Thursday, July 30, 2009

Christmas In July

Christmas came early for the Liming household. Last Sunday we went out and bought a brand new 42" plasma flat screen tv; blu-ray dvd player; dvd recorder; wii game system; and a new stand for the tv.

It all started last Saturday, Gary's friend had us come over to his house so that we could see his new flat screen tv. Gary got all the particulars on it, so when we went to Billings Saturday afternoon, we looked at the new tvs.

We priced tv's in three different stores and decided to buy ours at Best Buy as they were having a sale on them. We have a home theater system but we weren't too sure if it would work with the new tv, so the little sales man told us what to look for on the back of our theater system. Wouldn't you know it, we didn't have the hdmi connector that would be needed. Any way we talked about it some more and decided to go ahead and buy everything now.

Our original plan was to wait until around Christmas time to get all this stuff, but Gary wanted the new tv before football season started. The selling point was when the salesman told us that the plasma tv was faster especially for sports.

We set up the tv and blu ray along with the new stand on Sunday when we got home. Wasn't too bad, but I had to rearrange my living room. It only took us a couple hours to get the tv, stand and blu ray hooked up and working. All I can say is WOW. That tv is so huge. Had Mom come over and at first it took her a while to notice that we had a new tv. She noticed that my bookcase that was in the corner was moved and our computer desk is now sitting where the tv and entertainment center used to be. It finally dawned on her that we got the new tv and it is now in the corner where my bookcase used to be. I don't know how she missed noticing this huge 42" tv in our livingroom.

We got the wii connected last night and had fun playing with the games. We all played bowling. Jen had to work last night so she was only able to play one game of bowling with us. Gary and I had fun trying out the other games. It is going to take us a while to get used to all this but we are sure going to enjoy it. We must have played those games for two hours last night. Mom came over and just laughed when Gary and I were playing.

All we have left to do is hook up the dvd recorder. We lost our home theater system but that is ok. May get a new one in the future. Now our problem is what are we going to do with our old tv and the entertainment center. Good thing I have an extra bedroom that I can use for a storage room.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coffee Specialist

Every family needs one and I have one in my own house. Jennifer had to take a test at her work on Sunday on the McCafe coffees. She passed and is now an official coffee specialist.

She has been making them since her work got their machine. She says that the new coffees are easy to make, you just follow the instructions right in front of you. She has been making them for months. On her test she had to know what kind of beans are used, where they are from. What the difference is between a latte and a cappacino. What the difference is between an iced latte and an iced coffee. She even had to make a couple.

I do enjoy the new coffees at McDonald's but I still haven't given up on my favorite place to get my nutty leprechaun. McDonald's doesn't make those.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tear Gas Training

While my Mom and I were in Napa for Spuddie's funeral, we were packing up and clearing out closets and dressers. I was in her bedroom cleaning out her dresser and you would be amazed at what you would find.

I found a card when back in 1982 Spuddie had taken tear gas training and passed. First I was surprised that a woman at the age of 72 would take tear gas training. Second, why on earth would a 72 year old woman take tear gas training.

I took tear gas training, but that was when I was 18 and in boot camp. Believe me, it was not fun and not an experience I want to do again. I teasingly joked to my Mom that she had better get on the ball and take training. One never knows when it will come in handy. Mom said to sign her up at the next opportunity.

I tried to think back what was going on in the world that would cause a 72 year old woman take this sort of training and can't think of anything. Tear gas is used mainly to disperse unruly crowds and used by police and the military.

No one in the family knew that she had taken this training. I kept the card because I think it is a hoot. Can you imagine the instructor when this 72 year old woman was sitting in the class. Look was I get to look forward to when I get older. That should really make my children shake their heads and wonder.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Road Trip Again

Last week I went on another road trip with my mom. This was not a fun one. My great aunt had passed away last week. When I saw my mom she told me that my great aunt was not doing well and when the time came could I take her to California. I told mom that I didn't see a problem with it. I just had visions that this would occur when we were in Ireland.

It was the next day when I got the phone call from Mom that she had passed. I thought I would have a bit of time. After mom got all the information on the arrangements, I got things situated at work. I am so thankful that I have a very understanding boss.

Monday after work I hurriedly packed my bag and headed to Meeteetse. Mom and I left early Tuesday morning. We drove all the way to Elko Nevada. We decided to stay at a casino because we wanted to have a bit of fun. I did gamble a bit and cashed out with $50. I actually won $30 as I played $20. I did put some of my winnings in the machines again and promptly lost it. I think I walked away about $10 to the good.

