Downsizing our properties, finally

May 4th, 2019 by katy

Christmas tree at Condo in Arlington heights

Christmas tree at Condo in Arlington heights

As most of you know, me and the Boo moved here from the Chicago area. We had a very well thought out plan when we decided to purchase a Bed and Breakfast. It was by no means a rash decision. Having said that, when the opportunity to purchase our old girl in Gardiner arose we jumped on it. We didn’t put much thought at first into what we were going to do with our condo in Arlington Heights. Through all of 2016 it sat empty except for a few plants we left that a friend was nice enough to water for a while. I still have one of those plants, the rest passed away but this one was a trooper. It looks a bit rough now because I am not very good with plants, but I expect it to bounce back at some point.

We drove out to Chicago in November of 2016 with every intention of selling our place for a loss. We were not, however, prepared to hear exactly how much of a loss we would have to take and so we decided to fix it up and rent it out. We ended up with a very nice tenant for two years until the place was no longer under water so to speak. At that point we couldn’t keep our tenant (stupid by-laws) and we had to think about selling. It was on the market for about 2 months and this last Friday we finally officially sold it!

While I am happy that we no longer have our condo (which we never went back to after that November in 2016) I’m also a little sad. For a few reasons. I love Chicago. I always will. That was our last connection to that area, as neither of us has family there. (But we do have friends still there). When I married the Boo, I moved to Illinois from the Milwaukee area. That was in 2011. While that area has never been my “official” hometown, I came to view it as such. I never felt like I fit in where I grew up. I don’t go out of my way to find old classmates, and were it not for my family I would never go back to the Milwaukee area at all. I am not fond of taking strolls down memory lane. It’s nothing with Milwaukee I just think that where you’re born and raised isn’t necessarily where you are meant to be. (Having said all that, I am so happy to see the Bucks having a great season).

I remember when the Boo bought our condo. When we met he was living in Uptown near Wrigley Field (This, my friends, is why I thought the Boo was so cool in the first place). After dating for maybe a month or so he bought out in the suburbs to be closer to his job. I was the lucky sucker that got to help him move in high Summer. It was hot as hell, and as anyone from the mid-west knows it was NOT a dry heat. It was the first time I ever saw his crabby side. And he was a definite crab ass. But we got him moved and I was happy because I wouldn’t have to drive in the city anymore. As it happens while I love Chicago, I can do without all the traffic.

When we were dating we had a routine. Every other weekend I would go down to the AH to see him and every other weekend he would come up to Milwaukee to see me. I always had a day off midweek, so I would drive down there during the week as well. (I actually started to enjoy the drive, if only because I could listen to music uninterrupted for an hour or so).  Even before we were married I considered the AH my second home. Within roughly a year we were married and I moved in with my two cats.

Most of my memories of our condo and my time in the AH are good ones. We ate out all the damn time-something we do not do here. And we ate good. Even the bad food was good. Anyone in the general area of AH should at least try Wappaghettis pizza. So horrible, but so good. And I can never say enough about Lou Malnatis pizza. We still get pizza from there, almost always it is sent to us from my Auntie Pam. This is why we love her. One of the first places we ever ate at in the AH was a Greek syndicate called the Continental. It wasn’t actually owned by Greek people I’m just not sure what else to call this type of restaurant. But that is where we coined the phrase “mediocre at best.” And yet we ate there all the time. BTW folks, Arlington Heights has an outstanding downtown area. There are many great restaurants, including Salsa 17, which is one of my favorites. The downtown area also has a really nice theatre. We used to go there quite a bit. And they put on a terrifying version of a Christmas Carol if you can believe that.

As I was writing this and looking for a nice picture, I came across this pic. We used to do gimmick road rallyes. These were so much fun. And the guys who planned them out were geniuses.  We met at the parking lot of Woodfield mall and were given a set of directions. But there were gimmicks in them. So maybe a direction would be to turn left at the T in the road, but the instructions were very clear that in no circumstance were you to go any way but right. Or something like that. If you followed the directions word for word, you still got to where you were supposed to end up, but you would have taken an entirely different route and answered all the questions incorrectly. And thus, you would lose, as we did most times. One year they did an amazing race themed race that went all afternoon. We had to stop at specific locations and do goofy tasks. All in all not a bad way to spend a Friday night, or a Sunday afternoon. They also had races designed around Halloween decorations and Christmas decorations.

