Saturday, December 7, 2013

Recipes - Happy Hour Success

Pesto Tomato Spread

1/4 c. pesto
1/4 c. roasted red peppers
1/4 c. sun-dried tomatoes
8 oz. cream cheese

Put all in the food processor and blend.  Leave the peppers and tomatoes a little chunky for a red and green Christmas dip. 


Cheese Cookies

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 stick butter
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (more if you dare)

Let butter come to room temperature.  Put all ingredients in the food processor.  Blend until the dough begins to form a ball.  If the dough is too crumbly, add 1 teaspoon of water.   Do this one teaspoon at a time until the dough forms a ball.  If the dough is too wet, add 1 teaspoon of flour, etc.  When the ball forms, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Then roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter or into squares.  Put on greased cookie tray.  Bake at 300 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  (I cooked it for 18 minutes).  Remove from oven and cookie sheet to cool on cooling rack.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Bit of Dancing History


Way back in the 80s, when I was living in Madisonville, Ky, I visited the Club Trocadero once or twice.  It was located in Henderson, Ky, near the Ohio River.  As it turns out, I was visiting a bit of history that was only reopened for about six months in the early 80s.  At that time, I loved to dance, but was not a ballroom dancer.   I will never forget that dance floor.  In my memory, that dance floor was as large as a football field and I've always wanted to return.  The floor could hold 220 couples dancing at a time.  Jim and I now go to a dance club that is packed with 100 couples.  How I would love to be on an uncrowded, larger dance floor spinning around the floor!  This photo below must have been taken during the short time the Troc was reopened in 1981.


When our group decided to drive up to the Trocadero, we told the dad of one of our group that the Trocadero had reopened for the first time since closing in 1951.  His wide-eyed reply told everything.  "The Troc?  The Troc!!"  The Troc in its day was the most glamorous and scandalous thing going, dancing, big bands, and lots of illegal gambling.  The gambling was what led to its closing.  You can read more details here:  Club Trocadero

The art deco style was beautiful.  As I remember it, there was an upstairs room with a string quartet, a lounge area to get food, then you emerged onto the large dance floor.  Of course, when I was there, there were no big bands, just DJ disco.

In the 90s, the building burned in a fire, another bit of the past gone.




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Hot Rod Power Tour, Day 4

Today we traveled from Texarkana to Little Rock.  Since it was announced at the drivers' meeting that the drive to Little Rock was only a couple of hours, we decided to travel with the convertible top down.  When you are traveling in the sun for 6 hours a day, having a convertible top down is not such a treat.

But, two hours, what fun!  I knew that we were in Arkansas when I saw the road side rock shops.  Never mind that we did not look at the 176 miles listed on the daily schedule.  You can't travel 176 miles in two hours, can you?  Well, maybe if you go 115 mph all the way.  I realized that we were going to drive down Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs.  Exciting!  We have been to Hot Springs several times.  Hot Springs is such an old town.  Seeing hundreds of hot rods pass down that street would be something special.

The scenery was probably the prettiest of the trip so far.  We traveled up 70E, up 70E, and up 70E until we saw hot rodders turning around and telling us that 70E into Hot Springs was closed.  By this time, we had been on the road at least four hours and now, we had to find our own way to Little Rock.  There was an alternate route that would take us through Hot Springs, but the driver was ready to be in Little Rock so we cut across to I30 and traveled an hour to Little Rock.

Every night of the tour, the drivers meet in front of the venue stage.  Each sponsor hands out free giveaways, hats, shirts.  Kicker sound from Stillwater gave away $2000-$4000 worth of equipment to one person each night.  Contintential Tires gave away a set of tires each night.  That was our goal, to win the tires.  Usually, you had to know trivia about a company, what year it was formed, what accessories the company sold, what transmission went with what engine.  Many of these facts, you would learn by spendng time at the vendors booths.  Once you were at the evening venue, you really had to act like you were on the Price is Right to get the MCs attention, basically like a fool.  .  So I'm finally catching on and starting to act crazy while my stoic husband sits beside me.  He points

After a total of six hours, we were in Little Rock, in the Rivermarket District.  We stayed at all the Hot Rod Power Tour host hotels, and Little Rock's hotel was the Peabody, with the ducks.  We follow the GPS to 3 Statehouse Plaza, the correct address of the Peabody, but there is no Peabody, only the Marriott.  After passing it twice, we convince ourselves to stop and, guess what?  As of May 1st, the Peabody became the Marriott.  The ducks were gone.  The comforters and sheets were luxurious.  There was no swimming pool.