The next morning we thought we were leaving early. I was using my cell phone for our clock and I forgot that my phone automatically changes time when I am in a different time zone. I kept thinking that I was still on mountain time. We left an hour later than I had originally thought. Oh well we still made good time. We ate a late lunch or early supper in Truckee CA. That is a real neat little town, one that we will have to explore on another date. We arrived in Napa about 7:00 pm pdt.

We stayed at my great aunts house. Mom and I were both tired so we just relaxed and checked out on how much work we would have. My great uncle has a huge train set up in their attic. This takes up the whole attice, we took photos of it and wondered how on earth this is ever going to be moved out of the house.

On Thursday morning we met with the neighbor and promptly got to work. We cleaned out the two bedroom closets full of clothes and the neighbor donated them to Goodwill. Then we sorted through the books. The library will take them and sell them as a fund raiser. The important looking stuff we put aside to go through later. My mom's cousin from San Diego and his wife was flying up and would meet us in the afternoon. The neighbor also took us through the garage and that is a chore that I don't even want to think of. There is so much stuff that we don't know where to begin.

The Payne's arrived and took us out to lunch. After lunch we all went back to the house and started packing up dishes and going through dresser drawers. We worked well into the evening, when Bob decided that we had done enough for the day and went out for supper. This is where we had the perfect margaritas. They were very good, will have to see if Billings make those.

Friday morning came and we all did more packing, then we got ready for the lunch reception and services. The reception was held at my great aunt's favorite restaurant and we all had her favorite meal with ice cream for dessert. My cousin Susan made all the arrangements for this. Susan was the one who spent quite a bit of time with our great aunt over the years and she was very close to her.

After everything was over, back to the house and more packing. I loaded up my car with as much stuff as I could get into it. I think that if Bob had his way, I would have taken the whole house. I had to keep reminding him that I still need to get luggage in the car and that I need to be able to see out of my windows. I brought home alot of stuff. Some came to Meeteetse and some in Hardin.

Saturday morning, Mom and I left Napa. We did leave a little earlier than normal. We made it all the way to West Wendover NV. We wanted to spend our last night having fun. We both gambled and lost. We didn't cash out or anything, then for a nightcap we had a margarita. These were just normal ones, no perfect. We got home Sunday evening. Dropped off the stuff in Meeteetse, then the Gma's fed me and I made the last 180 miles on my own.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ride To The Wall

On July 11 and 12, Gary and I went to the Ride To The Wall events in Cody. I know, another trip to Cody. This makes the third weekend in a row we've spent in Cody, we are almost residents. We left Hardin at 8:30, had to meet our friends in Laurel.

We rode to Meeteetse and had lunch in the Cowboy, met the Gma's there. We got the time when the rest of the riders will be in town, as Meeteetse was a stop for the poker run. We didn't have to wait long, after we ate our lunch we waited probably 15 minutes and here they came. You can hear them before you see them.

One biker named Ted from Washington was just amazed that Gma was 101 years old and he talked to her for quite a while. He even called his 90 year old mother and told her about meeting Gracie. He said he didn't want to hear his mother complaining about being old, she is a youngster.

We rode with the group back to Cody, what a sight it was. There must have been about 50 or 60 bikes and we were stretched for about a mile. I was just wondering what the other motorists were thinking when they saw this huge group. We got to the stop sign just before heading into Cody and got a police escort through town. We were staying at the Gateway Campground on the west end of Cody.

We set up our tent with the others. Our tent has a closet so everyone was getting a kick out of that. Gary checked us in, picked up our t-shirts, flags and dinner tickets. At least we had warm weather, no rain on this trip. We didn't freeze during the night. We were prepared, we actually packed a blanket this time.

That night we ate dinner at Cassie's which was just across the street. We all had prime rib and after dinner they gave away prizes and awards. We also got our instructions for Sunday morning. The rest of the evening was spent on our own. We just stayed at the campground visiting with the others. There was a convenience store right next to us so we got our snacks and liquor.

Sunday morning we tore down our tents and got the bikes packed up. We all had to wear our t-shirts for the parade through town. We ate breakfast at the Irma as they serve a buffet. Looked like everyone else had the same idea. It was fast to get that many people served.

After breakfast we had to meet at the rodeo grounds. The count was 187 people and about 100 bikes. Not everyone stayed at the campground and many were local Cody residents who joined in for Sunday. We got a police escort through town to the Veterans Memorial Park.

The two Viet Nam Veterans motorcycle clubs always present the park with new flags so we watched the flag raising and listened to a few speeches. They kept it short. The head guy was lamenting that not many people were out watching the parade of bikes through town. There were some.

