Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving and Snowshoeing

Mom and I had a really nice Thanksgiving Day at the Mannings. We had a great dinner together at about 1 p.m., with Patsy, Jerry, Michael, Megan, Maria, Keith, Trent, Mitchell, Scott, Jen, and Zoe. It was fun to visit and catch up on news. Then we went over to a park and had a great game of touch football. Maria's boys are old enough now that they can really play - and they sure tired Jerry and me out!

Then today (Friday) we went up to Rocky Mountain park for some snowshoeing. We got to the Bear lake parking lot and there wasn't very much snow. Then we saw some folks coming back carrying snowshoes and they told us they had just been up the Flattop Mountain trail, which is where we planned to go. They said the snow for the first 1/2 mile wasn't very good, but then it got better. So, off we went, and it turned out to be really nice. The higher we got the better it was and hardly any people. Where we hiked to was the Dream Lake Overlook which is above where we hiked last year, looking down over Dream Lake. With Long's Peak in the background, it was really beautiful.

Then we went down to Estes Park and did a bit of shopping for the Jeopardy prizes. There were people everywhere, and it turned out they had a big parade scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. But we got tired of waiting, so went on over to the Estes Park Brewery - where they had the parade being shown live on EPTV (Estes Park TV)! Mom got a nice Marzen beer and I got a red, and we relaxed and had some dinner and watched the entire parade from there.

After being stuck in post parade traffic for a while, we made it home and we're both pooped out from a big, but wonderful day!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

It's in the Bottle - the red wedding wine, that is!

Two down, and two to go! Yesterday Mom and I bottled the two red wines for the weddings . It's a fun part of the process, and you get to at least have a taste for your efforts. And they both tasted great.

First, we siphon the wine off the last small bit of sediment, from the 6 gallon glass carboy to a 6 gallon bucket. That way you don't have to worry at all about accidentally stirring up any sediment and having cloudy wine. This photo shows the carboy and bucket on the wood table, so you have the elevation you need to siphon and bottle.

Then you clean and sanitize all the bottles, put them on the "bottle tree", fill them up, and put in a cork. Voila! Vino tinto! Now our next challenge will be to come up with nice labels for each. In a few weeks we'll start the two white wines, and then they can all age nicely before the summer. What fun!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Zacatecas, Mexico

We're back from a really great week in Zacatecas. The work part went really well, and the vacation part was great too! I gave my presentation on Friday, and I got good feedback. One really special part was when my tocayo (person with same name) Ricardo told me that my presentation really motivated him and he wants to go back to his office and tell all the others there about what he learned. That made me feel really good. He and Mom had a nice visit one night too, over dinner, and on Friday, he gave us a nice card and two bottles of Rompope, which is like an egg-nog liqueur.

Another of the participants in the workshop, Miguel, was also the Director of a museum. The museum is called Museo Rafael Coronel, and is has the largest collection of masks in the world. There is also a part where there are some works by Diego Rivera and his daughter, Ruth. Miguel was really knowledgeable and took a group of us on a private tour of the museum.

Mom spent most of the days walking the city and stopping at other museums and churches. She had a good time and did well communicating. In the late afternoons and evenings we'd both walk around and sightsee and then pick out a restaurant for dinner. We had some really good meals, and even some local wine. Our last night we were sitting in a park, watching a beautiful fountain display, when a group of three college students approached us. They wanted to interview us for a project and asked us various questions about the city, and how safe we felt, and what the city cold do to improve. It was a lot of fun to talk with them.

Today we both miss being there and using our Spanish. But the good news is, I'm pretty sure I will be invited back, and the next workshop will probably be in the south part of Mexico, where Mom and I both really want to visit. So, I hope it happens!

Here are a few pix of our visit for your enjoyment.
We toured an old silver mine, took a ride above the city in a cable car, took a tour bus around the city, sat on the plazas and ate fruit, and toured the museums.