Sunday checklist…..

Breakfast of yogurt before snuggling up with the puppies to watch “Marley and Me” 
It was probably a good thing that the puppies dozed off before the end…spoiler alert, Marley didn’t make it. There wasn’t a dry eye in the household by the time the credits rolled.
Finish my “Foreign Agent” spy novel and take a dip at Gramma’s 
I was down to the last 73 pages and Scott Harvath still hadn’t managed to save the world, but, by the time we were packing up to leave Gramma’s pool, Scott had accomplished his task and my tan was looking pretty good.
Catch a movie  

After checking through all the movie listings and coming up with several holiday weekend movie choices, one of which received a 22% of a rotten tomato rating along with the following quote: “worst film I’ve ever seen considering the unexpected horrible death that blindsides, the mediocre acting, the implausibility, and the completely impossible flawed storyline.” and with other selections like Captain Underpants, Cars 3 or The Smurfs, we opted for “Baby Driver” which Frank had said was “pretty good.”

We hesitated on that recommendation because with the word “Driver” in the title  TWWNCNBUIP was worried that it might be a car chase movie, however,  Frank assured us that while there may be a car chase or two, that wasn’t the main thrust of the movie.  So we picked up Gramma and headed off to see “Baby Driver.”

After the opening car chase, the car chases in the middle and the one at the end,  there was a nice relationship that developed between the young man and a sweet girl, what else could you ask for in a movie? And the hot dogs and popcorn were the perfect lunch for a Sunday afternoon.

I’m now back at the ranch cueing  up the latest episode of the Outsiders …. all in all – a good day

Can I be social?

IMG_4145.JPGWe just returned from our annual trip to the Social Media Conference in San Diego (two trips qualify for calling it an annual event, right?) and I’m happy to tell you, we learned a lot to thrill and delight you over the coming months.

 TWWNCBUIP, Shane and the newly Social Me arrived in San Diego just in time to get a sandwich and soda from the 24 hour Market One IMG_4093.JPGRestaurant (it actually sells everything you could need – aspirin, paperback novels, potato chips, and of course prepackaged sandwiches-to-go thereby allowing it to technically be called a restaurant) located in the Manchester Hyatt on the waterfront and across the street from the Gaslamp District.

The lamps from the district where enticing but with the conference starting at 8am we thought it wiser to hit the rack instead of the trail.
With six hours sleep and coffee in hand we arrived at the Convention Center at 8am Thursday morning in order to not miss any valuable information. This early bird was awarded with cool swag, a selfie tripod and wide angle lens for my iphone. Totally worth getting up early, right?

IMG_4056.JPGThere were so many seminars from which to choose that we had to split up to so we wouldn’t miss valuable information.  FB algorithms, Instagram videos and the secrets of Snapchat were the order of the day andIMG_2433.JPG by night we learned how to combine Japanese whiskey with walnut bitters and blood orange amaro.

IMG_4263.JPG

Sunset at the Del Coronado for a tasty Old Fashioned. We will be practicing everything we learned in San Diego to surprise and delight you in the coming weeks (especially the Japanese whisky part).

If I were to select a few favorite moments, I’d have to pick dinner at Juniper and Ivy (that’s where I learned about the whiskey) and cocktails at the Del Coronado as we watched the sun set over the ocean … and the seminar hosted by Chocolate Johnny of Perfection Chocolate in Sydney Australia.  Johnny regularly has over 100,000 viewers that tune in to watch him make candy.

IMG_4278.JPG

A crown of peanuts, a necklace of pretzels and toilet paper cake … what else could girl ask for?

We were only home long enough to wash clothes and then set out again, this time to take the mother-in-law AKA Ol’ Mel to Vegas to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Shortly before landing the flight attendants asked that the passengers pull down the window shades and turn on the “call” buttons above our heads. Much to Melba’s delight they then announced that there was a VIP on board celebrating a very special and high numbered birthday.  They placed a peanut crown upon her head and pretzel lei around her neck. She was beaming from ear to ear.