I was thinking to myself that if you want people to watch, then don't plan the parade on a Sunday morning at 10:00 am when people are in church. After this was over we made our way home.

We ate lunch in Belfry at the Horse Trader cafe, it was good food. We usually don't stop in Belfry on our way to Meeteetse but it was nice. Once we hit Laurel we said our good byes to our friends as they live in Laurel. We got home fairly early in the afternoon about 2:00.

I took quite a bunch of photos and I even tried to get some video. One video was pretty good because we were stopped, but the one when we were riding down the street was too blurry. I will have to work on video. I even tried to get some photos behind me. Some are good and some are very interesting. Again I need more practice. I was just aiming the camera behind me and snapping away.

We had a nice weekend. So glad that for once we didn't get any rain, had good weather all the way. We met alot of new people and Gary really wants to make this an annual event. The guys were talking about next year meeting the group in Casper. It only cost us $70 for the event and that covers everything for the weekend.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mower VS Cell Phone

Tuesday Gary was out mowing the yard. It had been neglected while we were having fun on the Harley and was to the point that the grass needed a trim. I could hear Gary mumbling something outside.

He came in, slammed the door and said "your phone just went through the mower".

I was at first surprised, no my phone is in my purse where it is always kept. It wasn't, he handed me my phone with some grass bits on it.

My phone was in one piece and still works, nothing wrong. Somehow it had fallen out of my purse and on the ground. I didn't notice it at all. I called Jennifer on it to make sure that it still worked and she was a bit surprised that I would call her when we were in the house and she was in her room getting ready for class.

Actually my phone didn't go through the mower, he just ran right over the top of it. I got all the grass bits off of it and it works just like new. I'm surprised that he didn't see it before he ran the mower on it.

I have a Samsung phone and it was a freebie. Works real well. Although I don't want to test it again with the mower. My phone might not win the next time.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cody Parade

This year for the Independence Day Holiday we went to Cody. We were invited as Patriot Guard Riders to participate in the Cody Parade on Friday and Saturday. We escorted the Grand Marshall's of the parade.

Gary and I left Hardin Thursday evening as we had to be lined up for the parade at 8:30 am. It was nice to be able to visit the Grandma's on Thursday night. We met them at the Elkhorn for dinner, then later we had a nightcap at the Cowboy. We outran a storm on the way to Meeteetse from Billings. There were times when we thought we would get caught, but we made it. Even though it was a short visit, it still was good.

In Cody we stayed at the KOA, our first night was in a cabin and our second in our tent. Because we aren't having a real summer, just a cold rainy one we wanted to be dry. Normally I would pack everything needed for sleeping in a KOA cabin and a tent, but we are very limited on what we can back on the bike. We were able to pack the tent and the air mattress in the trunk along with our rain gear. We had to leave our leathers at home, just didn't have room. I couldn't pack the sleeping bags, so we just packed a couple sheets and sweats to sleep in. We figured that would keep us warm enough. Did I mention that this has been a cold summer.

Friday morning we left Meeteetse early so that we could stop in Cody and get a quick bite to eat. We stopped at McDonald's and each at a cinnamelt and I had a cup of hot coffee. It was a chilly ride from Meeteetse to Cody that morning. It was only 55 degrees when we left. We put on our rain coats to keep warm. We had to meander around Cody to get to our line up spot as the main streets were closed in Cody. We had to line up by the hospital. Good thing that we kind of know the back streets to Cody. We met up with the other Patriot Guard Riders. Most were from Wyoming, but there were others from Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Iowa. It was a bit cloudy and not too hot for the parade. On Friday we escorted the parents of PFC Chance Phelps who was killed in Iraq a few years ago. He was from Dubois and the movie "Taking Chance" is based on his final homecoming. The float from the VFW also honored all the military men who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan from Wyoming.

We met and visited with the parents, receiving hugs from them. It is very humbling to realized that their son is the same age as Jason and how very blessed we are that Robert came home in the same state that he left. I did tell Robert that I expected the Army to return my son in the same condition that I gave them. They listened well to me. We made our way down the parade route. Since we were at the very beginning of the parade, we were able to see the parade.

The VFW gave us Patriot Guard Riders a free lunch, so we ate there. They announced at 12:30 there was going to be a wreath laying ceremony at the Veteran's Park and we were invited to go. We decided why not had nothing better to do. First we checked into the KOA and unloaded our stuff. By this time the clouds had darkened up a bit and was starting to rumble. We made our way to the Veteran's Park for the ceremony. As we were standing there, this woman just walked up to us and introduced herself at Bobbi Barasso. She talked to us for a while and then we told her that we didn't live here we are from Montana. She didn't stay long after that, she moved on to talk to potential voters. We also met Senator Barasso and Representative Cynthia Lummis. They were very nice and welcomed us to Wyoming when they found out we are from Montana.

