It’s Getting Fun Now

Denver is a fickle sports town.

Nope, that’s not exactly accurate. The truth of the matter is that Denver is a Broncos’ town. Though it’s much more fun to support a winning team, fans mostly don’t give up on the Broncos no matter what. Even when the chances are as slim as the new computers, there will be discussions on sports radio about what sorts of things need to happen for the Broncos to be in the playoffs — you know, the moon needs to align with Venus in the seventh house and Von needs to play a perfect game and if Brady has the stomach flu, we can still make it to the playoffs.

Until they simply can’t come up with any scenarios (and Brady doesn’t toss his flourless spinach cookies). Then they’ll call it quits. Wait until next year.

But I will tell you that the sports people now are talking about the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado’s basketball team and its hockey team are both in the second rounds of the national playoffs. Since they share an arena, I don’t exactly know how that works. It must involve calculus.

My son Court is a basketball fan, and has been from the time he was a young kid. My experience is that kids tend to be drawn to the sport that their dads like. I’m not sure Court’s dad was a particular Nuggets fan, but I do know that he loved Court enough that he got season tickets at least for one season. Court mostly learned to love basketball from his Uncle Leroy, who taught both his son B.J. and his godson Court to love the game. That was back when the logo looked like this…..

And Court has tried to teach his kids to love the game as well. A couple of years ago, he bought Cole a throwback jersey for one of Court’s favorite Nuggets, Chauncey Billups…..

Alas, despite the fact that he has the jersey, Cole shows no propensity for the game of basketball. The child of Court’s who seems to be most interested in the game, surprisingly, is Kaiya. But then she loves just about anything that Court loves.

A few years ago, Court told me he took her to a game. She had a wonderful time. Court told me she would look at his face, and if he looked happy, then she would cheer. That story made me smile.

A number of times I have asked Kaiya what she likes to do during recess. Jump rope? Play on the swings? Nope. She plays basketball with the boys. I didn’t take her too seriously until last Thanksgiving when the grandkids were all playing outside. I went to get something at the store, and I pulled up to the house just in time to see Kaiya sink a ball, nothing but net.

This is not to say that Kaiya will play basketball or even that she will be a forever fan. But I asked her yesterday if she’s been watching the playoffs with her daddy. Yep, she replied. I asked her about her favorite player. Without hesitation, she said Jokic.

Her dad would probably say the same thing.

Go Nuggets. Go Avalanche.

 

The Hole Picture

Yesterday I didn’t feel good. Nothing serious, I’m happy to say. But I didn’t make it out of bed most of the day. So I am presenting to you an oldie but goodie.

I recently read an article someone had posted on Facebook about the so-called Best Doughnuts in the city in which the person lived. Being the daughter and the sister of men who have made literally thousands and thousands of doughnuts between the two of them – and a doughnut-lover of the first degree myself – I was very interested to see just what sorts of doughnuts made the top 10 list.

After about the third doughnut on the list that purported to be a “healthier alternative” by being baked rather than fried, I abandoned ship. Donuts aren’t baked. Donuts are fried. Doughnuts, my friends, are not meant to be healthy. You want healthy, have a whole-grain bagel or a smoothie made with spinach and acai. My dad was rolling in his grave.

When we were in Italy back in 2008, we spent two weeks living in an apartment in Rome. Right across the street was a restaurant that opened in the morning and served food all day. Italians aren’t much for breakfast. They might have a doppio espresso or a cappuccino and something sweet if they have anything. Bill – a true-blue doughnut lover himself – had read that the Italian word for doughnut was bomboloni. So he walked into the restaurant the first morning, pointed to the doughnuts sitting on the counter, and confidently asked for two bomboloni.  The man working the counter literally laughed out loud.

“No bomboloni,” he said, still snickering. “Ciambelle.”

Whatevah, Bill thought.