Very nicely, the hotel allowed us to pay the $20 for valet services, but allowed the hot rod owners to drive their own cars to the lots with shuttle service back to the hotel.  I guess they understood very quickly that valet drivers would ot work.  The shuttle driver was a young gearhead and he said that day of hot rods was the best day of his life.

However, we were at the Rivermarket District, a cool area that reminds me of Bricktown, and I knew exactly where we were headed.  The Flying Fish, an East Texas fish joint.  I almost hyperventilated waiting in line.  I ordered the fried oyster Po Boy with red beans and rice, and pickled green tomatoes.  Jim had the catfish and fries.  Then we walked across the pedestrian only Junction Bridge, that goes over the Arkansas River to North Little Rock.

Thumbs up today - 8

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Hot Rod Power Tour, Day 3

Today was really our first cruise day, traveling 231 miles from Arlington, TX, to Texarkana.  Jim says, and I agree, that the most fun part of the HRPT is the cruising.  It is fun to be in a line with hot rods stretched for a half mile.  It was especially fun to be lined up with 1200 cars in one parking lot this morning.  The route was through small towns such as Mineola, Pittsburg, Terrell, Great Saline, and Atlanta.  At farmhouses, corners, and small towns, groups of people were sitting, ready to wave at us. I saw the turn off for Canton and the small towns we drove through had frequent antique stores.  Jim and I had never been through east Texas and we thought it was pretty country.  Lots of trees and hills.  I reminded me of where I grew up in West Tennessee.  We left Arlington at 9:00 and arrived in Texarkana at 3:00.  We heard later that many in the HRPT were unhappy with the route and how long it took.  Jim and I, as newbies, were just happy to be on the road.  Traffic did slow down as 1200 cars passed through the small towns.  We just thought that was part of the package.


We haven't learned the names of many people, but we are naming people.  There is the Buick Guy, who drives a 68 Buick stationwagon and let us back into line when we tried to take a wrong turn.  Unfortunately, he wasn't there when we made our next wrong turn.  That error was corrected with a quick turn around.   The Mustang Guys are a father and son team were at the starting line with us.  Son just graduated from high school the night before.  Mustang Guy Dad saw me 100 miles later and said, "Your husband just pulled into the parking lot."  Everyone watches out for each other.  I met one guy, who looked like he was under 40 years old, who said he had been on the HRPT since 1999.  There is 'Kuda Man, who drives a 2009 Barracuda with his 11 year old son.  There are several children on the Tour and obviously, some of them have grown up on the Tour, because the celebrities have commented on how fast they are growing.  Jim and I agree that our 14 year old would not have been interested this year.  She would have loved it a few years ago.  


One of the top braces of the Buick top has broken.  It doesn't keep us from traveling or from putting the top down.  Jim has been pleased with the Buick's performance.  We travel the long distances with the top up.  No point in riding without shade.  The car has been quite comfortable without AC.  Occasionally, it's been hot while stopped for traffic.  I have glanced longingly at some rolled up windows.   At one point on a four lane, "running with the big boys", Jim was going 115 mph for a brief period.  The car handled it well, obviously, because I had no idea.  I would have been yelling.  After he told me he had done it, I watched that speedometer more closely.  The four lanes roads in east Texas are 70 mph, and I'm not referring to the interstates.  Highway 80 is a pretty, narrow four lane, 70 mph with driveways right and left.  Swoosh!


Tell me this: why are I always on the sunny side of the car?  Jim finally commented how hot the sun was today, when he was in it for the first time of the trip.


Snapshots of the day:

The "what the heck" look we saw in some of the small towns.  Many people read Hot Rod magazine and many people do not.  

Driving in the middle on the middle of no where, with only an occasional farmhouse, we would smell BBQ.  Texas BBQ is great.  

Favorite road signs of the day:

"Willie Nelson for President" and "Smiths Funeral Home...A Better Funeral Experience"


I am delighted with the HRPT.  I don't expect us to go next year, but I'm already ready to find out where the tour 2014 will travel. It's Americana at it's best.  Old cars, small towns, roads with stories to tell, people watching out for each other, good food, what's not to like?