Trophies for road rallyes

Road rallye winners-ish

Three cats on a couch

Three cats on a couch and Leo with Hex vision.

Upon yet further reflection, and because I was looking through old photos, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our cat Picasso. As I stated earlier I brought two cats with me when me and the Boo married. Salvador lived long enough to make the move to Montana with us, but my other boy, Picasso died in 2013.  I had never lost anything more than a pocket pet before this, and to say I was devastated would be an understatement. We had to take him to the emergency vet at around 11:00 PM one night and we spent about two hours, and one phone call crying to my mom before we made the inevitable decision to put my boy to sleep. Since we moved out here we lost three of our four cats, all to old age. None was as hard as losing Picasso.  I took this picture of our three oldies a day or two after Picasso died. It will always be one of my favorites of them.

When we first moved here I actually thought it would be awesome to spend part of the year here and part of the year in the Chicago area. But after a while I started making friends (not an easy thing for me) and I discovered a community that I loved just enough to not want to leave. Plus we adopted Lou and and he would have nothing to do with living amongst too many people. So we never did pursue that route. And now we are just down to our old gal here in the 406. I hope that the guy who bought our place makes great memories of his own.  It’s a nice complex in a nice neighborhood.

As I reflect on all my memories from when we lived in Arlington Heights, and I think about the home we have now, one thought comes to mind:

Arlington Heights is where I found my happiness and Gardiner is where I found my home.

 

International Women’s Day

March 8th, 2019 by katy

As I was perusing the twitter feed of a certain indie rock band, I saw that it was International Women’s Day. And while they failed to mention Concrete Blonde on their strong women’s playlist, I will not. 😉 They happen to be probably my favorite female fronted band.  Having said all that, I thought I would take this opportunity to make a list of my own, of women I love and who have inspired me.

My niece would definitely have to top my list. Hands down. I love her. I’ve loved her and admired her from the second she was born. The first time I saw her smile, crawl, walk… whatever it was she was learning how to do, I found it amazing.  She is and always will be my favorite person in the world. (The Boo is quite aware that he comes in a very close second.-But my niece has had my heart since she took her first breath).  She has grown into such an intelligent and beautiful young woman, I have no doubt she is destined for great great things. Dare I say it, I could see her being president one day. (she is very politically active, and smart-if I haven’t mentioned that.)

On the topic of politics-which is controversial, and not at all what I intend this to be-I put Angela Merkel on my list of women I admire. I have no clue in reality what effect she has had on Germany. I don’t live there, so I won’t pretend to say she is good or bad either way, for that country. But she is a powerful woman. Some may have said, the most powerful woman in the world. I love that. I have, myself, no aspirations to hold any more power than I do(which is basiclly none), but I love that she is who she is. I love that she carries herself with integrity and self respect. Something we should all strive for, but many of us fall short at.

I will add Michelle Obama and Laura Bush into the mix here as well. Both women I highly admire. For vastly different reasons.

On a final note about politics, one women I greatly admire, who is actually a fictional character is Leslie Knope. I think she embodies the ideals and principles that I love. And that I would like to see real politicians embody. She is intelligent and carging and well aware that we all need a team to be who we are, and to get where we are going. She boosts people up. We need more of that in this world.

Moving away from politics (sort of) one of my favorite ladies in history, hands down, is Mary Queen of Scots. I base my opinion of her from one text and one text alone. That would be Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George.  I’ll admit this is a novel, however I believe it is based on solid research. Maybe some day I’ll do my own research, but until then, my opinion remains firm, I’m team Mary all the way. On a side note, Maragaret George  is, by far, one of the best female authors I know of. Sicker than cancer, and that is the truth.