But having grown up around doughnuts, I knew why the man laughed. Bomboloni are filled doughnuts, what we might call bismarks. Ciambelle are the doughnuts with which many of us are most familiar – round with a hole in the middle, generally covered in glaze. It would be like going into a doughnut shop, pointing to a glazed doughnut and asking for one of those bismarks. A subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless. Those particular doughnuts – or ciambelle – were thickly covered in granulated sugar and sat on top of about a half-inch of additional sugar. They were delicious. I had one daily for the whole time we were in Rome. Bill would wash his hands after eating one. I licked my fingers. I wish I had one right now.

And they were fried, not baked. Because doughnuts are fried, no matter what country.

My brother, who has been in a bakery nearly every day of his life and KNOWS HIS DOUGHNUTS, told me this when I asked him what, in his opinion, constitutes a good doughnut: When I am testing doughnuts, I eat them with no glaze and cooled off. Because as dad said, you can put glaze on a hot pile of s**t and it would taste good. Not greasy and light is good.

Dave’s aforementioned quote from my dad is straight from the horse’s mouth, of course, curse word and all. My dad had a way with words. But it is how he justified people’s love for Krispie Kreme doughnuts. As you can tell, he wasn’t a Krispie Kreme fan, nor is my brother. I tend to agree. They’re good when they’re hot. When they’re cool, they’re ordinary.

By the way, we Gloors are all rather an opinionated bunch when it comes to bakery items, and to baking itself. One of my pet peeves when watching cooking shows is when the cheerful chef tells the viewer to put your cake in the oven and COOK IT for 40 minutes. Every time I hear that – EVERY SINGLE TIME – I say through gritted teeth, “Bake it, not cook it.” But I recently was with my brother when someone talked about cooking something in the oven, and I was pleased when I heard him say, “Bake in the oven, not cook.” There’s right and wrong, people.

But I digress.

I wrote a blog post not that long ago about doughnuts, because apparently I’m obsessed with them. Fried doughnuts, not baked. It was after I visited Voodoo Doughnuts, a doughnut shop that originated in the northwest and has since expanded to other states. Its popularity isn’t based on the doughnuts being inexpensive, as they ran in the neighborhood of $15 a dozen.

But even though in my opinion doughnuts are not supposed to look like this…..

….at least they were fried. See above. Have I mentioned that doughnuts are not health food?

One last thing I learned from my brother yesterday about doughnuts: one sign of a good doughnut apparently is if it has a clear skunkline. What is that, you may ask? I myself didn’t know until yesterday. The skunkline is the white line that goes around a nicely fried doughnut. Here are examples of doughnuts perfectly fried by my brother……

Having wasted over 800 words on the topic of doughnuts, I will leave you with this so that you can know that our love for doughnuts runs in our family, as Dagny demonstrates…..

 

This post linked to the GRAND Social

 

And We’re Off

Bill and I pulled into our Denver driveway late Friday afternoon. We spent the next few hours unloading the car, unpacking our suitcases, and trying to figure out where we keep all of our things. My brain is losing power faster than Country House ran the Kentucky Derby. I can easily illustrate this point by telling you that I spent about three or four minutes unsuccessfully trying to get into our hotel room 340 using my key card. It took me this long to remember that our room number was 240. I’m only thankful that the occupants of room 340 weren’t there. Or perhaps they were huddling in the corner of the room shielding their children from the crazy stranger trying to enter.

Every year, my siblings pick a horse for the Kentucky Derby. We don’t bet, of course. We don’t even wear hats or drink mint juleps. We just pick a horse for which we can cheer. This year I chose War of Will. Though he didn’t win, at least he didn’t get caught in the drama.

I decided to pass that tradition along to some of my grandkids. I texted Dagny and suggested that she and Maggie Faith look at the field of horses, and choose a winner. If the horse she chose came in either in first, second, or third place, I told her I would give her (or Maggie) a $5 bill.

Maggie chose Gray Magician. As for Dagny, she selected Maximum Security. At the end of the race, while the owners of Maximum Security were still celebrating, I texted Dagny (whom I knew wasn’t watching the race) and told her she’d WON!

Awesome! she replied.