Thumbs up today - 13

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hot Rod Power Tour, Day 2

Another fun day.  It started with breakfast in the hotel, then, with appropriate GPS input, we were quickly at the University of Texas at Arlington campus.  The campus is surrounded by treed neighborhoods and people benefited with many setting up under the trees to watch the hot rods enter in parking lot.  We entered the first parking lot, having no real idea of what we were doing.  It was easy to find a parking place.  We went to the registration tent.  We were pre-registered and were quickly through that line.  Then we went back to our car, still getting oriented, when cars suddenly started their engines and started to form a line.  We quickly followed.  Today was a day to be a sheep.  If you see a long line, get in it.  If you see a longer line, go faster.  This time, the line led our car to the venue parking, a great parking place, where maybe 1200 cars were parked.

We had hats autographed by Vic Eldebrock.  Missed an autograph by Linda Vaughn, Miss Hurst, obviously someone famous in her arena.  Those lines were long.

All morning was spent walking from vendor to vendor, getting freebies, signing up for contests.  We enjoyed talking to other hot rodders.  We set up our chairs and, even though it was a hot day, I wasn't minding the heat.  If you go on the Hot Rod Power Tour, just decide to be hot and sweaty for days.  If you can make you peace with that, you'll do great.  An frozen cappuccino at the middle of the day helped.  Finally, at 1:00 PM, we thought we had seen enough for the day and came back to the hotel.  Once I was in air conditioning, I realized just how hot I was and it took a while to cool down.  We had a rest and went back out to the venue at 4:00.  Hundreds of people set up their folding chairs at the venue stage to wait for giveaways.  The best prize was a set of Continental tires.  Someone won $200 of gas.  That was what I wanted.  The long-haulers (people who travel the whole five days) have the potential to win the best prizes.

At 6:30, we went to eat BBQ with the Dallas-area Buick Club.  Three people were there.  Great BBQ.

After supper, it was back to the hotel for some visiting and swimming.

I've tried to post photos with my iPad but have not figured out how to do that yet.

Jim's favorite cars of the day
     - Rat Rod with LT1, lowered to the ground, great rust effect with the bottom edge of the doors
        rusted through
     - 54 Mercury, great custom job with great seats, beautiful
     - 57 white Cadillac convertible (Jim's dad had one that his mom did not like and Jim, the 8 year
        old, loved.  He was a gearhead even then.

Thumbs up today - 13

Hot Rod Power Tour, Day 1

Oh. My. Goodness.  I said I was going to blog on the Hot Rod Power Tour.  Really?  What was I thinking?  Between tornadoes (with a daughter still back in Norman), entering the wrong information in the GPS which caused us an extra one hour of travel, having a freakout/breakdown because I didn't get to eat for seven hours, meeting an old friend in the area, and dancing late into the evening, I'm not sure how this blogging is going to go.  Now it is 11:30, we are back in our room and watching the weather summary of the evening.

So, let's dial it back and see if I can recall some of the more pleasant and interesting events of the day.  We left home at 10:00, and again at 10:20.  You know how that goes. I think I left the computer on.  Oh, well, but I think I remembered everything else.  The cool, windy weather felt wonderful in the morning.  I had a flashback to the 60s, taking non-AC vacations.  I don't think I've been on a long trip without AC since then.   Flying down the Interstate, everything was green, the ponds were full, the Oklahoma countryside was beautiful.

Headed north was an amazing RV outfit, a semi-truck, pulling a semi-worth travel trailer.  On the trailer, between the trailer and the truck, was a little Smart Car and all three pieces were painted with a matching paint job.  The car was on top of the flat trailer, not being pulled on the ground.  Wonder how they lifted that car up.   I just googled images of "million dollar RV" and those images were piddly compared to this RV system.  If you're that rich, do you RV around the country?  Apparently.

As we reached the Arbuckles, the sky began to clear.  I think I saw the same dead armadillo, spaced in the exact same 3 foot distance off the road every three miles.  Maybe it's some kind of conspiracy, secret mile markers that only certain people knows about.

On I35, we had nine thumbs-up from people passing us on the Interstate.  I'm going to give a thumb-up count every day, but I will only count thumbs from non-hot rodders.  When we passed through Gainesville, we began to see hot rods headed south.  We were happy to have a 20-something man pull up beside us, roll down his window, and yell, "Moonie Eyes! Are you going to the Hot Rod Power Tour?"

