Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas at the Liming house was a very quiet affair with just the three of us. The weather was fantastic, no snow and it was 50 degrees. We spent the weekend just staying at home.

I bought a Kindle and a zoom lens for my camera, I also got a beautiful bracelet and earrings from my boss Sandy. Also from my work friends I got a Christmas candle and a winter tree decoration along with a bunch of goodies. From Gary's brother we got a gift card at Famous Dave's Restaurant and from our biker friends the Breckenridges we got a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates. I also got a book from Mmom.

Gary got his stock certificate from the Green Bay Packers. I've been telling people that I bought it, but in actuality he did. I was just the one who was able to get on the computer and get it. He bought this with the some of the money he won in Las Vegas. He is now officially part owner of an NFL team and has a letter to proove it. Gary also received a tin of cookies from one of his co-workers with a note that he had to share with his family.

Jennifer got the family the latest Pirate of the Caribbean movie and from Santa we got the Harry Potter movies, all eight of them.

Jennifer got a book from Mmom, the last one of series that she has been reading for a while. The author is Christopher Paolini and he is from Livingston. He wrote the first book when he was a young teen. She also go a membership card to Barnes & Noble from us. She got a Santa snow globe from one of her co-workers. Jennifer's friend Arthur stopped by the house for a short visit. He invited her to watch him play a pick up game of hockey. I was invited too. This would give me a chance to take photos with my new lens.

I had Monday off, so watched the first two Harry Potter movies. Waited for Jennifer to get off work at 5, so we could go to Billings. I did find the ice rink and we watched the hockey game for about 30 minutes. It was pretty cold in the arena. I did take quite a few photos. Then we went shopping.

I didn't buy much, got my cards for next year and I also bought a cantina for my village. It really helps when things are half off. Jennifer bought a Nook reader with some of her Christmas money.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Final Party Of The Year

Saturday was our final Christmas Party of the year. December is such a busy month for us, especially this year. Had a party every weekend.

The last one is just a dinner party at our friends Dick & Joan. I had to bring a dessert, so I made a pumpkin roll. I had to make a practice one first as I have never make one before. My practice one turned out great and they are really easy to make.

Joan told me that there were 18 people coming to her party, so I made two pumpkin rolls. The first one turned out all right, just a minor tear in the loaf part but I was able to fix that with the cream cheese filling. My second roll was a disaster, it broke apart into pieces as I was taking it out of the pan. Wonderful, now what am I going to do. One pumpkin roll is not enough for 18 people. I had no choice but to buy something at the bakery.

Our party was on Saturday, we spent the night again at Dale & Kitty's, this would be the last chance to visit with them as they are leaving for Arizona for three months after Christmas.

We had some errands to run and were to be at the Butterfields at 4:00. Our party was at 5:30. Traffic was a nightmare in Billings. It took us 45 minutes to get to the mall from King Avenue. At the bakery I bought a pumpkin cheesecake loaf which went well with the pumpkin roll.

Got to the Butterfields on time, got some visiting in then we loaded up and made our way to Dick & Joans. Joan made her delicious lasagne and we had plenty of food. We had lasagne by Joan, a salad by Kitty, homemade hot butter rum by Vickie, my desserts, several loaves of garlic bread by the others.

There were 16 of us at the party, not sure who the other two were who did not come, but this is our little regular group. One of the couples invited are quite a bit younger than us. They are just in their 20's. He is the son of some friends who moved to Tennessee last year. The kids don't really fit in with this group. I'm the youngest besides these two.

The men sat in the livingroom visiting while us women were in the kitchen. At first the young girl wouldn't come and visit with us. Joan our hostess went to get her to come in but the girl said that she wasn't comfortable about the inappropriate conversation. Not sure what she meant by that. We weren't talking about anything inappropriate, just not putting our husbands on pedestals. We did say that if we wanted a husband project done around the house, just start on it yourself and then it will get done. If we wait for the husbands it wouldn't get done. The girl did make a comment about this being marriage. We pointed out that two women have been married over 40 years, one over 30, I'm over 20 and the others were in the teens. When you are newlyweds you don't talk about each other like this.

