04 January 2015


Dear Grandpa,

It's hard to know what to say and how to say it, when it is the last word.  It is impossible to do you justice.  I haven't posted on this stupid blog in three years, and I know folks may be wondering why I am now.  Nothing makes a lot of sense right now, but I guess making a post here does.  Go figure.  Grandpa, you influenced me in so many ways.  You saw the world through the eyes of humor, stories, and a camera lens.  Those characteristics inspired me the most, and in their own way, inspired this blog, where I could tell stories and share photos of my own.

Thank you for sharing all your memories with me.  They have, and will continue to, influence me and future generations to come.  They will bring reflections on happiness, creativity, and perseverance.  Every person's connection with you is unique and you will be missed in many, different ways.  You were a one of a kind, multi-faceted in a way that is impossible to recreate.

I will always remember how you loved your family, your state, and your country.  Your adoration for my grandma made one of the strongest connections I have yet to see.  You knew how to make her smile, and occasionally loved to make her squirm in good fun.   While you created many amazing things, you always thought your greatest creation was your two girls.  Even though you always said they made your hair go from black to white in a couple of years, they were also your muses.  Always worth a good giggle.  Growing up you scared the beejeezus out of me.  I was always careful to keep my hands off of your perfectly clean, white walls.  But as I got older I began to understand your sense of humor and realized how interesting you were.  I tried to learn from you.  Husband, father, grandfather, soldier, photographer, craftsman, storyteller, and overall happy camper.

While we continue to reminisce, I hope you are able to too, with a smile and a half on your face.

  Grandpa in his 1927 Chevrolet

Playing around

Grandpa, 4th Division, North Korea 1952
Grandpa's Korean War Service Medal

Animas Forks 


Snowmobiling, "Six feet in the air!" 


Flying Model

Arrowheads Grandpa made

Missionary Ridge

Working on the Telephone Pole

Lightning over Durango


Grandpa's pumpkin carving 2012

My only regret is that I don't have a single photograph of just us together.

Inky dinky do. I love you.  Goodbye.

01 January 2015

Back to the Basics: Fall & One Pot Stacked Enchiladas

One Pot Stacked Enchiladas
I guess that the first day of fall doesn’t start until the September equinox. Who makes these rules? Well lately the lovely Colorado weather has felt different, and to me, different means fall. Fall always was my favorite season. Maybe because my birthday is in November and the changing season meant fabulous presents on the horizon. Lately I’ve been in a rut (when have I never been in one), and this crisp weather has reminded of me of things I used to enjoy doing in the fall. So I thought I’d make a list, premature though it might be.
Halloween – going door to door finding the best houses for candy while dressing up like someone else always appealed to me. I can’t imagine anything more fun.
Going to the giant corn maze
Holding on to someone in haunted houses
Carving pumpkins – I can’t say going to the pumpkin patch, because I don’t think I’ve ever done that
Playing outside, maybe in the leaves
Cuddling up against the heater with a good book, blanket, and a nice cat
Thanksgiving – always more about family than food
This whole adult life is really getting to me. I used to play, pretend. Now I feel so boring, just going through time without imagination. What do you do in the fall? I need inspiration.

Campin' Enchiladas

One Pot Enchiladas

1 can enchilada sauce
1 15 oz. can black beans
1 bag of pre-grated cheese (cheddar or Mexican)
1 small can pre-sliced olives
5-8 corn tortillas
  1. In a pot, stack the food. Enchilada sauce, then tortilla, then beans, then cheese, then black olives. Repeat until you have many layers.
  2. Cook over medium heat until cooked all the way through.
Roughing It

Turkey Shoot and Chicken Tex-Mex Casserole

Chicken Tex-Mex Casserole

Winning Turkey Shoot

Chicken Tex-Mex Casserole

Birthday Flowers

06 March 2012

Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs

Pin It

Cranberry Barbecue Jalapeno Meatballs

A few days ago, I brought these meatballs to a friend's Bridal Shower.  As always, I come up with a fabulous idea, an amazing idea, and then whenever making it for others, it falls short.  But they are still pretty darn good.  I was inspired by some jalapeno poppers with cranberry sauce that we had at Tommyknocker's Brewery.  I tried to put balls of cheese in the middle of these meatballs, hoping the cheese would ooze out when you bite into it.  Instead they oozed out as they baked.  So I had to mix the cheese into the meat, taking out the wow factor.  Oh well.

Back to the shower.  Like all showers, this one was full of excitement, well-wishes and some unexpected twists.  One game we played was the Newlywed Game.  It reminded me of my own bridal shower from last year.   The Newlywed Game involves the bridesmaids emailing the groom and having him answer certain questions.  Then at the shower, the bride has to try and guess what her future husband said.  Well, I asked, and my friend still had the email she sent.  Here are some of my husband's best responses.


Question: Describe your first date.
Gas Monkey's Answer: We went to Olive Garden across the street from Lowes and......it was definitely an interesting date.  Things have changed quite a bit!  I brought up some interesting topics that she didn't agree with my perspective on......I am sure she will be excited to share.

Q:Where was your first kiss?
G.M's A: hmmmmm.....I will say inspiration point....was at least the first should I say it....inspirational kiss..
(Wrong answer, but still a good one)

Jalapeno Meatballs
1. Mix milk, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, salt, onion powder, sage, dried parsley, garlic, milk, cheese, and jalapenos in a bowl.  Don't be a afraid to get your hands dirty!

Q: What is the favorite meal that Merut has made for you?
G.M.'s A:I like the ribs....but I also liked many of the other meals....such as tequila lime chicken and tempura chicken. (Really?!  The tempura chicken?  Ick.)

Q:How old is your oldest pair of underwear?
G.M.'s A: probably about the same as some of Merut's.....10+ years. (I'm sure I have no idea what he is talking about . . . )

19 December 2011

Kitchen Disaster #4: Fallen Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake

Some people lovingly call their angel food cake, "Fallen Angel Food Cake," as if to give the idea that this lovely piece of cake came down from heaven.  In my case, angel food cake plopped out of the pan like a piece of hell.

First of all, I'll just say I set myself up for failure.  Today is Gas Monkey's birthday, and I wanted to make him his favorite cake.  Could he be like a normal person and love a plain ol' chocolate or vanilla cake?  Of course not!  Here is how I've set myself up for failure.

  1. I cannot bake to save my life.  Meaning about 75% of my baked concoctions generally taste like crap and look even worse.
  2. It is Gas Monkey's birthday.  Of course I'm not going to get it right!
  3. Angel food cake is his favorite cake because his beloved grandma used to make it beautifully.  Lesson to wives out there: never try to imitate your husbands favorite dishes if he loves them because a. mom made them or b. grandma made them.  You will fail!
  4. Have you ever tried to make angel food cake?  It sucks and is hard.  
So be it.  I have attempted to make my dense, sticky cake look better by putting it in a lovely cake platter.  So, what do you think me chances are?  Will he be fooled?  I'll just play the newlywed card.  After all, anything a new wife pulls out of the oven is supposed to be burnt and taste like a seasoned turd right?


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