When we stopped in Gainesville, our last opportunity to get ethanol-free gas, we calculated the Buick's mpg at 18.  We may have the highest MPG hot rod on the HRPT.  Jim was very pleased.  He kept the speed at 60-65 mph on the interstate.

Then, at 3:15 PM, the excitement started:  a GPS that doesn't understand that if you enter "The University of Texas of Arlington", you'd like to be headed to Arlington, going east on 635 at 4 miles per hour (when you have no need to travel east), a person in the car who is ravenous and irritable answering warm, fuzzy and frequent texts and phone calls from family, and watching tornado weather where your child is.  Don't ask about this.  Just don't.

By 5:00, we were fed and happy at the hotel, with a room on the 15th floor with good view of the car below.  Jim carefully parked the car beside 40 Ford Coupe.  He trusted that person not to ding his door.  We've had some good conversations with other gearheads and expect more today.  Everyone is very friendly.  About a third of the parking lot is hot rods, from the 40s to new cars.

Hopefully, today will be just as fun at the fun parts of yesterday, without the drama.

Thumbs up count today - 9

Thursday, May 9, 2013

HRPT Here We Come!

Only 23 days!

When Jim first presented the idea of going on the Hot Rod Power Tour, he pointed out that, since it was starting in Arlington, we would have an opportunity that would not easily happen again.  The Hot Rod Power Tour begins in the town where it stopped the previous year.  The 2012 tour was from Detroit to Arlington, TX.  This year, it's from Arlington to Charlotte, NC.  We are planning on drive four days from Arlington to Texarkana to Little Rock to Memphis.  If you are a "long-hauler", you continue on through Birmingham, Chattanooga, and, finally, Charlotte, NC.  The 14 year old daughter is anxious to ditch the parents and stay with friends back in Norman, but we aren't anxious to leave her for over a whole week required for the long haul so it's a short haul for us.

Jim's been reading up in the Hot Rod magazine. I've been reading online. Hotel reservations are made. We're staying in the main venue hotels so should be close to the center of the action. There are suggestions to bring extra of everything, fan belts, tool kit, extra thermostat.  We just paid for the tow package on the Buick's insurance.  I should put that number in my phone right now.  Jim pointed out that the car has only been put together for 3 years so we should be good.

I am not the gearhead in the family, obviously.  Jim is happy to take care of the two convertibles by himself.  Usually, he fills the cars with gas, cleans them, and does much of the mechanical work.  I, on the other hand, have a learning disability with maintaining cars.  Jim reminds me what repairs he has completed and I can't remember if the head gasket was replaced in 2006 or a transmission in 2011.  While I'm not a gearhead, I am a good passenger and, since I've had my little laptop, I've learned that I can type and enjoy the scenery at the same time. I'll be typing as we fly down the road, or crawl along in a traffic jam. We've heard there were 1600 cars in last years HRPT.  That will make for some slow exits out of parking lots.

Jim was initially expecting some objections from me about the trip.  He was startled by now quickly I showed interest in the HRPT.  He should have realized that, while I'm not a gearhead, planning adventure is right up my alley and this is adventure.  Say "road trip" and hold the car door open.  I totally enjoy being with my husband and seeing people react to the Buick.  I joined the HRPT forum.  I have decided on wardrobe (just T-shirts, shorts and hats).  We even have Hoffman T-shirts. We need business cards for the new friends we meet.  I've already designed them.  Should they be referred to as calling cards?  Jim bought a car cover, which means that huge trunk is a quarter full.  We've already had a dry-run for luggage in the remaining space in the trunk.  I'm even planning on making a custom trail mix - red and black M&Ms and unsalted cashews.  Jim wants to carry no food in the car, but he'll agree to the trail mix.  I'm planning on sneaking some bottles of water in the trunk.

Another decision made, not by me, was going without air conditioning.  We have all of the parts; they are just not in the car. We'll see how that plays out.  I am determined that my hair will be up, my hat on, and my lips sealed!  After all, what's an adventure without a little bit of adventure!  Only 23 days!

I'm going to blog about our trip. My information will be "I saw a pretty red car today," but hopefully I can diary some of Jim's serious comments for the real gearheads.  Only 23 more days!