It's my favorite restaurant and I don't even like cheesecake. If I had to eat at the same place everyday for the rest of my life, it would be at The Cheesecake Factory. There are pages and pages of menu and you can find almost any kind of food you like. Of course, I almost always have the same thing.....Grilled Fish Tacos! But sometimes I deviate and order the Kobe burger, the Factory burger, the roasted chicken, the enchilada, or a pasta dish. John took me today for my birthday. (It's not my birthday till Thursday, but I have a date with the dentist that afternoon.) We shared Sweet Tamale Corn Cakes and John had Cajun Jambalaya Pasta. Yummo! Thanks for taking me, Sweetie!
two of our favorite people. We got a chance to visit them at their cabin in Carbonado while we're here in Washington. Mary fixed some delicious turkey stew for lunch and we had a rousing game of dominoes afterward. We first met Mary when she became our massage therapist several years ago. (And there is none better! If you live in eastern Pierce County or southern King County and need a good massage I'd be happy to give you her phone number, just send me an e-mail.) We became good friends and have even vacationed with them on Lake Powell. Mary showed me her newest hobby (and financial endeavor), making hats! They are beautiful and so soft! I picked out a gorgeous purple one for myself.
Thanks Mary and Jerry for a great day, can't wait to see you again when you come to Montana!
Happy Birthday to my sister, Susan! Her birthday was the 28th and we all met for dinner at Anthony's Homeport in Olympia. We had a great dinner and also exchanged our Christmas gifts as John and I were not here in Washington on the 25th. My nephew, David (son of my other sister) was also here from California and it was great to see him, although we missed seeing his girls who were visiting other relatives in Seattle. Here's the clan...David and Susan...Fred, Corki, and David...John and Cindy :)
We visited with Wendy and the boys for a bit on Thursday. It's amazing how fast they grow and change. Trevor and Zachary opened the comforters we got them to go with the beds and sheets we got them for Christmas...Spiderman for Trevor and SpongeBob for Zachary. Jacob is 6 months old and sitting up on his own now. He is tucking those little knees up under his legs and it looks like he's getting ready to try crawling.
Friday we took Trevor to the movies to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks", cute movie!
We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We spent a quiet day at home with a simple pot roast dinner. Tomorrow morning we'll be leaving for Washington to visit family and friends over New Years. We were invited to friends for Christmas Eve and had a wonderful time. Paul (as in Paul the Builder) and Kathy Beaumont hosted us, Diane (their daughter), Louie and Julia (Kathy's parents), and Rob and Nancy (you've met Louie and Rob before when we've been pouring concrete :) Kathy fixed a yummy prime rib dinner, including homemade french bread which was awesome. Thanks, Kathy! After dinner we played Mexican Train. If you've never played this game, you need to learn. It's a fun group game that has a tiny bit of strategy, but doesn't require oodles of brain cells, so it's easy to visit and play at the same time :)
Thanks again Paul and Kathy! We had a great time and it was good to be among friends for Christmas...
A lot has happened since I last shared the house. I finally finished staining those posts, beams, and the molding that will edge them (1/4" quarter round). John has been working hard at getting all the electrical work finished. Most of the outlets and switches are in and almost all the light fixtures, including the trim on the 56 recessed cans :) We haven't done the pendant lights over the kitchen island or the dining room light yet as we didn't want them to be in the way of the counter top installation. John can't do those by himself as I need to supervise at what height they should hang :) Here's the lights in my studio, the guest bath, the powder room, and the master bath (except the pendants still to installed over the tub). Notice, too, that the vanities have been put in! I am really happy with the cherry wood and Autumn Maple stain with the colors we chose! And note that tile floor in the master bath...it's not grouted yet, but it's being warmed by the heating mat underneath....LOVE THAT! The heating mat has been installed in my studio, too...but no tile yet.
John got the outdoor lights in and he and Paul got the rest of the lights up in the garage. It was a two man job as they are so long.
And speaking of tile...here's what we have so far in the master bath. There have been a couple of issues with the tile, so Matt could only get so far. They sent the wrong sized bull nose tile for the edges and it had to be reordered, we just recently got that. The tile for the shower pan and for my studio floor was supposed to be here a week ago. I called yesterday and they called Daltile to find out why it wasn't here yet. Daltile records show that it was delivered to the warehouse in Kalispell last week right on schedule. Neither the salesman or the warehouse people recalled it coming in and they searched for it. Nothing. He called me back and said he'd found it. So I said, "So where is it?" and the reply was..."Well, it's in the warehouse now". Turns out it had been ordered and delivered in the name of "Meadow Creek Homes" instead of "Brooks" and they hadn't connected it with the fact that it belonged to us.
The most exciting thing so far......the kitchen counter tops! Love, love, love them! You may remember the whole sad story regarding choosing counter tops (posted under Mountain Dreams, September 25th). We finally found a wonderful company to work with, they are in and I love them (did I say that already?) With the choice of quartz, they are the single most expensive item in the house and worth every penny! The piece for the island was too heavy for two guys, so they had to call the other installers from their store over from the other job they were doing in Eureka to help with that one.