There’s a reason that Southwest is called the LUV airline.

IMG_4284.JPGIMG_4314.JPG

IMG_4326.JPGWe spent the next three days in Las Vegas and were “happy birthdayed” at every meal…I can’t imagine how big a fuss they will make over her next birthday.

We were joined by Mr. and Mrs. Chicken Boy to celebrate grammas’s birthday, buffets, Italian dinners, 3-card poker and dinner at our favorite restaurant in Vegas – Tetsu Teppan Grill. Grilled lobster, dancing shrimp and three Lucky Seven cocktails and the evening was complete.

IMG_4391.JPG

We’re home now! Hope to see you soon…I learned some stuff and I can’t wait to show you that Japanese whiskey thing.

In the meantime I have to go get some coloring for my Easter eggs.

It’s just too far to drive…

hobby… so with our SWA tickets in hand we were off to Memphis to attend the premier of the independent film who’s Production Designer was none other than our own C. Michael Andrews.

We were able to convince Lincoln and Lola that this would be an even better vacation than staying at their usual spot, the luxurious Rover Oaks Dog Hotel & Spa even though they would be missing out on the latest Lassie reruns, afternoon ice cream bars and bedtime stories.

natIt’s only an hour and twenty minute flight to Memphis but since the nonstop flight doesn’t even leave Houston until 10PM we always worry that we are going to be too late to pick up our rent car before midnight. The last time we flew into Memphis our flight was 30 minutes late and we had to sprint like OJ through the airport to get to the car rental place before they closed. This time our flight landed ten minutes early so we were relieved that we would make it down to the “Choose any car on the lot” area before it closed. We hurried down only to find a dozen folks standing around looking out on a completely empty car lot. Really, not one car in the whole place! It took an hour and a lot of hustling but the car rental folks got us all settled into vehicles.

dogsonaplane

Dogs on a plane 

PlanBy the time we finally got our car it was too late take the puppies to CB’s house so we drove straight to our favorite Memphis hotel where blinky Linky did his sleepy eyes routine and Lola practiced her too pretty to resist pose – before you know it the nice man at the front desk took us all in. It is now our favorite Memphis hotel forever.

bathcabinetSince we didn’t get in until after two in the morning we slept late and then took the puppies for their morning constitutional along the banks of the Mississippi so we didn’t get to Mr. and Mrs. CB’s until after noon. By that time we were all starving so we grabbed a very late breakfast at Uncle Junipers. mississippi

This was a busy week in Memphis with the Memphis Indie Film Festival on Thursday and the Fall Art Walk on Broad Avenue on Friday so we tried to make ourselves useful to Mr. and Mrs. CB who had their bearhands full getting ready for the Art Walk and moving into their new tiny house that CB built. While TWWNCBUIP and CB tended to setting up the new bedroom and scrubbing the paint and mortar out of the new bathtub,  I tried to make myself useful to Mrs. CB. so we spent the day tinkering in the shop getting set up for the Art Walk.

doggieAfter our last trip to Memphis, I had been hankering to have another helping of fried chicken skins so I was pretty pleased when I found out that Mrs. CB had made a reservation at the Kitchen for Wednesday night. If you are visiting Memphis in filmfestthe future be sure to put this restaurant on your to-d0 list along with my other favorite – the venerable Gus’s Fried Chicken.

The food at the Kitchen is fantastic and the view is even better. Both times we have been there we’ve dined on the deck looking out over the man made lake. This time we visited with the bartenders and asked them how they made their drinks so full of flavor. freeindeedSeems like infusion and fresh squeezing are the key. After a few more lessons from these Memphis boys who knows, maybe I can share some of their secrets with you. rustyalice

Thursday, the big day, arrives. After breakfast I joined Mrs CB at FiveinOne, she working and me supervising until it was time to set out for our pre-premier dinner at Mary and Catherine, another new Memphis hot spot. We enjoyed a fine meal and then we set off to the Memphis Independent Film Festival premier of Free in Deed.

