Thursday, August 30, 2012


Aspen/America The Beautiful
View of the Elk Building and Old Glory
from Peach's Corner Cafe, Downtown Aspen
Aspen, Colorado, is a beautiful city. Even if you aren't among the rich and famous, you can still enjoy the city's ambiance.

There are sculptures and flowers

And more flowers

And more flowers

And yet more flowers
There seems to be a fountain at
every downtown plaza


Aspen is full of old buildings from the silver mining days, be they brick or wooden Victorian Painted Ladies.

Aspen Consignment Shop
I wish I could have browsed in here!

Aspen is loaded with art galleries. They are so prohibitively expensive that one does not even dare walk inside, but window shopping is allowed. Needless to say, we did not go into Prada, Ralph Lauren, Gucci or Luis Vuitton either!

But hey, even Aspen has a thrift shop. I'm sure I could have found something affordable here. But although though it was right between Peach's Corner Market, where we had cold drinks, and the theatre where we attended a movie, it closed at 3 pm so we were out of luck.

Aspen is of course named for the beautiful quaking aspen trees of the region. I love the sound of the wind moving through the aspens.

Close up of aspen trees, showing their white bark.

Hot air balloons are almost a daily sight over Aspen/Snowmass. This photo is from the 2011 Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Festival. Too bad we were too early for this year's festival Sept. 18-20.
For one final touch of color, bikers in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge came through Aspen when we were there.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Dale of Aspen Fly Fishing
with Dan's brother Dick

As an early 60th birthday gift for his little brother Scott, Dan arranged a fly fishing expedition during our trip to Aspen. A good friend of Dan's here in Bismarck is the father-in-law of Dale Ratliffe, owner of  Aspen Fly Fishing. Dan called up Dale and set up a morning's fishing on the Roaring Fork River for the three brothers.

Dan's brother Scott with one of his trout

Dan's brother Dick with one of his trout

The brothers caught rainbow trout, brown trout and whitefish. Unfortunately, Dan didn't get a trout. He was only able to fish for only a short time, as the freezing water made his poor ankles "burn". However, he was content to sit in the sun and watch Dale coach his brothers. They report that Dale is an excellent guide and teacher and recommend his services!

Too bad for us that the fish were strictly catch and release, so no fried trout for supper.

Dan had better luck while
golfing with his brothers

Sister-in-law Bonny hiking
Ditch Trail, Snowmass

Meanwhile, my sisters-in-law, Bonny and Dana, went hiking on a trail near The Timbers Lodge in Snowmass, where we stayed.

Magnificent view from
the hiking trail.

Snowmass Valley

Closer view of Snowmass Valley

If you are wondering why there are no photos of me hiking, I was still snoozing in my ultra comfy king-size bed. Besides, there were bear warnings posted, as bears have been seen very close to The Timbers Lodge. I didn't want to be bear bait!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


The Artisan Restaurant

Dan and I just got back from our Second Annual Fredericksen Brothers (Minus One) Reunion in Aspen/Snowmass. Aspen got its start as a Colorado silver mining town in the 1880s. In recent times it has become a destination for the Rich and Famous, especially during ski season. Snowmass Village, where we stayed, is just a few miles away.

Instead of writing one very long post, I am going to write several shorter posts about our trip. I think my favorite aspect of the trip was the dining. We ate at a wide variety of restaurants, some of which Dan and I could not have afforded to eat at had we not been treated by our relatives, and some were just a little bit more spendy than Bismarck restaurants. So here, without further ado, is a culinary tour of Aspen/Snowmass.

The first night of our vacation, we ate at The Artisan Restaurant at the Stonebridge Inn in Snowmass, pictured above. This is the only time we did not dine outside. However, we were close. We were seated next to the windows looking out onto the patio. I had Lollipop Chicken - big chicken drummies flavored with a delicious Thai peanut sauce.

Sunday brunch on the upstairs patio at Bb's Kitchen in Aspen.