Just before the thing started it began to rain. It was a nice ceremony and the good thing about the rain was that it kept all the politicians from talking long, they had to make it short. Once they laid the wreath on the memorial it really started to rain. We made our way back to the cabin and let me tell you, raindrops hurt. Later in the evening there was a street dance in front of the Irma, but they charged you to get in as it was a fundraiser for something. We stayed and listened to the band for a bit. They were pretty good and played a mix of country and rock music.

It rain pretty much off and on the whole day so we didn't get out much. We were so glad that we got a cabin for that night and prayed that Saturday night would be nicer. It was cold but once we got up and moved around we warmed up.

Saturday morning we met some of the Patriot Guard Riders at Our Place for breakfast, it was a cool ride into town. Not very many were there, but we ate with the Idaho bunch as they were staying at the KOA too and the man from Cody who arranged it all. The sun was shining so that was a good sign. After breakfast we went back to KOA to check out of our cabin and set up our tent,which took about 10 minutes. Made our way to the parade line up.

There were more people in town on Saturday, we had the same amount of riders for the parade but there were a couple different ones. The sun was shining, it was turning out to be a real nice day, no clouds. After the parade Gary made his way down some of the side streets to get closer parking in town. You can park a bike just about anywhere, so he found a good parking spot next to the park. We walked through the vendor tents, didn't buy anything because we don't have space for anything. Most of the stuff is the same thing you see all the time at parades and carnivals.

We took a ride up the North Fork, but only to the end of the lake. Just before leaving town we saw a real bad accident. A SUV type vehicle had hit a deer and the deer was laying on the hood of the SUV and the windshield was shattered. This was right in front of the Health Center. The passenger in the SUV did have some cuts on her face from the glass. They must have been going pretty fast to hit that deer that hard. We did stop at the Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor Center. There was a lady at the parking lot with her golf cart and gave us a ride to the Visitor Center, that was nice. We strolled around and looked at stuff. Took some photos. Went back to town and had an ice cream at the DQ. Told Gary to watch out for the suicidal deer. Sitting there the dark clouds rolled in. Made our way back to the KOA and waited for rain, but it didn't come. Thank goodness. We took advantage of the hot tub and pool, felt real good. We spent the rest of the day relaxing.

We skipped the fireworks, didn't want to deal with all the traffic on the bike in the dark, besides we didn't have any chairs to sit on. It was a cold night and we about froze, so glad that in the morning the sun was shining and warmed things up fast. We ate breakfast at the KOA, all you can eat pancakes for $2. After breakfast we took down the tent and got it put back into it's bag, only took two tries. Repacked our bag, which didn't take long.

Gary did fold the air mattress different, it was flatter but wouldn't fit into it's bag. We had more room this way. We got home about noon, stopped at McDonald's to let Jennifer know we are back. She gave us the good news that she doesn't have to open anymore but she will be working more evenings. She is happy, doesn't have to wake up at 4:00 am anymore.

We left the air mattress and tent in the bike as we will be using it this weekend again. We had a good time and I even manage to take a couple videos in the parade while on the back of the bike. Will post those later when I get them all edited and sorted.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

State HOG Rally

Last Thursday through Saturday was the Montana State Hog Rally. We had signed up several months ago and even volunteered to help. Our assignment was the information table and we were scheduled to work it from 1-3:30. It was so hot on Thursday about 95 degrees outside. We rode up early so that we could check into our motel, then we still had some time so we had a coke at McDonald's.

We made our way to the Harley dealership and we were so happy to learn that we would be sitting inside with nice air conditioning. We got our registration packets and then sat at the information table. We really didn't have much to do because there were representatives of the chamber of commerce for both Billings and Cody. Those two ladies did all the informing. Our main job was to tell people that registration was around the corner and all the way to the back by the windows.

Let me go back a bit. Tuesday evening there was a meeting for all the volunteers so that we would get all the information about the packets in case there were any questions. We all got our volunteer t-shirts. Everyone got a raffle ticket and after the meeting they drew the numbers. I won a $50 gift card good for the dealerships in Billings, Red Lodge and Cody.

After our session of informing was done, I checked out the clothes to see what I could spend my money on. I've been looking for a purse that just hooks onto my belt loops. This will open up space on the bike. I decided to hold on because whatever I buy I would have to pack and we are pretty loaded as it is.