This was one intense film. A tragic true story about about a troubled faith healer played by David Harewood. I recognized him from “Homeland.”  My favorite scene came at the very end of the film when the credits rolled. Production Designer, C. Michael Andrews.  Pretty darn cool.  We are proud parents in case you can’t tell.

tacoWe got to join everyone at the cast party at yet another new hot spot in Memphis, The Laughlin Yard.  It has a waterfall from a creek, fire pits and  the fixin’s to to macoveke your own s’mores, two patios and a stage where we listened to Marcella and her Lovers.

Friday evening and it was finally time for the Fall Art Walk on Broad. The art lovers descended on Broad Avenue where they wandered from store to store, some shopping some gawking. There was lots of eating from taco trucks and lots of drinking local beers. Food trucks lined the block. My favorite, Say Cheese, had PB&B with cheese, Pizza and Cheese, Pimento and Cheese and lots of other kinds of cheese. There was art made from car parts. There were ballet dancers.  “Made in Memphis” tee shirts.

Handcrafted furniture. Paintings. Pottery.  Hollywood dog treats. And lots and lots of people watching.

After the crowds went home we adjourned to the Pirate Bar at the end of the street to compare notes of the day and by the end of the night we were arrghuing the virtues of rye versus bourbon.

We had a great day. A long night. A short sleep. Before we knew it we had to be up and out of our favorite Memphis hotel. We loaded up the puppies and headed over to the tiny house inside the big warehouse.  Mr. and Mrs. CB were up and waiting for breakfast at Second Line.  We had one of every appetizer and then pancakes. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

soldiersA trip to the Hollywood Feed store followed our slow and coffee filled breakfast. The feed store has a place where you can give your dogs a bubble bath, a blow dry and pigs ears as treats. After all the puppies were bathed we walked back to the new digs to get our car and luggage. The puppies said goodbye to their new friend “I am Frank” CB’s 60 pound brick of a pit bull and we were off to the Memphis International Airport.

We are always sad to leave Memphis.  This time there was a bit of Memphis waiting for us when we got home. The Dead Soldiers had just driven in from Memphis and were setting up to play the Duck when we arrived.   We liked them. Think you will too.

 

 

 

Our Trip to New York …..

Lola
hobbyWe said our “goodbyes” to the puppies and headed out the door for Hobby to hop on the company jet for a quick trip to NYC. Before we left, I promised Lola that if she kept watch over her brother while we were gone I would ask our Southwest pilot to dip the wings in salute as we flew over the house on our way to New York.  She was sitting at attention when we left.

We were bummed that SWA no longer has a non-stop to Newark airport because our only other non-stop choice was LaGuardia and we had read that they are getting a makeover. That’s for sure! So much construction…… It was tough getting transport from the airport since the renovations make it difficult for the taxis, Ubers and Junos to make their way past the construction to the pick up area.  This time we ended up taking a gypsy cab who assured us that he was our best bet since the traffic was so backed up. We have always heard that it is a big mistake to take the gypsy cabs, but both times we’ve done it we have lucked o2016-10-15-17-49-39ut. The first time the driver pulled out a microphone and sang old Temptations songs and this time we got a guided tour of Queens. It was actually a pretty nice ride, our driver was knowledgeable about the area and pointed out some Greek diners that we should try out during our stay.  It was cool going under the elevated, it reminded me of “The French Connection.”

When we arrived at citizenM, we found Mr and Mrs Chicken Boy in the lobby awaiting our arrival. They were as hungry as we were so we dashed up to our room on floor 8, “the most prosperous floor” toroof stow our bags.  I wickewindowwas overruled when I suggested dinner from the food truck outside the hotel. No street meat for me!

We found a quiet little Italian place with homemade pizza and pasta which turned out to be really nice and reasonably priced which is always a nice surprise in New York.

After dinner we made our way to “Wicked” at the Gershwin Theater located across the street from our hotel. Handy!

I must say that after seeing “Wicked” I may be over my aversion to musicals.