In college I took a course on Poverty in the US. It was most definitely an eye opening class, and really highlighted, among other things, the contribution women have always made in regards to the social fabric of this country (and many other countries, I’m sure). The one woman that stood out to me was Dorothea Dix. I loved that she gave voice to the mentally ill. This is a topic very near to my heart.

So thats my little blog for the week. I hope it was entertaining. I for one was entertained for a while writing it.

My International Women’s Day playlist-on spotify no less. Yeah, I know what I’m doing.

 

Katy’s long awaited (not really) reading list

February 26th, 2019 by katy

So we are about three months into the off season. To say I am at all impressed with this lovely late arrival of Winter would be a lie. For having always (ALWAYS) lived in cold weather climates, I can truthfully say, I am so over the snow.  It’s about 58 degrees in London today. 58. That’s about 14ish for Celsius folk.  I won’t even mention that it was 70 in Phoenix. (Well, yes, I guess I will mention that). It is currently a brisk 2 here in Gardiner. (disclaimer-these were temps all gotten from the interwebs, if they aren’t accurate, oh well-it won’t change the fact that I am not even close to living in the warmest place on earth right now.) But, this blog was NOT intended to be about my distaste for cold-that would be a very long blog indeed. Because we are in the off season, I have a fair amount of time on my hands. Don’t get me wrong there will never be a shortage to the amount of stuff I could clean, fix or organize around this old house, but I’m also a procrastinator, so that stuff will get done when it gets done. I thought I would put out a reading list. Sort of like what Obama does, but really mine is way (WAY) less heavy hitting in subject matter. I’m not so much of a non fiction reader, so whats on my list is actually entertaining. And mostly fun.

 

First of all, my favorite book of all time is (and always will be) A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY. I love that book. When I was 19 I tried to move to Canada because of that book. Canada didn’t want me, btw, which left me with bad feelings towards our Northern neighbor for years. I have since gotten over it. I also (almost) became an Episcopalian because of that book. And while I found the Episcopal church in Greendale, WI to be very welcoming, I am not what you’d call a church goer. I’d reconsider if churches held their services at any time but in the morning. But I digress. I read OWEN MEANY about once every 3 years. I cry every time I read it. I am not a big fan of John Irving, but damn, he sure did hit it out of the park with this one.  So I HIGHLY recommend this book. To everyone.

 

I am currently working my way through a book list. I started this list at the beginning of 2018. I have read about 17 books on this list so far.  It’s actually pretty cool, it doesn’t assign specific books, but criteria instead. So, for example, I read ARE YOU THERE GOD IT’S ME MARAGARET for the “book from my childhood” category. I don’t necessarily recommend that book. Maybe to children or preteens. I could have used that book to fulfill the “Book I could read in a day” category, but I read Siddhartha for that. And I will state, it took me about a week to read it, but I could have read it in a day if I wanted. I am currently reading THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM OF NANTUCKET by Edgar Allen Poe. This probably makes me sound pretty darn smart.  LOL That book will fulfill the “book written over 100 years ago” category, and it sets me up for the next book I’ll be reading called PYM. Which relates back to the Edgar Allen Poe book.

List of books for a reading challange, 2018

2018 book list

This leads me to the 2nd book on my reading list. THE BROTHERS K by David James Duncan. I hadn’t even heard of this guy until I decided to read this book. It fulfills the “book I own, but never read” category. It is one of the Boo’s books. He hasn’t read it himself. (He will read it when he finishes “THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRE(A)Y) Anyway, I went into this book barely half heartedly. It’s fairly heavy with baseball talk, and because I hadn’t heard of the author, I didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, OMG, what an outstanding book. I laughed (a lot) I cried (a lot). I would have balled like a baby towards the end, but I was distracted by the Boo and Lou having an altercation over bedding. But I definitely recommend this book to anyone. And this author lives in Montana somewhere. That’s pretty cool.

