Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One, Two, One, Plus an Owl Football Game!

An artsy look at the fall leaves.



Last Thursday Bob and I finally made it back down to Danny and Kathi's farm in Nebraska.  We were going to help process chickens and go to Skyler's football game on Friday.  On Saturday Kathi and I would go to the farmer's Market to sell her chickens, beef, eggs and baked goods. Sunday we were going to church and then can pears and on Monday we would hit it hard and finish processing all the really big (10-13 lbs.) chickens that had been waiting for us most of the summer!

We did process about 20 chickens on Friday and then got ready for the game.  Morrill has not had a very good run of luck the past 2 years and has not won a game.  We got there in plenty of time to get some food for dinner--my usual is nachos and these were smothered and I mean smothered! with taco meat, cheese, and sour cream.

  The game began and we knew it was not going to be pretty for Morrill.  The boys on their line are not very big and the big boys from Imperial could just plow through the line at will!  But Morrill's team is plucky and they battled hard.  With about 3 minutes left in the half and Imperial knocking on the door of the goal line with the score already 21- 0, the lights suddenly went out!  Not a light was showing all over town!  With the announcing system down we all just sat there and you could see cell phones lighting up all over the crowd.  It was so dark you could not see the players on the field or the referees.

  The cheerleaders and school kids from the crowd had gathered on the field and some people had pulled cars up on the track and so there was some light on the field.  The kids were playing Red Rover in the dark on the field!  The players were sitting on their sides of the field stretching and resting.  We heard (via people in the know who had made calls) that Mitchell was also out of lights as well as Henry.  The lights at Danny's farm were still on but, of course, we remained at the game to find out what was going to happen.

  Finally the ambulance pulled on the field and announced over their speakers that the game was moving to Torrington, Wyoming!!!!  Torrington High School was playing on the field and we would play as soon as the game was over!  The drive over was probably about 20 miles!  Imperial is about a 3.5 hour drive in the opposite direction but they did not want to come back to finish the game.

  We had been joking that the 2 teams should line up and play Red Rover to decide the game but no, we all got into cars and made the trek over to Torrington. We also wondered if they shouldn't just double the score and call it off, but I guess records needed to be made so the game went on.

  We all stood around watching the final minutes of the Torrington game and then piled into the stands for the rest of the Morrill game.  They did not start at the half.  They played the final minutes of the first half starting near the goal line.  They took 3 minutes for the break at the half and continued to the bitter end.  Final score, Imperial 48, Morrill 0.  But, who can say they played One football game in Two states in One night?  It will be a game these kids will be telling their grandchildren about!  By the way, an Owl flew into a transformer at a substation between Mitchell and Morrill that caused the whole event.

I will talk about chicken processing and Farmers Market in later blogs.

  Today I am making Argyle Chili Sauce which we use for catsup among other things.  You need about 15 lbs. of tomatoes which is 1/2 box.  I got mine at the farmers market.  I also got my peppers  and onions there.  Here is the recipe and I will use some quotes from the author of the book to help you.  I must have made a half recipe last year and loved it so much I went for the whole recipe this year.  I got the recipe from The Only Texas Cookbook  by Linda West Eckhardt.


The cookbook I found this recipe in.  It has a lot of great recipes for Southwestern cooking.
     " This is an enormous old recipe from Argyle Cookbook of 1942.  It may look like a lifetime supply to you, but you'll find more uses for it than you might first imagine.  Tomatoes for a sauce do not have to be picture perfect."

  You can get funny looking tomatoes that grocery stores and restaurants don't want for pretty cheap.  Check out Farmer's Markets for these.  If you are picky you may want to slip the skins on the tomatoes but when you see 15 lbs. of tomatoes you may change your mind.  I also just put my onions and peppers through the slicers of my food processor.  It saved me loads of time.

  " I also discovered that an old sock makes a good spice bag."

Yes, it does!  Cut it in half -- I did it just below the hole in the heel--fill it with the spices and tie it shut.  You can throw it away when you are done.


Warning!!!  This is a huge recipe and needs a very big pan!  I think mine is about 4 gallons and I had to start the cooking down in 2 pans.  See my picture!  If you don't have a big enough pan you may want to cut this recipe in half!  Also plan on cooking this all afternoon in order to reduce it to proper thickness.