I think my bad memories of musicals came about because at an early age I was taken to see “Oklahoma” and I’ve never quite gotten over it.

I’d like to tell you that we went out for late night drinks after the theater, but my editor only lets me stretch the truth a little and since we were up at TCOD and needed to save energy for Sunday we retired to our most prosperous floor for a good night’s sleep.

Perhaps you have heard that tdelihe venerable Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue is closing after almost 80 years. We were going to stop in for one last  “mile-high” pastrami on rye with a side of “attitude” before the closing, but with mile long line of pastrami lovers waiting outside the Deli we decided that we could just live with our memories of sandwiches past.

We enjoyed a delizioso Sunday brunch with the Trooper family at Quality Italian Steakhouse.

IMG_1806.JPG

House made Battenkill Ricotta + Sicilian Oregano Flower Honey + Pinenuts + Smoked Salmon & Chive

familydinnerWho would have thought that a dish made with buckwheat spaghetti alla chitarra, braised bacon, and poached egg would be one of the best things we’ve ever eaten? Fantastic food. Even better company.  After brunch we headed off to Central Park to walk off the 9ooo calories we consumed at brunch. At least that was the plan.  A purple plume on a sweet faced horse caught TWWNCNBUIP’s eye and before we knew it we were taking a carriage ride through the park.

We had no trouble getting plenty of steps in after our carriage ride IMG_1856.JPGwhen we made our way to the High Line, an elevated rail line along the Hudson River side of Manhattan. It has been transformed into a green space worthy of an afternoonimg_1841 walk – with lots of art and interesting people watching.

Walking along the space one is only a few feet from the surrounding  buildings. On this Sunday, the entire “line” was filled with citizens. Most were live, some only appeared to be. Along the flowering rail line we also found some unusual birds pecking at the ground.

2016-10-16-17-15-56

We finished the High Line walk with just enough time to dash over to the St. Regis for a very quick drink at our favorite bar, The King Cole and then off to the Eugene O’Neill Theater for the excellent “Book of Mormon.” The theater was beautiful and the play was as great as we had heard it would be.

mormon

2016-10-17-16-58-42TCON. Slept in today, took a trip Brooklyn to visit Chicken Boy’s friend who runs DriveByPress, an art concept that involves the artists traveling around the country with a printing press in a van, printing tee shirts and posters for public or private events.

While the artists compared notes of fiber, color and techniques we were joined by Weezer who helped us search the interweb for a great restaurant experience for our final night. And we found one!  Roberta’s in Bushwick. The restaurant plan made and accepted, we asked Uber for a ride to the famed Roberta’s.

robertasAfter an afternoon of art talk and and an evening of great Italian food we called it a night and headed back to citizenM to rest for our flight to Las Vegas in the morning.

If I forgot to include the last leg of this trip, let me expand upon it now. By luck, good fortune,  and a great friend, we had come upon free tickets to see the Rolling Stones in Las Vegas. Now, who’s gonna pass that up? Not me, even if it meant a 5 hour flight across the country.  I don’t envy the movie stars that have to make that flight, we could have flown to Europe in that amount of time. Well, maybe not, but it seemed like it.

All was good until Mick Jagger (or maybe someone on his behalf) Tweeted me Wednesday before TCON to say that he had lost his voice and would be unable to perform that night.

So, instead of the concert of the year, TWWNCBUIP and I had room service and watched the 3rd of 3 debates by those would like to be ruler of the free world.

Still not a bad trip.

 

 

 

 

 

AmericanaFest – Nashville 2016

Nashville, home of the Grand Old Opry, fried green tomatoes, everything pimento cheese and once a year, Americanafest.

couponWe made our way to AmericanaFest 2016 on the company jet, enjoying our usual first class service with free drinks and all the peanuts we could eat for the one hour and thirty minute flight to Nashville.

front

Hermitage Hotel

As much as we appreciated the luv’ly peanuts we were starving by the time we pulled up in front of our favorite place to stay, the beautiful Hermitage Hotel. We were curious about whose shiny new tour bus was parked across the street but I was anxious to get inside for “happy hour” so I didn’t spend much time thinking about the bus.  Imagine how sad I was when I found out that we had just missed one of my favorite things at the Hermitage, the cookie and lemonade happy hour. All I got was an apple.