They had pre-drilled all the holes for faucets, etc at the shop to within a hair of coming through the quartz. James, the installer, asked me to verify that there was the proper number and that they were all in the right place before he took a hammer them and knocked out the holes. James installed the under-mount sinks and the plumber came in later and put in the faucets. The black button you see to the left of the faucet over the double sink is an air button that controls the garbage disposal. We didn't want a switch on the side of the island or under the sink. The sprayer still needs to be installed.
Our fireplace is done and we love it. Paul and John cut and sanded the mantle and I stained it. This was Paul's first time using ledgestone (he usually uses round stream stone), so he was not sleeping at night figuring out how this was going to go together. John cut the stones, Paul stacked and mortared them, and I sat 10 feet back supervising to make sure it all looked good. We are very happy with the results and can't wait to sit on the hearth in front of the fire. This first photo was checking the hearthstones and deciding exactly where they should be placed.
John put some of the extra wood flooring in the storage room (after another construction lesson from Paul). We'd planned to just use stick-on vinyl squares, but all the ones we could find were ugly. Can't they just make simple stuff anymore? All I wanted was a simple black and cream checkerboard floor. Nope, I could have stuff that looked like bad fake marble or granite, but nothing just a plain color. Anyway, between the two of us it's been finished and we have a nice wood floor to store our stuff on :)
Matt has been working hard on the stair posts, trim, and doors as his Dad finishes them and brings things in. He started finishing the wood floors this week. We really love the way things are shaping up! Iron railings for around the top of the stairs have been ordered from a fabricator in Kalispell.
Paul and John are taking care of the little details...Christmas light outlets, garage lights, pantry shelving, etc...
Don't let them fool you there in the garage...they were not working, they were reviewing Friday night's poker game....more to come!
I won before and I want to win again. Click on over to Jody's blog and check out her "Scrap Bribe" of the month.....really cool prize, especially if you are a scrapbooker :)
Be sure to tell her that I sent you and we'll both get an entry in the prize drawing. Click HERE to get to her bribe.
While you're at it...check her recent posts. It's interesting to hear about the presidential campaign(s) from an Iowan. Having lived in a state where the primary really didn't make an impact (Washington), it's interesting to hear what goes on where it does. And now here we are in Montana where the vote isn't till the first week of June and there aren't enough people here to even make a whimper (well, that's one of the things we like about it here :)
We've made a lot of progress this week at Mountain Dreams, especially today. I have photos to share and will do so in a day or two. Somewhere in the next couple of days I need to concentrate on wrapping and mailing presents! For now, I am tired and need to figure out how to get a mixture of mineral spirits and polyurethane out of my hair :) Later!
So...I made it to Libby yesterday morning in 1 hour and 45 minutes, not too bad considering the weather. I signed in with the Clerk of the Court (see post below!) and went to the jury room to wait with the others who'd been called for duty. One woman was called and excused before we ever made it to the court room. She was the wife of the arresting officer who would be testifying in the case. Gotta love rural living! I think everyone there (except me, I was probably the newest county resident) knew at least one other person. As we were questioned as potential jurors for the criminal case before the court, it became apparent that many of the group knew someone involved in some way in the trial...the defense attorney, the prosecutor, the judge, the defendant himself, the victim..they were golfing buddies, neighbors, church goers, school mates, or had been involved in some previous judicial dealing with them. The alleged crime had taken place in Libby and it seemed that those of us who didn't know any of these people were all from the Eureka area or the West Kootenai. The juror questioning was done and the jurors selected just before noon. I was not selected, yeah me! I had raised my hand in response to a question. Seems like most of those selected were the ones who'd not said a word in response to anything asked. Great timing...I was excused to go home just in time for lunch :) After salad and a couple pizza slices at Pizza Hut I headed back up the lake to Eureka and was home just before 2:00 pm. So, I didn't make it by noon as I'd previously hoped, but it was close. I am now off the hook for jury duty until at least the end of July when the next pool is called. In this county once you're called in during the "jury cycle" you're done till the next one :)
Well, I made the call to Lincoln County after 5:30 pm as directed and the answer was..."Yes"...I have to report to the courthouse at 9:00 am tomorrow for what is anticipated to be 4 days of jury duty. Geez, do you think they could have timed it any worse? So, while we are hoping to get things wrapped up at the house so we can move in (not to mention all the phone calls, foot work, and paper work in anticipation of a mortgage and insurance) I will be sitting in Libby. Which by the way happens to be a 65 mile drive...one-way...in the snow and ice! If there is any mercy they will decide to settle this thing tomorrow morning before things get under way and I'll be home by noon :)