ARGYLE CHILI SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:
15 lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
12 large white onions, cut fine
12 large green and red peppers, cut fine
2 pints (4 cups) apple cider vinegar
4 cups sugar
Note:  I could not fit all those onions and peppers into the pan.  My red peppers were huge so I left out 3 of them and my onions were huge too so I left out 4 of the smaller ones.


This is what didn't fit in my pan!  It looks like some stuffed peppers with newly made chili sauce are in order!
Tie in a bag the following spices:
2 tbsp. celery seed
2 Tbsp. whole cloves
4 Tbsp. whole allspice
2 large sticks cinnamon
1 Tbsp. mace
4 Tbsp peppercorns
2 dried red Jap peppers, crushed*
1/2 cup salt**

*  I used what I had,  3 arborol (tree) chilies crushed and about 1/4 dried California chili crushed.
** Since Bob is on a low salt diet I don't use any salt in this.  Even I like the taste without it!  All the other spices give it a rich taste.

Cook slowly in an uncovered kettle*** until thick.  As it thickens, stir more often so it does not burn on the bottom.  Reduces in volume to about 1/4 the original (I think I like mine a little juicier).  Seal in hot, sterile jars process in boiling water bath 15 minutes ( check Extension instructions for times at your altitude--I think ours is more like 30 minutes at 8500 ft.)  I actually put mine in freezer containers and freeze it.

*** Be very careful not to let it burn on the bottom.  Stir it every so often to be sure it is not sticking and keep the temperature low.  My old enamel pan did burn but I caught it before it scorched the whole thing or I would have been mad!  I did not scrape the bottom but just poured the whole thing into a new Calphalon pan without scraping in the last little bits and it was fine!

My burnt pan.  Thank goodness I caught it before it ruined the whole batch!  I now remember why I hate using enamel pans to even boil water!
 This sauce is good for Thousand Island dressing or Swiss steak or stuffed bell peppers.  I put some in the blender and use it as catsup.  Use it any place you'd use tomato sauce and spices.

15 lbs. of ripe tomatoes.  These are the other half of the box I used.  They are fresh from the farm and taste wonderful as is!

Here are the 2 pans I started with.

 When this pan boiled down enough--in about an hour-- I put the rest in it.  Several hours later I caught it burning to the bottom!

Here's what I had to take out so the pan wouldn't boil over!

The new pan I poured everything into so it wouldn't burn!

Still bubbling away but I am stirring it quite often.  About every 5 minutes as it gets close to the end.

Here's the sock filled with all the spices in this recipe!  There are wonderful layers of taste in this sauce.

As I am writing this and stirring my sauce which still is not reduced enough, Bob is having a fit over how great it smells and when do we get to eat it!  I must say the house smells wonderful.  A very fall-like smell!  No pictures of the final product but it is red and chunky--he he!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My 5 Year Bandiversary!

Bob, Dr, Aceves and I a few days after surgery at Almater Hospital in Mexicali.


Five years ago tomorrow my life was changed forever!  On September 23, 2005 I boarded an airplane headed for San Diego with Carla and Bob.  We were met at the airport by a man named Ernesto who drove us for two hours to the city of Mexicali just across the California border in Mexico.

I couldn't believe it, I was going to have weight loss surgery!  I was going to get a lapband!   Carla had done it 6 weeks before and I had gone with her so it was not the first time I had made the trip and I already knew the hospital, the Dr, and his staff.  I felt nervous but had extreme confidence in Dr. Aceves and his staff. 

We were met at Almater Hospital by Gaby (Yolanda's daughter who was doing the liaison job because Yolanda was on vacation).  She had all the paperwork ready for me and got my bloodwork going and then put me into a comfortable private room.  Carla was going to be staying in the room with me and Bob had a room in a nearby resort hotel.  Gaby would drive Bob over to it after my surgery.  There were only 2 of us lined up for surgery that day and Dr. Aceves had decided to do it that day instead of waiting until the next day so we didn't get to stay at The Lucerna Resort the first night as is usual.  No "last dinner"!  I wondered if I would regret doing this.  Would I miss all my old food "friends"?  Would this even work or would it just be another attempt that failed.  I had seen Carla lose 20 lbs. already so I felt it probably would work but I also knew every one is different.