 

My 3rd recommended book is actually a book of non-fiction. It’s called EMPTY MANSIONS and it’s about Huguette Clark and her many houses. As many of our guests might know, I love Butte. A lot. And Huguette Clark is the daughter of W.A. Clark, who built the Copper King mansion in Butte.  A house I have toured no less than 3 times. It’s my second favorite house, next to our old girl of course. Anyway, Huguette owned a lot of homes, that she never lived in, and an apartment (or two) in New York City that she did live in. She led a very interesting and odd life. And honestly, if the folks in Santa Barbara still don’t know what to do with Bellosguardo, I’d be more than happy to move in for a while.  If you read the book you will learn that Bellosguardo was her home in California that she never lived in. But for years the staff were supposed to always be “at the ready” for her to visit.

 

The 4th book on my list is COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett. I heard of this book from someone in my book club. And if I remember correctly she didn’t think it was as good as other Ann Patchett novels. I will be honest, I had never heard of Ann Patchett until this person mentioned this book. And I hadn’t really thought much about it, except that Overdrive (the ebook, audiobook extension of the library system) had it available as an audiobook. I tend to listen to books while I clean and hike. So I decided, what the hell. I fell in love. Both with this book and with Ann Patchett.  I will always associate this book with the Garnett Hill hike in the park, because I listened to it the whole 8 or 9 miles. I have since read RUN (LOVED IT!!), and I started PATRON SAINT OF LIARS, but my mind isn’t quite focused enough to listen to books right now, and the library will be taking that one back soon. I am pretty sure I won’t be able to renew right away. Sad for me for sure.

 

So there you have it. A small list of books I totally recommend.  And (for the record) a few books that I don’t. A trilogy actually. It’s the Discovery of Witches trilogy. I sort of liked the first one, but as I started getting through the second one, I was not enjoying it at all. But, unless a book is super horrible, I’ll finish it. But I mention Discovery of Witches, more for this reason. I was having a hard time checking the last book out from the library. I would put it on hold, but I couldn’t get out to Livingston within a week to pick it up. So I posted on the community page if anyone had this book I could borrow. Someone I didn’t even know had it on her Kindle and she lent her Kindle to me, and that was a very sweet thing to do.

 

Rewiring my Brain Through Gratitude (and other such nonsense)

February 8th, 2019 by katy

So, it’s been quite a while since I last updated this blog of mine. If I’m honest, I really do not have the most exciting of lives. Most recently, me and the Boo went on a whirlwind tour of the US. We (by we I mean him, I didn’t drive at all) drove to the 414, and than on to Holland, MI. Sorry, we only drove through my favorite city, but a part of my heart misses Chicago like mad. From Michigan we went on through several states to Las Vegas where we renewed our vows in front of Elvis.

Me and the Boo with Elvis

Viva Las Vegas!!

That was a blast.  I got to see my niece, who has and always will have a sizable piece of my heart. I got to eat at all of my (two) favorite MKE area restaurants.  An all-around damn fine trip.

 

Aside from that fun adventure my end of 2018 beginning of 2019 has consisted of me losing BOTH another dollhouse contest and a chili cook-off. I’d like to say I handled both like a pro(because I have tried to rewire my brain to think more positively), but the sad fact is, when I didn’t win the chili cook-off, I shot a VERY negative text to the Boo (who was at work) regarding both the other contestants as well as all the people present at this function.

 

In an effort to “rewire” my brain (as I mentioned above), I have decided this year that I was going to start journaling and writing 3 things I am grateful for every day. I used to journal quite often as a child/teen/young adult. I’ve kept every one of my journals. Occasionally I look through some of them. My initial response is almost always (forgive the French here) “The f*ck?” Needless to say I was a bit depressed as a child, and than a lot depressed as a teen/young adult.  Than I got over myself and found a sense of humor, and that seemed to be the end of my journalling.

 

Until now. My journal entries are far less depressing. In fact they are basically non-existent. As it happens, I find it more gratifying to just tell all my thoughts to the Boo than to actually write them down to no one.  It’s like our own private version of Tuesdays with Maury, and I will henceforth refer to it as Everyday Complaining with Katy. And frankly, once I have voiced my thoughts it seems redundant to then write them down. As well, the universe probably doesn’t need to hear my opinions more than once.  And I don’t really see the purpose of writing things down anymore. Whats going to happen to this stuff? In a hundred years is someone going to go to an archives somewhere and read about what a loon I was? Do I really want people to know my deepest and darkest feelings and thoughts? Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that journaling is not all that.