I'm guessing that's what they call me at the local Starbucks (if you can call 70 miles away "local"). You see, I MUST have my Mocha Powder to make my daily mocha at home. It MUST be Starbucks Mocha Powder. I had a rough time of it during the time they decided to not sell it as a retail item. The withdrawal was extreme! I pestered every store manager I encountered for almost 12 months. I e-mailed Starbucks relentlessly asking them to return it to the shelves. One manager told me that he was told they'd quit selling it in the cans because their supplier was having a difficult time producing enough for the stores themselves. I started using Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Truffle powder...it was okay, but just not the same. Last Christmas I received the unbelievable...a contraband 7 lb.bag of Mocha Powder pilfered from a store that shall remain unnamed by a friend who knew the manager. Sweet mocha relief! Then...last February during a stop at the Starbucks in the Fred Meyer in Idaho Falls I saw it! A can of Mocha Powder in new packaging! I asked the barista about it as I quickly schlepped it over to the cash register. He knew nothing. I kept my eyes open. I kept e-mailing Starbucks. Apparently I was not the only one. It is now back on the shelves, but still not always available. Last spring I was seen at the Liberty Lake, WA store buying 16 cans...all they had. That's about a 4 month supply for me and it was like finding a pot of gold. The Starbucks in Kalispell opened last winter. I started asking them about Mocha Powder. They knew nothing. They'd never received any in their deliveries. I e-mailed Starbucks asking why Kalispell never got Mocha Powder. They called the manager and told her to put it on her order. I asked again at the store dropping names given me by the customer service people. I got to know the woman who does the ordering and she tried to get it for me. About 6 weeks ago....there it was on the shelf. I still had some in my stash at the time, but it was starting to get low. Last week I asked and they didn't have any. Today I went in and started looking around. Someone who doesn't know me asked if she could help me find something. I said, "Mocha Powder" and immediately the other girl came flying around the corner from the back and said, "I KNEW it was YOU!" She went to the back and brought out some more. She offered me all 24 cans :) I bought 12....but in about 8 weeks, the Mocha Powder Pest will be looking to replenish :)
The stone for the fireplace has arrived and is ready for Paul to do his magic. John and I won't be helping on this project. Paul has never used the stone we picked, so this will be a first for him. When he picked it up they told him the same stone was used at the new Hutton Ranch complex in Kalispell (a big shopping center with a 14-screen theatre, restaurants, stores, etc.). They commented that the mason that did the Glacier Quilts building did an outstanding job, better than the others. So tomorrow I'll be taking some photos of the good and not-so-good as examples of how it goes together. It's a stacked ledge stone.
I have been busy staining the mantle for the fireplace and the posts and beams in the house. We are really happy with the way they are turning out...very woodsy and lodge-like which was our intent :)
Other Mountain Dreams progress:
Tomorrow we are headed to the Flathead for assorted house business and shopping and will be back at the house over the weekend to keep at it!
This is today...ok, so we knew the snow doesn't pile up all winter in the Tobacco Valley, but we were surprised when the wind went from cold to almost tropical and here's the result! So for those of you that think there's too much snow to visit in the winter....think again!! It's all in the timing :)
Remember my post introducing you to Jody, the Iowa Geek??? I won her contest and will now be receiving a year's subscription to Iowa Magazine! Thanks to any and all of you that visited Jody's site earning me extra entries in the drawing. I know you'll enjoy reading her blog, too.
It's been snowing lightly now for almost 24 hours and it is starting to pile up. We decided this would be a great opportunity to drive up to our house to take some snow photos for our Christmas card! Quite a change from the one we did last year sitting in the sand on Papohaku Beach on Molokai'! After taking a few shots with the snow covered trees in the background we blazed a trail over to our neighbors and I took some photos of their home in the snow to send to them (They live in Everett, WA). We did a little Christmas decorating with the wreath we bought in Trego yesterday (It was Bazaar Day in the Tobacco Valley and it was a big thing!) That will probably be about the full extent of our decorating for this year :) John put new traction tires on the Beetle last month and we were happy with the way they drove in the snow. We had no problem getting up the hill that is our driveway :) Note however how the Beetle was plowing through the snow, the front grill is plastered! It may be time for John to seriously consider what sort of snow plow machine he wants :) We are looking forward to waking up to snow and that beautiful light it reflects into the house and being able to sit in front of a roaring fire with our hot mochas in hand....just about 3 more weeks! I'm going to start packing things up later this week. I may have lost 4 days of packing/working time....I was called for jury duty in Libby beginning December 11th, what timing!
That's right....it was a CHRISTMAS tree lighting, as in celebrating the birth of Christ. It was not a "holiday" tree and a local pastor said a public prayer in a public park. Hallelujah and Amen, the ACLU has not yet hijacked Christmas in Eureka! There was a little parade downtown with Santa bringing up the rear and planting himself in the park near the tree to visit with all the kids (note that this particular Santa Montana has a real beard :)....and there was a lot of them. There was a big bonfire to keep us warm, (it was about 10 degrees), live music...yes, with Christmas carols...and I heard there were hot dogs and cocoa somewhere, but I didn't look for them. The Riverwalk was lit up with luminaries. For a donation to ALERT you could decorate a luminary and have it set up along the walk which runs along the Tobacco River out of Historic Village park. It was so pretty with the light dusting of snow we'd had since the previous Monday. ALERT is the acronym for Air Lift Emergency Response Team...they fly helicopters out of Kalispell for medical emergencies when a 65-mile ambulance ride would be too slow. It is an important medical lifeline for a rural area like this! It was a great evening. It's things like this that make us happy to be living in a small community of wonderful people!