I really didn't have much time to worry about it once I was in my room.  Dr. Aceves came in and told me everything he was going to do and showed me a lapband so I would know what it looked like in me.  He was very kind and caring and he told us how much he loved what he was doing and it showed in his face.  He is an extraordinary man.  He and Bob then got into a discussion on ranching in the Colorado mountains  and finally, I had to wave my arms and remind Dr. Aceves I needed my surgery!

Sergio, the head nurse prepped me for surgery and soon I was wheeling down to the surgical ward.  A young nurse introduced herself and I chatted with her drowsily about her schooling and she practiced her English on me.  The next thing I knew she was trying to wake me up!  I now had my lapband and was in the recovery room!  All had gone well and soon I was back in my room with Carla and Bob.  By early evening Carla was getting me up and making me walk.  I felt pretty good and I did a lap around the nurses station.  Carla had gotten her fill and so we both had a clear liquid dinner that night.  I definitely was not hungry so ate very little (I never did get very hungry like some people do--in fact, I still don't get hungry.  The lapband is doing its job!)  The nurses were great and took good care of us.  They made me as comfortable as you can get in a hospital and were very caring.

The next day I got to rest and do a lot of walking--the best thing for getting rid of the gas they pump in you in order to do the surgery.  Bob and Dr. Aceves went to lunch together and continued their ranching talk.  I couldn't believe it!  Then Gaby took Bob on a tour of Mexicali (a city of over 1 million people and the second largest Chinese population in the northern hemisphere).  She showed him a lot of the more ritzy neighborhoods and the shopping areas.  Carla stayed with me. The last day went about the same except I had my barium swallow to make sure all was well with the lapband and I got instructions on how and what to eat for the next 6 weeks.  It is commonly known as lapband boot camp!  The next day Ernesto drove us back to San Diego where we spent the night and flew home the next day.

Don't ever think that weight loss surgery is the easy way out for weight loss!  Here is how boot camp went back then (they have changed it a bit now but it is still not an easy thing!).  I was on clear liquids (only fluids you could see through and NOT including alcohol of any kind) for 2 weeks.  Gatorade, fruit juices, broth, jello and tea.  Not carbonated beverages or coffee.  My stomach was particularly sensitive so I couldn't drink any juices and even jello didn't work well for me.  I was very thirsty and popsicles and ice chips seemed to work out best along with broth.  After 2 weeks I graduated to full liquids which included milk, yogurt, cream soups with no lumps in them, puddings, shakes, ice cream.  But you have to remember that the whole idea is to lose weight so things loaded with calories aren't really recommended.  The last 2 weeks are soft foods gradually moving up to a regular diet as you can tolerate it.   If you can make it through all this--and most people can-- you feel like you can do what is needed to lose the amount of weight you need to.

I was one of the "lucky" ones.  My stomach was very sensitive and swollen inside the band so I could not tolerate much food in it at all.  I was never hungry and I felt like I would never need to have my band filled.  I lost a lot of weight and felt really good.  By week nine, I suddenly felt like I could eat anything and knew it was time to get a fill.  It took me several trips to the fill Dr. over the next 2 years to get adjusted and to learn how to eat with my band. 

The last 3 years have been fine with only a few problems due to irritation of the stomach lining. I still can have problems due to eating too fast, eating too much or eating something my stomach doesn't tolerate but those incidents are not too often and I know when I have goofed!

I have lost 80 pounds and have stayed there.  My back aches, leg aches, sore feet and tiredness are gone.  I feel great, have more energy and my clothes fit and look a lot better on me.  My blood pressure is down and my bloodwork looks much better than it did 5 years ago!  Like I said in the beginning, it has changed my life!  I wish I had done it years ago but they didn't have lapbands back then!  As I lost my weight I felt more like exercising and that also helped me to lose weight.  I would recommend weight loss surgery (and there are some new ones I would do now rather than the lapband) to anyone who is very overweight.  I would recommend doing it with Dr. Aceves in Mexicali if your insurance doesn't cover it and even then I know lots of people who chose him over US Drs.

Here's a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Aceves, Dr. Campos, Dr. Lopez, Sergio, Yolanda, Gaby, Nina, Ernesto, Lucy and the whole staff at Almater.  You are like family to me and I do miss seeing you.  I love coming back to Mexicali for visits.  I am feeling great and it is all because you worked your "magic" on me.  I know it is not a magic cure all but looking back it does seem like a miracle to me!