During the summer every Thursday night Billings has the outdoor concerts called "Alive After Five". They get different bands every week and a different business will sponsor it. All the rally goers were encouraged to take in this event. The concerts are all downtown and there was closed parking for the bikes. Also we had a poker walk. That was fun, the bars were all within walking distance, neither one of us won. We had met our friends and they were hungry so we ate at a really good Mexican restaurant downtown. We didn't eat because we ate before heading downtown. We all called it an early night because we were leaving early to head for Cody.

What a difference a day makes, it was pretty cold on Friday morning. It was about 50 degrees in the morning, so we put on our leathers. The route to take to Cody they had us go to Columbus, through Absarokee and into Red Lodge to go over Bear Tooth Pass. This was the day that we had our observation run. They had two routes the first by Chief Joseph Highway and the second was through Yellowstone Park. We opted to go by Chief Joseph because we didn't want to pay for just a drive through the park.

The observation run is like a scavenger hunt, we had to find the answers to all the clues on our papers. Since we had two sets of clues, I kept one so that we can do the Yellowstone Park one later on our own. It was fun and we got all our answers right. There was one trick question. It was what road is the Clark's Fork & Spoon on. It is actually on Chief Joseph Highway, but there is a dirt road that you turn on to get into the parking lot and the name of that dirt road is the official road that this establishment is on. Quite alot of people wrote the highway number down.

We had stopped in Red Lodge for a little break, had coffee and hot tea at the Red Lodge Cafe then who walks in. Our grand masters from Tae Kwon Do. What were the chances that we would bump into somebody we knew on that particular day. Also it was getting colder as we were getting higher. It was about 11 am when we started going up the mountain. The higher we went the colder and wetter it was getting. It didn't actually rain per se, but the clouds were so low and filled with moisture that we got wet. We made it to Top of The World Store and a rider had a GPS on his bike. The temperature on top was 32 degrees. As we made our way down the mountain it got warmer and less wet. We got into Cody around 3:00 pm, checked in with the rally people. We checked into our hotel and then wandered around downtown Cody.

We did stop at the Harley dealership and I used up my gift card, I found the purse that hooks onto my belt loops that didn't cost an arm and a leg. I really like it and think I'll bring it with me on my Ireland trip. It is so handy. We ate supper at Bubba's and I couldn't eat all of mine. Seemed such a waste to leave half my food on my plate. Where was Jason when I needed him. We no sooner got to our motel then a cloud burst hit. The rain came down in sheets fast and hard.

Saturday morning was nice and sunny, had some wind but it wasn't that bad. Saturday was the high stakes poker run. Our route this time was up and over the Big Horn Mountains making our way back to Billings. There were certain times when the dealers would be at the stops, so we had to plan accordingly. Our first leg was taking us up Shell Canyon. We did stop at Shell Falls so that I could get some photos. Gary did pretty good about stopping more so that I could get my photo ops. We made our way to Bear Lodge at Burgess Junction. We had a snack here and those people were not prepared to have over 300 bikers stop and eat. Needless to say service was not great and at time was aggravating. It took over 30 minutes for us to get a cup of chili and a slice of pie. My mistake was ordering my pie ala mode. When I got my pie it wasn't ala mode and when I told our little waiter he just got this blank look on his face, took my pie and I didn't see it again for another 10 minutes. I did get it ala mode this time. When Gary went up to pay, they had run out of cash and waiting for the person to come back. They knew we were coming, but just didn't realize the numbers. While I was waiting for Gary to pay, there was one of the county commissioners. He didn't recognize me at first until I talked to him. Now he has been teasing me about being a "Biker Mama".

We made our way to Billings, checked into our hotel and made our way to the Shrine Auditorium for the banquet and awards ceremony. We didn't win anything with our poker hands. Again they were having a raffle and everyone got a ticket, then we purchased 50/50 tickets. I won a t-shirt on the raffle which I gave to Gary. People from Canada won the big money. Our dinner was fabulous, we had prime rib, shrimp, green bean almondine, ceaser salad, pasta salad and an assortment of desserts. I did get the last piece of cheesecake though.

Everything was done by 8:00 pm, so we made our way downtown with some friends for a street dance. Billings was having a Western Soiree. It was fun, but everyone was tired from our long day so we left early. Besides we wanted to leave before all the drunks and traffic and it was getting dark.

All in all we had a great time. We hit every kind of weather condition but snow. Now we are getting ready to go to Cody for the weekend. We are going to be in the parade for the Patriot Guard.