit each other or rendezvous somewhere? You're right that the internet makes it so much easier to stay in touch with far-flung friends.

  6. Hey, TW! What a wonderful post! It was nice to see Joanne again and see what all the two of you got into. Wish the weather could have been better, but it looks like you all made the most of it. Her quilt gift is truly lovely and will grace your home for years on end. Nice to see an "earlier" shot of you as well. Notice I didn't say "old"! Thanks for sharing more photos of your place as well as all the great food. Later, Tater ;-). xoxoxo

    1. Hey, Spud! Thanks for your very nice comment, and for choosing the much wiser word choice of "earlier." ;-) Speaking of truly lovely gifts that will grace our home for years and for the additional photo of our place, did you notice the picture hanging on our guest room wall on the left between the regular window and the peekaboo window? It goes perfectly with the colors in that room! :-) xoxoxo back atcha!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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