Sergio, Kelli (who weighed over 300 lbs. before lapband surgery)  and Dr. Campos.


Carla in Mexicali on August 5, 2005.


Me on September 23, 2005 in Mexicali.



Carla and I today going for a walk to see the aspen and to pick rose hips,

Friday, September 17, 2010

Meemo makes Caramel Sauce

Rest peacefully, Beth.


Remembering Beth this week.

Mmmmmmm! Rich Caramel Sauce.


Yesterday I needed to make some Corn Panna Cotta with some week old corn on the cob.  The corn was still good but we were a little tired of having it every night for dinner.  I thought I had all the ingredients but , of course I didn't.  Since we are 25 miles from town we can't just run in for an ingredient I forgot so I have to be creative and make do with what I have.

I had forgotten the dulce de leche  or caramel sauce but I figured not to worry, I'd make it from scratch.  I went to allrecipes.com and found 2 recipes for dulce de leche.  One had only 3 stars and people complained it didn't work so I skipped it.  The other was authentic but took many hours of patient stirring in order to get perfect results.  I didn't have time or patience so I searched for a good caramel sauce recipe.  There were about 3 of those.  One had a star rating of 1 and almost everyone said it was the worst thing they ever made!  I wonder how that one even got on the websight.  Some of the other ones had ingredients I didn't have, like sweetened condensed milk so they were out.  I did notice that the ones with high stars all took time and patience so I began to worry a bit that they were part of good caramel sauce.

I next resorted to the Better Homes and Gardens red checked cookbooks ( I have 3 dating a way back in time!)  No luck there.  They did have a recipe for caramels but no sauce I could make.  Next I got out Mom's Fannie Farmer cookbook--surely it would have caramel sauce, after all I can still remember the Fannie Farmer candy stores in Milwaukee.  No such luck.  Caramel recipes but no sauce.  OK, one last cook book (Tip, I admit I was avoiding Mrs. Rorer because I figured she'd do the heating up a can of sweetened condensed milk because that was what Dad said he had learned to do).  It is Reader's Digest Secrets of Better Cooking from 1973!  Mind you I have hundreds of cookbooks but was not inclined to search them all!  I am just now realizing I should have went out to the shop and got the French Cooking School Cookbook I spent a fortune on but didn't think of it.

Anyway.... I found an easy sounding recipe so I started to make it.  Oooops, I hadn't noticed I didn't have much brown sugar but maybe I could squeeze out enough and add some regular sugar.  Oh oh, no Karo!  Oh well I don't have maple syrup but I do have some sugar free pancake syrup so I used it.  While I was digging around in my cupboard for syrup I came upon a big bottle of sugar free DaVinci Caramel flavored syrup like they use for flavored coffee so I grabbed it. I was all set.  I got everything going in the pan and I noticed Carla had not used up all the honey that she had added Grand Marnier (or was it Triple Sec) to for her secret recipe so I threw it in to the pot, too.  Then I noticed the little tip at the end of the recipe mentioning that long cooking over low heat was the secret to a smooth velvety sauce.  Well I still had about an hour and a half until dessert time so I let it cook low and slow and did stir it occasionally.  I have to say it was delicious if I do say so myself!  The Panna Cotta recipe is in an earlier post (August 8) but here is the caramel sauce recipe if you don't want to go out to buy Dulce de Leche.  I will give the true recipe and then tell you what I put in due to my lack of ingredients!


Caramel Sauce
For steamed pudding, ice cream, plain baked apples or panna cotta
Makes about 3 cups

1 1/4 C   brown sugar packed* (Yes, Tyson, I do pack it!)
2/3 C. corn syrup (Karo)or maple syrup*
1/4 C. boiling water
3/4 C. light cream
Grated nutmeg or vanilla extract* (optional and I didn't use)

*  I used 1 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar;  I used 2/3 C. Maple Grove Farms Sugar Free Butter Flavor Low Calorie syrup (at least it has maple in its name), About 1/4 C. DaVinci gourmet caramel flavor syrup and maybe 2 T. honey mixed with some triple sec or maybe it was grand marnier.
 