 

I am however really enjoying writing down things I am grateful for. And it certainly isn’t all that easy to do. After listing the big ones, (in no particular order, the Boo, Lou, Batsugi and Bastille) I started having trouble thinking up 3 things every day, that didn’t include any of the four just mentioned. I’m really a very simple person at my core, but my mind tends towards darker places. To focus on positives is just not a natural thing for me, but I’m always game for mind experiments. For this blog I looked back at some of what I have been grateful for. Some stuff is really silly. After binge watching Netflix one afternoon the TV show Friends made the list. Another day, I ate an entire bag of peanuts, and so peanuts made the list for that day. Some things seem silly, but they really aren’t. Concrete Blonde made a list one day. And for good reason. Their music always reminds me of two friends I had in high school. Neither of whom I talk to now, but both of whom I miss.

 

One day my brother made the list (even though the asshat won’t come visit us). But seriously what a great thing it is to have a sibling.  They are probably the most likely people to share the same common backround. Maybe this isn’t as true with siblings farther apart in age, but me and my brother are only two years difference, so basically we’re pretty much the same age. But how great it is when I am nostalgic about something that I can just text my brother and be like “OMG, remember this…” and he’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

 

They really do say that writing out gratitudes can rewire your brain in 21 days. I’m not sure who “they” are. This could (and probably is) a bunch of bunk. Around the end of January I asked people closest to me if they thought I was different than I was on January first. No one really gave me a definitive answer. The boo says I’m not as angry, but to be fair around the same time I started writing gratitude lists, I also stopped reading/watching the news and have essentially stopped looking at social media. So he couldn’t say what that was from. But I think it has made a difference. No, I’m never going to be a Pollyanna. But when I do visit my darker places, I now have over 100 (and growing everyday) reasons that I can physically see that remind me that I have a fair amount of light going on in my life. I have the Boo, I have my furbabies, and Bastille really is the best band ever. And yes, maybe I wasted an afternoon watching Friends on Netflix, but it was an afternoon I spent laughing, and how can that possibly be a bad thing?

To wrap up what I hope was a (sort of) inspiring post, I will leave pictures of my not award winning dollhouse. I admit, I didn’t expect it to win anything. The outside was not that great, but the inside was very cool. At least I thought so. This year’s kit is a smaller kit that they call the Serendipity Shed. I am going to take that and add onto it and make a recreation of the entire B and B. I’m sure it will be a disaster, but what the hell… go big or go home.

Miniature shrin to Lil' Sebastian

Miniature shrine to Lil’ Sebastian

Exterior of my dollhouse.

Note the green and gold at the very top.

Intrerior of my dollhouse side facing Interior of my dollhouse, facing back wall, and the cool tree bookcase Interior of my dollhouse. Front facing wall

 

Mini Pub update

December 19th, 2017 by katy

A while back (a long while back) I mentioned that I was making a mini British pub for a contest.  I received the kit in March and it is finally finished and submitted. I just wanted to share some of the pictures with you. I really liked how it turned out.

This is what the original kit looked like. It was a craftsman cabin. For the contest we had to use this kit.

This is a photo in progress, but it shows where I moved the door and window on one wall and created a new door and window on the other wall.

The front of the pub almost done.

This is the finished exterior of the pub. I didn’t have time to put a sign hanging from the corner, and I’m not sure how that would have looked. I made the flowers, and everything in this scene EXCEPT the phone booth.

The back wall and pool table. I made the pool table and the dart board. The pictures are all black and white photos of my pets (both past and present).

A picture of the pubs resident lush.

A view of the bar and my bartender Clizby (pronounced Clithby). I made all the food, the bar, most of the bottles and the Paddington bear doll. And the drapes.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. I’m crossing my fingers that I place somewhere in this contest.  But even if I don’t I had fun making it. I am waiting to hear what their next contest kit is. I already have an idea of what I want to do, but that all hinges on what the kit is.