It wasn’t until later when she came to collect her winnings that I had to break the news to her that her horse had been disqualified. She, along with others who had lost a whole hell of a lot more money than Dagny, was pretty disgruntled. Unfair, she proclaimed.

With the Derby behind us, it’s just a matter of getting settled into our real life in Denver. Easier said than done because just like we immediately get swept into family celebrations when we arrive in AZ in late December, we begin celebrating here almost before our car doors are locked. After all, our youngest grandchild Cole’s birthday is May the 4th (be with you). He didn’t celebrate with Bill and me until yesterday, when he and his family came to our house for dinner. Birthday Boy gets to make the meal plan, and he chose (as he did last year) spaghetti and meatballs. Slurping tomato sauce-laden noodles helps get him in touch with his Cambodian roots…..

And, of course, what every 5-year-old kid needs is a Barbie birthday cake…..

Hey, it’s what he wanted. I like a boy who is comfortable in his own skin.

Happy birthday Cole. Sorry about betting all of your birthday money on Maximum Security!…..

Saturday Smile: Be It Ever So Humble

After what seemed like two months of driving (but was actually only three days), Bill and I pulled into our driveway yesterday afternoon. For the next two or three days, we will be looking in the wrong place for things, or trying to remember which way to turn to get to, well, just about anywhere. But we are glad to be back in Denver…..

Have a great weekend.

Thursday Thoughts

Nestled In
You might recall that I spent the first three or four weeks of our time in AZ without my computer. It had apparently been knocked around too much on the plane trip here, and the display didn’t work. After much ado, I was able to get it fixed. Let’s just say my computer did a lot more traveling this winter than I. But I am determined that it doesn’t get knocked around on the trip home. With the help of Amazon, it has a nice little sleeve in which to live while traveling…..

Cubism
I recently featured my granddaughter Kaiya’s self-portrait using Pablo Picasso’s cubism style…..

Her sister, who has the same art teacher, recently completed the same assignment. I will have to ask her about her use of color, especially on her face. But I’m so happy that she managed to capture the adorable gap she has between her front teeth, the gap that makes Mylee, well, Mylee…..

Cleaning Day
And speaking of Mylee, the other day I got a text message from her. It said Nana, guess what? I answered her: What? And before I knew it, I got this picture…..

He’s clean now, she excitedly texted me. It seems that her beloved MoMo got a much-needed laundering. It might not happen again until he and Mylee leave for college!

Grandkids Hugs
I’m actually going to be able to get hugs from ALL my grandkids within a week or so of arriving back in Denver. Heather is coming to Denver for a conference, and she is bringing both Joseph and Micah. Bill and I are very excited to see all our grandkids again. Oh, and our kids.

Ciao!

 

Nana on the Road

We bought our house in AZ in 2010, after Jen called us and said, “We’re nuts if we let this buyers’ market pass us by one more day. We need to go together and buy a house, like, NOW.

And so we did. At first, Bill and I would just come for a few weeks at a time in the fall and winter, traveling back and forth between our Denver home and our AZ home. Five or six years or so ago, we took the plunge and started spending most of the winter in AZ. We live here from Christmas day until the first week or so in May. Jen, of course, still works hard for her money, but comes when she is able to take time off of work.

This was the ninth winter that we were able to escape the cold and snow of Colorado. Some years the winters in Denver have been mild, but often there is a whole lot of cold and snow. This winter fell into the latter category. In the way that only a mother can do, our daughter-in-law Jll volunteered her kids as our designated snow shovelers. There was so much snow this winter in Colorado that I suspect the kids felt like they should move ito our house. I owe them BIG TIME.

And while all of this snow and cold and scraping and shoveling was happening in Denver, Bill and I — joined on a couple of occasions by Jen — have been having a grand old time in the desert. It’s a lot of fun to be able to spend time with my sister Bec and my brother Dave and their children and grandchildren. Being with our AZ family helps me to not miss our kids and grandkids quite so much.