Put brown sugar, syrups, and boiling water in a sauce pan.  Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the light cream and cook until smooth.  Stir frequently.  *What they don't mention is how long that will take and what smooth meansHere's the tip:  Long cooking over low heat makes this sauce smooth and velvety.  It is good just as it is, but it can be flavored with a dash of grated nutmeg or a teaspoon of vanilla extract.  I cooked it on low and stirred every so often for about 1 1/2 hours until it was the consistency of store bought caramel syrup.  When it cools it gets thicker.  I drizzled it over the panna cotta and it was wonderful!  Very caramel flavored thanks to the DaVinci syrup!

Thick and rich, this caramel sauce would be good on ice cream too!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New View from our Porch


April of 05. We'll not see pines like this again in our lifetime.


Today I finally got to watch the loggers cut down some of our trees.  They happened to be the ones where Marianne and Pat got married.  Also one was the one that blew down when a freak wind came through about 20 feet up in the air and snapped it off.  We always called it Darcy's tree because he was here when it happened and I have pictures of him standing beside it.

video


We have several other marriage trees that are also gone and one Aspen marriage tree that is still with us although it is getting pretty old.  Here are some still pictures of them.

Darcy by the tree in 2007.

One of my favorite pictures of Darcy's tree.
Darcy's tree today.  Anyone need firewood?  You're welcome to come get some from our old friends!  


There are a lot of memories surrounding these trees.  One is of the many elk and deer that hunters hung in these trees during hunting season.  Another is of the summer Manuel and Francisco (two of my students from West Wendover) came for a visit and brought a pinata for Brendin and Darcy to break open.  We hung it from these trees.  One summer Jim had all the cousins who were here help transplant some little pines from up in the woods to around these trees.  Too bad they never took hold even though the kids watered them faithfully (well, for a few days, anyway...).  Kathi pitched her teepee for the cousins under these trees, too.   Of course, none of us can forget Grandpa Ran's Wedding Arch woven with pine boughs that sat under these trees for Marianne and Pat's wedding.

Danny and Kathi's marriage tree in winter.  This was also the Stellars Blue Jays' favorite home in winter.  I hope they can find a new place! 

Kathi and Danny's trees today!  Anyone want to come help with the cleanup?


At least the humming birds will still have their nesting tree!  In the background is a view of the dead pines on the National Forest.  No logging going on there!
 Many people have camped under these trees.  We also tried to plant rhubarb here but it never grew! Erin broke her arm playing "kick the can" here, and many kids hid down under these trees playing "night games"!  JJ lost her glasses in the high water of the creek under these trees, too.

Danny and Beth's wedding guys by the only standing marriage trees left. 

JJ and Ozzie, Danny and Beth were married under these trees. 
 
The Aspen marriage trees today.  They're getting old and the Forest Service says an Aspen blight is coming soon!
 
We won't soon forget the woodpecker who attended Danny and Beth's wedding in the trees and on the fence.  Everyone was giggling because they knew what Bob was thinking!  JJ and Ozzie's wedding was accompanied by a huge cloud of mosquitoes!  We kind of rushed through the service so we all could spray on more OFF!  This is where our friends, Roger, Isabel and Jim and their family camp every year.  Our campfire sight is out here too.
 
Although I am sad to lose our old friends, the landscape is improved without all the Halloween graveyard looking trees! As you can see, though, there are still some left on our property.  I think our house is safer from forest and wild fires but these other trees will be going down before long! 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Scrapbook of Denver Memories part 1

Bob shows off his "diploma" for completing his radiation.



Bob relaxes outside before going in for his treatment.

 Bob has finished his radiation treatments and we are back home!  The 7 weeks really went by much faster than I thought they would and I do have lots of memories of the new friends we made, the interesting people we met and the adventures we had.  If we had to be away from home and go through this experience, Denver was a great place to do it!  I can't say enough good things about the "Blue Mesa Beauties" and the rest of the staff at The Urology Center of Colorado and the staff of the VQ Hotel down the street from there!  They all took great care of us.


Bob's certificate is signed by the ladies that operated the machine


Bob drinks his water before heading over to get his daily dose of radiation!  As one man said, " I need to get recharged so I can glow tonight!