 

Introducing our tasty to go lunches

June 15th, 2017 by katy

IMG_7035 IMG_7036

We are excited to announce that we have started offering to-go lunches. One of our sandwiches is a chicken salad made with grapes and walnuts. The other sandwich we are offering is a peanut butter, jelly and brie sandwich. Both are offered on our homemade bread, with homemade granola bars, Goldfish crackers, fruit and a drink.

The inspiration for the chicken salad was from a sandwich I used to get at a restaurant called the Chancery. People from the Millville area might remember the Chancery. We used to go there a lot when I was in high school, and they had a chicken salad on croissant sandwich that had grapes and walnuts. I was very sad when they took it off their menu. I think they are no longer around, but I always loved this sandwich, and our version is just as delicious! The granola bars are also delicious. The Boo makes those, and they will change in flavor depending on what the Boo makes. We hope our guests will enjoy them as well.

We also rent out bear spray for $5.00 dollars a day (with a $15.00 dollar maximum) for guests staying multiple nights. If you rent it out for more than three days we only charge for three. For people that fly here, its a good deal, as you can’t bring bear spray on a plane. Its also a money saver as bear spray is expensive. And bear spray should be a priority for anyone hiking in the park. Bears are definitely no joke.

I also want to use this blog to do some updating on our policies. I am never quite sure what people expect when they visit us as far as what housekeeping we do for multiple night stays. I know that I have been at B and B’s that never came into our room, not even to change out the garbage. Some came in every day and made the bed. Our policy here is to change out the garbage and replace the towels. If a guest wants turn down service, we are more than happy to do that. If a guest requests that we not replace towels, etc, we are fine with that also. We are pretty flexible either way.

Finally, I just want to reiterate our smoking policy. There is no smoking on the property. At all, anywhere. I never want to come across as a meany or a stickler, but this is one policy I will not budge on. For several reasons. One is that we are in a semi arid area. We don’t water our grass, and I personally do not want a fire. As well, we have no ash trays so there is no where to dispose of your butts.

That wraps up another one of my soon to be famous blog posts.

 

 

 

the blog with the 2nd shameless plug

May 6th, 2017 by katy

Fair warning before we get too far into this blog… it’s pretty senseless… it’s not about the inn or us or our fur babies or even about Gardiner-although all of these things rock…. it’s really about my love for music, and specifically my obsession with one group in particular. So if this sounds boring to you-and really I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be boring-stop now. For the rest of you… 

Music has always played an important role on my life. When I was a kid I remember listening to Barry Manilow and Luciano Pavarotti. If I had to trace back to the first song I actually remembered as a cognizant being it is probably Mandy-still a favorite. I also have memories of my mom listening to love songs with Rick Morales. Anyone who was around in the 80’s in Milwaukee knows what I’m talking about. I still love the song When I Need You by Leo Sayer. It says a lot about my character that I am absolutely NOT embarrassed to say I like ANYTHING by Leo Sayer. And on that note, Wildfire was and always will be in my top 5 songs of all time.

I remember the first album I ever owned-Men At Work. And spending hours-quite literally hours-watching MTV with my brother and a neighbor waiting for the video of Mr Roboto to play. Growing up in the 80s sure was a blast! 

 By my teenage years I was into the Smiths, the Cure and REM… I still love R.E.M… and I’m still waiting for the Concrete Blonde reunion tour. As a teenager it is so easy to see yourself in every song. Anyways, most of the music I listened to from my teenage years was depressing. And ya know that’s cool. I think teenage angst is great. At least for me, I have something to look back on and laugh at. 

By the time I was transitioning to adulthood, I was all over the place. I saw Michael Bolton in concert several times. We were in the second row for one of those. I had a friend who was absolutely obsessed with Michael Bolton.  Than there was my country faze (in the 90’s).  I saw Clint Black at the Wisconsin State Fair, and I still maintain it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And basically after that I listened to a lot of Italian rock. And no I don’t actually speak Italian, so who knows what any of those songs was about… well people that speak Italian do… I like to think they are singing about stuff so wonderful it can’t be put into words.