We did exchange gifts this year, Joan said to keep it under $10, the guys buy guy gifts and the women buy women gifts. Gary got an LED flashlight and I got a Harley necklace.

Joan did make a comment that she probably won't invite the young kids again as the girl doesn't really fit in. She apparently is an only child and led a very sheltered life. She was homeschooled and her family is very religious. The kids are flying to Tennessee to see his parents and she made comments about her being forced to go and she was pretty nervous about flying.

We did have a great time and are ready to just relax this weekend. Our next party is in January.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Jam & Toy Run

For the past 25 years, the Road Dogs motorcycle group sponsors the Holiday Jam and Toy Run for needy children. This is our third year of participating.

Friday we went to the Holiday Jam at Bones Brewery. You need to make a cash or toy donation to get in the party. We spend the night at the Butterfield Inn (friends house). I took off early from work so that we could meet our friends Dale & Kitty at their house. We rode to the bar with them. Got there early to save a table for our group and also to eat dinner.

It doesn't take long for the place to fill up, think more people this year had the same idea as us by going early. Had a good time with our friends and just enjoyed ourselves. I told Gary that when the bidding starts he is not allowed to get the bar maids attention. He did that last year and bid $130 on an item, fortunately he was out bid in no time.

The band playing the music is from Bozeman called Jamelution. They played a couple years ago and are very good, play the oldies from the 70's to current music. We enjoy listening to them. Didn't buy anything at the raffle either, a bit too rich for our blood.

We decided to stay over in Billings on Saturday night also, this time we got a motel room. Kitty would have let us stay at their house again, but she goes to so much trouble for us, besides she is busy getting ready for their three month trip to Arizona.

We got some shopping done, went out to a nice dinner at The Texas Roadhouse and then a movie at the new theater complex on Shiloh.

Sunday morning was the toy run. This year the weather was beautiful. We didn't ride because we don't have our protective coating the the fenders of the new bike yet. Besides it would have been a very cold ride from Hardin to Billings in the morning. We met our friends at the fire station for breakfast. Another motorcycle group fixes biscuits and gravy for everyone, all we do is leave a donation. Met up with our friends.

Gary and I headed out early to get on Broadwater so that I could get photos of our friends riding in the toy run parade as they were coming up the hill. We got a good spot by the Shrine. I got most of our friends, missed a few. What an impressive sight to see, 600 bikes. Good weather brings them out.

The procession went to Rimrock Mall to deliver the toys to the Salvation Army tree and again the tree was buried. Delivered $30,000 worth of toys for the kids. Once we got that done, then we headed over to Bones for our HOG chapter meeting.

Gary was on the KULR 8 news along with our friends, I think on the video you can see my leg. I ended up on the Billings Gazette site, but I'm way in the background. You really have to look to see me.

It was a great weekend, now we are getting ready for our dinner party on Saturday. I have to bring a dessert and this year doing a gift exchange. We have those, just need to wrap them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Park's Christmas Party

Saturday was the 32nd Annual Christmas Party and Awards Banquet for tae kwon do. Since we have the school in Hardin, Gary and I are required to attend. Jennifer went with us too. We had one of our student's and his father attend as well. This is also when those who tested for their black belts get their certificates.

Gary just hates going, he whines about it every year. This year it was a disaster for the Hardin school.

We have a short business meeting before the party. This is when the instructors sign the black belt certificates and we get the finance statements. Park's was upset last year because someone threw away the copies of the statements and he was offended. This year he said that only the master's would get the statements, we were the only two who were not masters. Both of us came away feeling that Park's was blaming us for the slight. We know who did throw the statements away.

Before going to the party, I checked to see if our two students had their certificates in the pile. No certificates were there. In fact about six people who tested didn't have certificates that night and they were from the out of town schools.

Park's son Frank is being groomed to take over one of these days and he has no clue on how to operate things. He was so upset about missing certificates. Our student came. When I pointed out that they paid $60 for a father to see his son get his black belt certificate then drive 50 miles it is a problem. Another instructor asked Frank if there was a possibility that the certificate could be at the school in Billings, Frank said that it could be. Instead of taking the hint to drive to the school to check, he just walked around in a daze. At least our student was recognized.