From the first day we met Bob's radiologist, Dr. Gross and his crew, I knew it was the right thing for Bob to do.  They all have been so caring, reassuring, and lots of fun.  Their upbeat attitude is hard to resist.  The first day of treatments was the hardest due to the unknown, but they all kept it light and set the tone for the rest of the time.  The actual radiation treatments were not difficult--as they put it, the patient just lays there (some even take a nap, they claim)  while the girls do all the work.  There is no pain, nausea, or hair loss as there was in the past.  The after effects are very minimal.

The Blue Mesa Beauties.  Arrow points to the newest one--Iris the receptionist.  Nice stick figure, Iris!  They are posing next to the radiation machine.
The Crew (Blue Mesa Beauties) keeps the men of the Gentlemen's Club in line.  The have a special waiting room furnished with snacks, juice, coffee, and Chocolate! there is a TV, magazines and several books on living with prostate cancer.  The wives are also allowed in the Gentlemen's Club and I went every day with Bob.  I met some very interesting men and women in that room.  The people who went before and after Bob visited with me and we became quite good friends.  The girls had special names for each patient.  and teased some (who could take it) unmercifully.  There was a teacher for the DOD that was going to be 3 weeks late going to South Korea to teach math.  He had a new Ipad and we all gave him a ribbing.  His nickname was Mr. Trouble!  There was a Mr. Potato
Chip and Bob was the Favorite Cowboy.  The men were very interesting to chat with and offered a lot of suggestions for things to do while we were in Denver.  Bob even sold some of Danny and Kathi's chickens and beef to some of them!  Jean actually drove up to their farm to tour it and pick up the meat!  She has become a good friend of us all.

Blue shoe run to benefit prostate cancer research.

While we were in Denver we stayed at the VQ Hotel about a half block down the street from the Urology Center.  They gave us a big break on the price of our room and worked with the Urology Center's Foundation to help us with some of our expenses.  I need to mention the Foundation because they helped us out and I hope to help them as well.  They do free prostate cancer screenings around the Denver area, support reseach and education, help patients and employees when necessary.  They are having The Blue Shoe 5 K run/walk on September 25 at 8 AM and it sounds like it will be a very fun event with a post run beer garden, live music, an inflatable slide and other activities for kids, survivor recognition with channel 7's Mike Landess and free pasta among the events.  I'm guessing they'll also have free prostate cancer screenings there too.  It will be at the Urology Center of Colorado Just north of Invesco Field on Mile High Stadium Circle if anyone is interested.  They have a web sight as well. It is theblueshoerun.com.

The pool at the VQ.  I spent many hours here and got the best tan I ever had!  I also got a lot of reading done!


Back to the hotel, we were pleasantly surprised at the friendliness and care we received during our stay.  Everyone bent over backwards to see that we got the room we wanted, a refrigerator and microwave, shuttle rides and even several complementary meals!  Thanks to Cory, Chris, Gerald, Daniel and the others who were working at the desk and working with the Urology Center. Your cheerful greetings and help were greatly appreciated.  Tammy, marketing, and the catering coordinator, thank you so much for all you've done and especially for the free meals--they were great!  Bill, I had fun picking the crabapples and making jelly and crabapple butter from them.  Your flowers have been beautiful and I especially loved the hollyhocks!  Matthew, Israel, the rest of the wait staff and of course the chef, we enjoyed every meal we had in the Skybox, thanks! Juan, Norma and the other shuttle drivers, you helped us to have some enjoyable experiences while in Denver without having to try to find parking or driving in downtown traffic.  Norma, I loved that you had bananas and sandwiches for the homeless on your route and that you waited for us in front of the convention center while we took pictures of each other with the big blue bear.  Juan , your friendly concern and interesting conversation while shuttling us to and fro to the Rockies games, La Loma, Spaghetti Factory and the Aquarium are greatly appreciated.

Crabapple butter made with Splenda brown sugar for Bob and Juan our favorite shuttle driver.

Crabapple jelly I made from the trees out in front of the hotel.  This one was for Bill, the gardener and pool man.




Here I am picking crabapples.  there sure were a lot of them!

About 10 pounds of crabapples are in that bag.  I picked 2 batches of them.  There's my kindle, too!

These are just a few of the memories we will have.  I still have lots of pictures and memories of people we met and experiences we had but I will save them for later blogs!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We go to a Broncos Game!

The Broncos Skydivers.  There were 6 or 7 of them coming down in a high wind!  They landed pretty close to their targets for so much wind.