We were all starving and an apple wasn’t going to cut it,

exterior_husknashville-8331

Husk Restaurant

so we dropped the luggage and headed out for some home cooking at Husk. Crispy Chicken Skins, Alabama White Sauce, Johnny Cake, Pimento Cheese, Chipped Beef, Pickled Jalapeños, Hot Water Cornbread, Sliced Cucumbers and Raw Onion, Benne and Honey Lacquered Duck with Pickled Blueberries and Chanterelles and Crispy Pork Collar paired with Cornbread Purée and Greasy Beans awaited us at this restaurant located in a historic building on a hill overlooking the Titan’s stadium.

nash

Electric Nashville

During dinner we downloaded the Americana app to make our showcase planning easier, well as easy as it can be with showcases spread out all over town with one artist at the Mercy Lounge, one over at the Station Inn and one more at the Basement, all starting within thirty minutes of each other.  We did our best to get to as many  showcases as we could but would have done better if we could have gotten around more quickly. Reminder for next year, get jetpacks instead of a rent car.

jimandgeorge

Jim Lauderdale & George Strait

 

The awards show was pretty terrific with appearances by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to George Strait to John Prine. The awards show ran three hours so we didn’t get to the first showcase until ten o’clock.

We decided that it would be best to hang out at the Cannery Ballroom since it has three venues in one spot. Very handy indeed for seeing as many artists in as short an amount of time as possible.  We didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight but as I mentioned it is my favorite hotel so I like finishing my evening in the lobby, it smells like summer flowers and it’s the perfect place to wind down after a long day. Great people-watching too. Usually at leastwineglass one group will come weaving up the stairs after a very happy night out, those are the one who come over and ask us where we got our wine gunsbecause they can’t find anyplace open.  (We come prepared.)

Anyway, we like to spend the last hour or so in the lobby figuring it all out.

TCON the next day we made our way past the “Nashville” set that was being filmed on the same street as the Six Shooter Records party. Those Canadians put out an appropriate lunch (Nashville “hot chicken” sandwiches and Yazoo beer) for the listening party on the rooftop of the George Jones Museum. We got to see Ms. Whitney Rose who was as usual, delightful. Also got my first live listen to another Canadian – Amelia Curren, who I’ve been trying to get to Houston for several years. Thanks Six Shooter, we had fun.

peglegAfter a little nap we headed out for the music happy hour parties. We tried to make it to New West but got caught in a traffic circle so Siri changed our direction and took us to Razor and Tie Publishing instead.  We bumped into Steve Poltz as we were going in but lost sight of him in the crowd.  We decided to grab a bite before the next bout of shows so we walked around the block and tried out Peg Leg Porker for some great barbecue.

Again, we finished off our evening in the lobby of the beautiful Hermitage Hotel, Shane and TWWNCNBUIP with a bottle of wine and me with a bottle of Basil Hayden. I enjoy our midnight sippin’ parties.

We finally figured out who had the fancy shiny tour bus out front when we saw the Lumineers come home to the Hermitage after their gig.

All in all it was a great trip,  we got to visit with lots of new acts that we hope to bring to the Duck…(hint-keep your eyes and ears open for an Irishman.)

We heard the puppies really missed us..or maybe it’s that we really missed them, no matter who did the missin’ it’s really good to be home.

 

 

Two bottles of wine in the hotel lobby …

and it being 3am made for a late start today.

The seminar at 2 was about Youtube. I learned that if you have a YouTube site (which we do), if you can have 500,000 views of your video people will advertise on your video. I am told that for every 100,000 views you receive 35 cents in ad revenue. How’s that for an afternoon well spent.

Would you please visit my site 100,000 times?  Thanks!

I am going down to the Oak Bar for a Jack Mule, then back to work

imgres.