As you read this blog post, Bill and I will be on the road or nearly so. This year we’re heading north to visit Antelope Canyon, AZ. We will then travel through Utah, turn right in Moab and head through the mountains to the green green grass of home.

This year we checked off some boxes. I was finally able to see the elusive wild horses…..

We saw our first real-life herd of javelinas, which are ugly-looking (and fairly mean-spirited) peccary, that look like wild boars but crabbier. I had to brake quickly for a herd that was crossing the road near my niece Maggie’s house.

In years past, we have had mockingbirds build nests in the tree that was in our front yard — the tree that gave Bill fits because all it did was create detritus that required never-ending cleaning. That tree, I’m happy to report, was cut down in the fall. I’m not sure what the mockingbirds thought, but we got our bird fix anyway. We have watched Mr. and Mrs. Cactus Wren build a nest in our back-yard palm tree…..

Not only that, but we have had a daily (sometimes twice-daily) visit from Mr. Roadrunner…..

Not a real photo.

We haven’t seen him for a while, but I gather that’s good news for the lizards we see and for the Cactus Wren eggs, because FOOD CHAIN.

What we do see daily and often are quails, those funny little birds that run across our back fence like they’re late for an important meeting. I guess they’re good to eat, but I couldn’t possibly shoot the adorable little things, even if we do live in the Wild Wild West and I owned a gun.

We ate poke and tamales and pho and pierogis and my favorite burgers EVER — Fuddruckers. We dined on the wonderful Italian subs from Guidos that require many napkins and a shower afterwards.

All in all, as usual, we had a wonderful time in the desert. But it will nice to be back in Denver, just in time to enjoy our beautiful back yard. Unless it snows again.

Our Bags Are Packed and We’re Ready to Go

Just like Peter, Paul, and Mary, our bags are packed and we’re ready to go. Except they’re not, and we’re not. I’m looking forward to returning to Denver and seeing our family there. But it’s Tuesday morning and I’m doing just about anything I can to avoid beginning the packing process. I hate to pack.

Bill — in his Bill-like way — has been like a busy little beaver, making boxes, filling boxes, taping boxes closed. I, on the other hand, am writing about Peter, Paul, and Mary songs. The trio is telling me my bags are packed and I’m ready to go, but it’s not true. And it’s also not the only time that Peter, Paul, and Mary have mislead me. Many years ago, my sister Bec and her husband accompanied Bill and me to a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert at a pretty outdoor concert venue in northern Virginia. The three of us were excited to listen to the trio sing the songs we enjoyed as we grew into adulthood. Bring on Puff the Magic Dragon! Finally, Peter and Paul came out to greet us. After the applause died down, they informed us that Mary was not there; in fact, Mary was very ill and in the hospital. Don’t worry, they told us eagerly. You will all sing Mary’s part! Furthermore, they added, let’s give her a call! Which, I might add, they proceeded to do. Mary couldn’t come to the phone because she was in the process of, well, dying. I know it’s a sad-but-true story. I would have liked to have seen the look on her face when the nurse informed her that Peter and Paul were on the phone and wanted her to say hi to her fans. Those two doofuses have driven me crazy my entire adult life and Puff the Magic Dragon was a stupid song and no matter what they say, it was too about drugs, she likely thought.

My having told you this story clearly illustrates just how much I don’t want to begin my packing.

I could have packed Sunday, but instead, I went to Maggie’s house where she gave Bill and me a going-away party. I’m not one to miss a good party, particularly when I’m the guest of honor. I could have packed yesterday, but I’m in the middle of a really good book, and I had to figure out who to vote for on The Voice. 

But seriously, we do have a lot of stuff to cram into today. Bill has a dentist appointment. We have an appointment with Hyundai to get our car ready for the trip. The pest control people will pay us a visit. It’s all enough to make me not want to pack.

In the time between when we drive away from the nearly 100 degree temperatures we have been experiencing in the past week or so into our Denver driveway, it’s supposed to snow. In Denver, not here. I just hope it gets it out of its system for good.

Maybe I can kill a little bit of time this afternoon looking at weather patterns in the United States over the next month.