Now I basically just listen to stuff I’ve always listened to. I’m not really into new music. Shawn Mendez is ok, but seriously I have no clue what is popular.

I make an exception with Bastille.  I liked them since I first heard Pompeii. And having been a huge fan (one of the biggest) of Twin Peaks, how could I not love a group who names one of their songs Laura Palmer? Right? I remember as a teenager driving way out to this restaurant in Oak Creek and thinking “my god, we’re in a David Lynch film.” The restaurant was John Busslers, the food was good, and the company was my crazy friends.  And seriously, Oak Creek is not that far out.

In 2015 me and the Boo went to see Bastille at the Aragon ballroom in Chicago. And while I was a little unhappy with the lack (complete lack) of seating, I was blown away. I hadn’t been to a concert since…probably Michael Bolton…that’s sad really…

We have all their albums and EP… even the one that they have floating out there for free… 

So fast forward to last week. We went to see them in Bozo… now I consider myself a one off kind of person… I rarely go to the same place twice on vacation-Memphis is the exception here, as is Yellowstone, although really I didn’t vacation here twice. We vacationed here once and than moved out here. And there’s those two Michael Bolton concerts… but honestly, what were the chances that Bastille would be playing in Bozo and we’d be living here. They’ve been to Chicago a few times, but that’s not a surprise. Maybe I’m not giving Bozo enough credit, Sir Elton John played there a few months ago, and I’m pretty sure me and the Boo were the only people left in Gardiner that night. Basically, that I have been to see them twice is a big deal for me. And it’s cool that I saw them in the two places I consider home. 

bastille2 bastille3So, this is kind of abastille1 shameless plug. But I don’t always have inn related things to talk about. And I think it’s ok to plug something your passionate about… remember my Victory Taco blog? I’m very passionate about tacos… but-I never did go back there after that first time. Like I said I’m a one off kind of person… 

A thought about hobbies

April 12th, 2017 by katy

So, I find a common theme among my fellow innkeepers. They all seem to have crafty hobbies. I sometimes look at other innkeepers’ blogs, and it makes me feel wholly inadequate. While some of these folks are doing wood working, or glass blowing, or soap making, I’m over here like, “Hey, time to binge watch Parks and Rec or Brothers and Sisters! Woot Woot!!”  We will be staying at a B and B where the innkeeper is a tea master. A certified tea master. I’m actually super excited about that.

I will be honest, I can make soap. I have, in fact, made soap. Have I made it a money making scheme? No.  And it’s not that much fun to make in any case. I also do cross stitching, which is a great hobby to have, as I can work on my projects while I binge watch CSI. As a side note, for any of you that have visited, I have one of my cross stitch projects hanging by the coffee service. It’s a cross stitch rendering of Lincolns home in Springfield. It also happens to be the only cross stitch project I have actually finished. When me and the Boo got married one of my coworkers made us a beautiful cross stitch. It took her about a month at the most. And it really is beautiful, with flowers and metallics. Yeah, if I had made that for myself, I’d still be working on it. And this year is our 6 year anniversary.

I also got into sewing a few years ago. I even sewed myself two dresses. And a pair of jammy pants. And I sewed my husband a pair of jammy pants. Than the novelty of sewing was gone, and I haven’t sewn since. But if the spirit moves me, I have fabric to make a pant and jacket outfit. It looks like it would be gorgeous, and maybe I can find someone around here who can just sew it for me.

But now, I feel like I have found a respectable hobby that I can stack up against something like making award winning pies(something I think I could also do). I am making a dollhouse!! To be more specific I am making an English Pub in miniature. I have a friend who started a miniatures club a few weeks back, and I just love it.  I am going to be entering my mini pub in a contest. For now, here are some pictures of where I am at:

 

Dollhouse original look

Original doll house

Modified dollhouse

Modified dollhouse

Wood floor-in progress

Wood floor-in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be posting updates periodically with pictures on Facebook. But I do expect to win this contest. Plus I am having fun, and really that is what matters most.  If you look close at the pictures, you can see Leo. That seems to be another theme with my innkeeper cohorts. Pets that act as greeters. Well, if people ask they can pet Leo. Our other two cats would just as soon spit in your face, as would Lou our super sweet, super cool dog.  So, while they won’t be greeting you with a smile, rest assured me and the Boo.