Sunday night was the Broncos vs the Steelers preseason game at Invesco Field at Mile High and we were there!  Bob and I got half price tickets online for this game.  We decided to come back to Denver a day early so we could go.  We got a room at our VQ hotel right next door to the football field and were all set for the event.

The beginnings of the rainbow over the highest part of the stands.
We decided to go down to Denver pretty early so we could get a good room with a refrigerator for our weekly stay, so arrived around noon on Sunday.  We had to go through a parking manager who had our name on the list of people staying at the hotel or we would have had to pay $40 just to park there!!!!  Already when we went to register there were tons of people in the lobby.  Most of them in Steelers shirts and caps!  A shuttle was outside gathering people to go to the Rockies game which was starting in less than an hour.  Things were really hopping at the VQ!  Our room was not ready yet so we decided to go up to the Skybox for a little lunch.  Our friend at the front desk, Daniel (who maintains we are "family" by now), said he would keep an eye on our stuff so we went up to eat.

Up in the Skybox where Bob and I had lunch.
To our surprise there wasn't anyone up there to eat!  I guess everyone was at the Rockies or had other plans for eating.  Bob had his usual--coconut shrimp with divine Asian coleslaw (I am going to attempt to copy this recipe when I get home!)  And I had a caramel sundae.  Elitches was going strong so we sat up there, enjoying the view and quietness of the afternoon.  Shortly, Daniel appeared and told us our room was ready whenever we were.  He had come all the way up to the 14th floor to let us know!

We got all settled in our room and I decided to go down to the pool for awhile.  It was very hot outside (somewhere around 95 degrees).  I sunbathed, swam and did some reading.  Meanwhile Bob stayed in the room and watched the tailgate parties going on in the parking lots and monitored the filling up of the various parking lots we could see from our room.

Well, he also did some resting, too!
We decided to go over to the field about an hour early since that is our modus opereni for the Rockies games.  It was a very short walk over to gate 4 where our seats were located.  After going through security we were informed there was only one gate that accepted the type of tickets we had and, of course, it was on the other side of the stadium.  It was really hot and windy out but we made our way around, got in and then walked back on the inside.

Here comes another skydiver trying to hit his target!
We knew there was an escalator somewhere to get us up to level 5 near our seats but couldn't seem to see it after following the signs.  We started walking up the ramp and Bob had to stop every little bit due to tiredness (I think from his treatments).  When we got to the second level, there was the escalator!  We got up to the 5th level quickly, got our nachos and drinks and headed for our seats.  Much to Bob's horror, we had to climb steeply up 20 rows almost to the top of the stadium!  It was a difficult climb for him.  We made it to our seats and were the only ones in our row!  The hot wind was blowing  so hard I thought I would lose my cap which was keeping the sun out of my eyes.  I did see a man climb up the stairs from his seat way down near the front of level 5 trying to find the boy whose hat had blown down on him!  We were glad we had bought our food and drink before finding our seats.  Bob announced that he needed a seat belt to keep from falling out, it was so steep.  I didn't feel quite that bad but we were way up there!  We could not read the numbers on the backs of the players when they were on the 50 yard line or farther away.

Bob trying not to fall out of his seat way up in the "cheap seats"!
Once the game started, though, we decided we really had a very good birds eye view of the game when it was in our end of the field.  We could see the play unfold much better than the quarterback and it was fun to see who was open and how the play developed.  The wind died down, we had a tiny rain shower complete with a beautiful rainbow and best of all the Broncos won!  This was not popular in our section of the stands as there were many Steelers fans among us!

Our birds eye view from on high!
We waited until most of the people had left from above us before us two old fogies tried to go back down those steep stairs very slowly!  It was nice to be able to walk back to our hotel without having to deal with shuttles or parking lots.  We were actually closer to our hotel than most of the parking lot around the stadium!

Steelers kick off to the Broncos.  The game begins!
Although  we were pretty far from the field I did take some pictures and here they are:

Wow! What a great rainbow!
Here he is coming in for a landing!
Broncos cheerleaders doing a vintage dance with the band.


Introducing the Broncos.

This is for the Shrivers.  The color guard is the special olympics guard from Casper, Wyoming.  Notice the Wyoming flag.

Blowing up the entry tunnel before introducing the team.  It looked really weird!

Another skydiver is coming in for a landing!