Gary and I had to make the explanations, Frank didn't step up to the plate and admit that he messed up. Gary and I refunded them their money since they didn't get what they paid for. We felt bad for them.

On the bright side, Jennifer was awarded Assistant Instructor of the Year and I came home with a chaffing dish from the raffle. I bought $10 worth of tickets, so not a bad deal.

Our student did win a prize in the raffle. He got a desk organizer which he is going to rewrap and give to his mom. It was funny because he was sitting there and telling them to call out his ticket number and it was the ticket.

We didn't win the big prizes again, as we were getting ready to leave Frank asked if our student was disappointed. I said yes he was, he is going home without a certificate and now we don't know when he will get it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Women's Only Garage Party

Last night Jennifer and I went to the Women's Only Garage Party held at the Harley dealership in Billings. It was from 6:30-9:30 pm.

I had signed up to go because the woman hosting the event is a HOG member and she asked if I would sign up. She wanted to see some experienced people at the event to answer questions. So I signed up.

I had completely forgotten about it until I got a phone call from the dealership reminding me of the event and to confirm. I called them up and said I would be there.

Jennifer had the day off, so I asked if she wanted to come. The garage parties that I attended before were fun. We were served croissant sandwiches for dinner and you go to the different stations and learn about motorcycle riding. She said sure she would go.

Yesterday afternoon it started to rain, so I figured here comes a storm. Well it cleared up and we had patches of blue sky and roads were drying up. I called the dealership to see how the weather was in Billings and it was just overcast with patches of blue sky.

We left Hardin after I got off work and the roads were bare and dry and no sign of any snow. Perfect conditions. We arrived at the dealership in plenty of time, Jennifer signed in. We received a little packet with an itinerary attached.

This garage party was different than the ones I had attended before. There was a massage therapist giving out free massages, a person selling Lia Sophia jewelry and handbags. Another one selling some kind of anti aging stuff. Had a yoga instructor who would show us how we can relax while on the bikes. Nothing really about motorcycle riding.

We were served wine and champaigne with hors douevres by some fitness trainers of Oz Fitness in Billings. We were given a raffle ticket and the item they were raffling off was a $300 off a portrait sitting by a local photographer.

Jennifer and I drank some white wine and we found that we like the Moscoto that they were serving. Will have to buy a bottle for Christmas.

The only thing remotely related to motorcycle riding was the demonstration of packing that was given by two of my friends. Dawn gave a packing demonstration from a riders perspective and Kitty to a passengers perspective. We didn't watch any of these, as I think by now I know how to pack for a motorcycle trip.

Instead Jennifer and I went shopping. We each bought some Lia Sophia jewelry. I bought a pair of earrings and Jennifer bought a necklace and earring set. The lady gave Jennifer 70% off her purchases. The earrings were originally $30 and she got them for $9. She has to wait on the necklace as the lady didn't know what the retail cost was, but she is to call me and will put Jennifer's order in with mine. I picked up the catalog to look for future shopping.

In our gift bags we had a $10 off coupon, so Jennifer and I bought some Harley shirts. We even got a further discount for purchasing the items at the event.

At the end it was time for the raffle items. We didn't win the portrait package but Jennifer did win a t-shirt from Oz Fitness.

The party got over early and since we just had snacks to eat we were both hungry so before heading home we stopped at McDonald's to get a sandwich. I had a coupon for buy one get one free so we took advantage of that. We had time as Gary knew the party got over at 9:30.

It was starting to snow in Billings, so we headed home. The roads were clear in Billings and when I got to the 27th Street exit the snow stopped roads were dry. I was driving right along and then I reached the bottom of Pryor Hill. That is where I ran into icy roads and a snow storm. The wind was blowing pretty good, I could only see about 1/2 mile ahead and had to slow down to 40 mph the rest of the way home.

There were times when the wind would catch me and I didn't know if I slid because of ice or the wind. We made it home safe and sound. We left Billings at 9:15 and got home at 10:20. The worst part of the trip was from Arrow Creek to Fly Creek which this time of year is always the bad spot. Once I got to Fly Creek the snow had let up and it wasn't so windy, but the roads were pretty icy.

I don't think Jennifer will be going to another one in the near future and I will wait a while before signing up for another one. We both had a nice time and came home with some good deals.