Introducing…

February 19th, 2017 by katy

…Lou!!

So, pretty much every Friday we head into Livingston to do our grocery shopping. And eat lunch. Now, this blog has nothing to do with food. Having said that, I highly recommend Homemade Kitchen. Super yummy food.

This last Friday we did our grocery shopping, and than we ate at Homemade Kitchen. Again, super delicious. Enough about food. While we were leaving there I asked the Boo if we could go to Stafford Animal Shelter. I’ll tell you why. They had a dog on their website who I could have sworn we had looked at several weeks ago. I had to check out the situation. Really for my own curiosity. But let me go back a little.

We have been wanting a dog for months. But honestly, I am queen worrier. To say I did my research on dogs is an understatement. First we were considering a shelter dog. Our first visit to Stafford was relatively unsuccessful-although I will come back to this. Than I decided, no we should get a purebred Great Dane. From a breeder. I do love Great Danes. But they can get bloat, and wobblers so not so sure about giant breeds. Than there was how a dog would be living with the cats. How would they deal with it. I personally don’t want to live in a war zone. Than I worried about barking. Since we have guests… So we sort of put getting a dog on the back burner.

So back to Lou… A few weeks ago me and the Boo went to Stafford. I was interested in this pit bull/mastiff mix. We also saw a VERY scared vizsla. Very scared. We looked at him for a while. I won’t go into details, but we left without anyone. Fast forward to a few days ago. And Stafford has a Vizsla listed. I was certain it was the same dog. It was. And now he is our baby. He was still very scared, and has had a rough time of it. He had been adopted out and brought back. By crummy people I can only assume.

I feel like after only three days I could write a book about this boy. The cats are getting OK with him. And what touches my heart the most is how much he seems to enjoy sleeping on our bed. I don’t know his past. I think it was kind of crappy.  But he is our baby now, and with that come quite a few perks. One of which is sharing the bed. And hugs. And walks. And encouragement.

The first night we had him I thought to myself, this little guy had no idea that morning that he wouldn’t have to sleep on a hard floor. That he didn’t have to be in a place that scared him and made him unhappy. It makes me cry thinking that he probably doesn’t yet get that he is home. And that we are his pack. But he is and we are.

On his way to his furever home

On his way to his furever home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

January 16th, 2017 by katy

We hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years. We had a great time. We made snacks for our guests and we spent the evening with friends. All in all a good time. We got home right before midnight, just in time to watch the repeat of New York’s New Years Eve. I honestly always thought they reset the ball in New York to drop special for all 4 time zones. Clearly that is not the case. In my defense the last 5 New Years I have lived near a city large enough to have their own televised celebration. And honestly I missed watching the news crew from Chicago’s ABC affiliate-especially Hosea Sanders. Yes folks we really know how to live it up on New Years. LOL

I hope people are sticking to their resolutions if they made any. Mine was to stop watching the news, and to say yes to doing more things. I’m more of a homebody. So far, I think I am doing great on both of these. I have no clue what is going on in this great big world of ours. And that’s great. The less time I spend fretting over things in this world I can’t control, the more time I can spend making my little corner better.

For 2017 we are hoping to add a few new things. One that I am very excited about is we would like to start offering box lunches. I am busy trying to perfect my sourdough recipe, and I already have a great multi grain bread recipe lined up. I will keep you all posted when I get that rolling, hopefully sometime in February or March.

We are also looking to diversify our to go breakfasts. And adding new not to go breakfasts and bakery items. One item I made and absolutely loved was cannoli stuffed french toast, topped with nutella. I served that over Thanksgiving and believe it is a keeper.

With that I wish you all a healthy and happy 2017. If you aren’t where you want to be, make 2017 a year to plan a change, or make a change. If you are where you want to be, make 2017 a year to make your corner of the world better, and to be thankful for what you have.

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