I had the Green Eggs and Ham omelet. Green Eggs = eggs with basil pesto sauce, ham = prosciutto. Their homemade toast was most excellent. My brother-in-law Scott had a giant stack of pancakes covered with lemon curd and blueberries. He biked into Aspen to meet us and biked back afterward. He said he needed all those calories for fuel!

Dan enjoying Sunday brunch at Bb's.
He had boring fried eggs and bacon.

Sister-in-law Bonny and brother-in-law Dick
on the terrace of the Eight K Restaurant

My sister-in-law Dana  introduced the rest of us to Moscow Mule cocktails (vodka, ginger beer and lime juice) last year at the Eight K. Dana, Dick, Scott and I opted for them again this year.

My meal that night: taleggio- ("smelly cheese") stuffed Southern Fried Chicken Breast with wild rice risotto and collard greens. I had never tried collard greens before but I liked them, and I did not detect one whiff of smelly cheese in the chicken.

Because Aspen evenings can get cool,  many restaurants have these heat lamps on their patios or terraces. We had this amazing view of the mountains as the sun set and dusk descended.

Peach's Corner Cafe

We stopped here for frappucinos and Italian sodas one afternoon. Peach's is an excellent people- and dog-watching spot. Aspen is very much a dog-loving town, and at one time or another you will see every type of dog ever bred.

Brother-in-law Scott and sister-in-law Dana
hanging out at Peach's.

Su Casa Mexican restaurant

Su Casa had the best chips and salsa and the best chicken fajitas I've ever had.

The Stew Pot, Snowmass

We had lunch at The Stew Pot two days in a row. They feature hearty homemade soups and stews. Our favorites included Beef Barley Soup, French Onion Soup, a hearty Beef Stew and a Rosemary Chicken Stew. I wish I had the recipe for the chicken stew.


Campo de Fiori Italian restaurant, Aspen

From left, Scott, Dana, Dick,
Bonny, myself, Dan

We began with Formaggi e Salumi - cured meats, artisanal cheeses, toasted nuts, and fruit senapita. Dick had the Fettuccine Bolognese, I had the Linguine Positano (with shrimp) and the other four had the Penne Vodka on recommendation of Scott and Dana. Penne vodka is pasta and prosciutto flambĂ©ed with vodka in a light pink sauce. I sampled Dan's and liked it even better than my own.

Are you has hungry as I am? I ate better during the six days of vacation than I will the rest of the year!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


It has been a great week for Dan and me, culminating with his 64th birthday today. Yeah, Dan is 64! You'll recognize this ditty from the Beatles:

When i get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine,
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If i'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When i'm sixty-four?

You'll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.
I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride,
Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?

Yeah, I still need him and I still feed him. Because he is still having difficulty eating meals in the evening, I took him out for brunch today. We went to the Blarney Stone Pub for a pub lunch -  or in his case - a Dublin breakfast of bangers and eggs. Later I made him an angel food cake with buttercream frosting. That's the standard birthday cake for everyone in our household.

On Wednesday, Dan was in Fargo for a CT scan at the VA Hospital. He received the good news that he is still in remission! He's been in remission since April, but it has not been smoothing sailing at all. After the effects of the chemo wore off, he regained his appetite and began a routine of having bacon, eggs and hash browns every single day! Then, he felt like the chemo effects were coming back and lost his appetite. He lost all the weight he had gained back too.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, his right leg swelled to twice its size, and he had pain in his hip and leg. A trip to the ER and a deep-tissue ultrasound showed a horrifying sight: a massive blood clot running from his groin to below his knee. He was immediately admitted and given intravenous blood thinners. He spent two days in the hospital, then a few days at home giving himself heparin shots.

His leg is still swollen and giving him pain. He's been told this may go on for months. He has to go back to Fargo tomorrow to see a cardiologist to make sure the clot was not caused by anything other than a side effect of the chemo drugs. The upside is that his appetite seems to be returning.

I got really good news on Wednesday too. I was hired for a permanent, full-time job with the North Dakota Secretary of State's office (I had been working as a temp there for the past 8 months.) Now I will have full benefits for the first time in more than four years. As the Brits say, I am chuffed!