Friday, May 23, 2008

A Week With My Sister

Today we'll drive Ellen back to the airport and let her get on a plane and leave. It shouldn't be this hard. I wish we could keep her longer. What a wonderful week this has been, but you'll never make me believe it's already been five days since Monday.

Where did the time go? We ate. Oh, did we eat! And John, bless his heart, kept the dishes moving into the dishwasher, and all we had to do was keep it emptied for him. Here's an overview of our week.

The morning of Ellen's flight here, John and I ran into town for groceries and went to Papa John's for a pizza to bake that night. We got a pepperoni pizza with garlic sauce instead of marinara. That night, after picking Ellen up and reminiscing all the way home, we turned on the oven and proceeded to add ground beef, green olives, garlic, blue cheese, and pineapple to our pizza, then threw it in the oven. We ate in front of the TV while watching Dancing With the Stars. It was the final night of competition, and we knew who we wanted to win.

Tuesday morning was beautiful, and since there were thunderstorms predicted for later in the week, we decided to take a road trip to Cheyenne, Wyoming, about an hour North. We had blackberry pancakes for breakfast, and took off. The day was wonderful, with weather in the mid-80's. Ellen treated us to lunch in the old railroad depot and a trolley tour of Cheyenne. She didn't have to do that, but we all enjoyed it. It's a great tour, about two hours long, and the trolley driver really knew all the best history of the area. On our way home we stopped near the Wyoming border so I could replenish my stock of legal sparklers for our campfire nights. For dinner I made stuffed won ton and egg rolls, with fried rice.

After dinner we settled in front of the TV to watch the final competition of American Idol. We were conflicted about who we wanted to win until the judges pretty much said the younger guy was going to win. Then, for the first time all season, I grabbed the phone and voted — for the older singer. When that was finished, we switched over to watch the results show from Dancing with the Stars, and were thrilled when our favorite won. It was a good night, full of shared fun, and laughter, but we were both pretty tired and headed for bed when the show ended.

On Wednesday the weather was cloudy, but not rainy as originally predicted, so we thought it might be nice to take Ellen to see the Leanin' Tree and Celestial Seasonings museums in Boulder. That's just less than an hour away in the other direction from Cheyenne. I made my "American Dairy Tacos" for breakfast and we again headed out. We had a great time, but around one o'clock we started feeling hunger pangs. What to do? Well, I thought it might be nice to do things a little differently. How about heading to Culvert's for some real Frozen Custard, and then pick up our dinners "to go" from The Cracker Barrel. That way, we can eat whenever we want tonight without cooking. That's what we did, and it was a great plan. So many times I want to have dessert, but after a meal there's just no room. This way, although we didn't exactly get lunch, we did get dessert without ruining our dinner. Also, since we can't pick up dinner before four o'clock, we had time to stop at a book store before going to get our meals. Works for me.

We watched American Idol's results show that night, and were thrilled to find out that the older contestant had won. I'll forever believe that many people were disgusted with the judges for calling the race before the election, and had picked up their phones to call in the upset victory. We almost didn't get to see the very end, though because Idol's too big for their britches. They tend to run over, and we have that DVR recorder thing. So I don't watch commercials, and it looked like it was going to end before telling us who it was.

Thursday's excitement was almost more than we wanted, although we didn't realize it at the time. We started our day with homemade Raspberry/Blueberry Muffins and Bacon. Then Ellen and I settled in to watch a cooking show on TV while John napped. I looked out the windows and said to Ellen that we were going to have what I call an "event."

"Hurry!" It had been foggy all day, but I could hear from the sounds of the rain outside, and the low rumbling of thunder, that the storm was approaching. We rushed down the stairs and each grabbed a blanket. Going outside, we sat in chairs under the upper deck while the hail came down in front of us. We laughed and watched it bounce around as thunder rumbled. It was magnificent. We both like weather, as long as it isn't just the boring heat. John came looking for us, opened the door and pronounced us both nuts, then went back inside.

Later we found out that about 25 miles away in Windsor, where our insurance agent has her office, a tornado had touched down, doing massive damage. This wasn't your usual Colorado thin twister that just looks interesting in the sky above the flat lands. This was a mile wide and there was one death and millions in destruction. We made the national news and we later had phone calls from people I haven't heard from in a couple of years. We were safe, we kept repeating. Tornadoes don't set down in the foothills. They like the flat lands.

We watched the news, fielded calls, and put a tri-tip roast, carrots and potatoes into the oven, and after dinner we settled in to watch the season premier of So You Think You Can Dance. Actually, neither Ellen nor I think we can dance, but we had fun watching those who actually could, and those who simply thought they could.

So now, on this day of her departure, I am left with two questions. Why does she have to leave so soon, and when are you coming?

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