Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New You...and a Potato, Bacon, Mushroom and Gorgonzola Pizzette

Happy New Year to you and yours....and yes, I am still here.

I's been three months since you heard from me.  Thank you so much to my very sweet friends and family who have reached out asking, "Are you okay, I haven't seen anything on your blog for awhile".  One very dear friend said, "I've missed your blog, it was almost like getting to visit with you for a minute".  That touched my heart more than she will ever know.

So, that being said...we have a lot to catch up on.  Sit back, get comfortable and pour yourself a hot cup of tea (or glass of wine, whichever moves you)'s what's been happening at Front Range Fork and Cork.

When we last "visited", it was the end of September.  After I recuperated from my whirlwind weekend with Felicia I received a great surprise.  My other very dear friend from Alaska, Toni (from A Taste of Alaska) was traveling for business and stopped in town to visit and have dinner with me.  It was so good to see her again, even for just those few hours.  It was like old home week for me in September getting to revisit with dear friends again.

After my visiting schedule settled down, I noticed how very quiet my life got.  My girls became so busy with their college, careers and club volleyball coaching, that I started seeing less and less of them.  It was starting to happen....Last year a few months before the girls graduated high school I made the mistake of reading too much.  I found myself getting drawn into these post high school websites and blogs for parents who were about to become "empty nesters".

They all kept chanting the same that your children have left the nest, what are you going to do?  Do you remember who you were before you had children?  What are you going to do with yourself now that you children no longer need you in their everyday lives?....and I had never been so depressed.  I don't know if I was in denial or if I just couldn't take reading about it and the reminder of it everyday.  I came to my senses and "unsubscribed" to the sites, literally and figuratively.  I was so proud of both of them and everything they were accomplishing.  They were doing and experiencing more than I ever could have imagined when I was their age.  Enough of feeling sorry for myself, I had to get it together and figure out what I was going to do now with this new life and times..."a new you", I figured.

October came and I started up the month long assisting for an annual fundraiser I help with (Dancing With The Silver Creek Stars), for the girls former high school.  Super fun event full of amazing prizes, dinner, and entertainment.  I look forward to it every year.  Our house always looks like a wedding shower with more cellophane wrapped baskets that I can count, when I am working on the silent auction items.

October also brought a few major changes in my life.  After over twenty years in the residential design/construction industry it was time to take a hard look at my future and I knew a career change was inevitable.  So after much reflection, prayer and thought, I took a leap of faith.  Not the kind of leap that takes you over a small puddle, but more of a leap out of an airplane....praying that your chute is going to open at the correct time.  Like they say....timing is everything.

The opportunity presented itself at absolutely the perfect time.  I am now working in the world of law.  It is like nothing I can explain or have ever experienced.  It has brought me to new avenues and challenges me everyday more than I could have ever prepared for.  It is fast paced and stressful at times...not like a I am going to lose my mind stress....more of a high energy exhilarating kind of stress.  When one of the partners called me for the offer, she said not to bring my lunch on my first day.  They have a tradition at their firm...her philosophy is, "everyone always remembers their first day of work".  In that tradition, the new person picks what they want for lunch (on their first day), they have it catered in for the whole staff and everyone eats together your first day, so you can all get to know each other.  I have never heard of a company doing this, and she was right....I will never forget that first day.

So, now I had a new job and you know what that hair!

I grew my hair out for over a year and now needed a "new you change".  Once again I have learned a life lesson, just because I can do something, doesn't mean I should.  I just cannot pull of the long hair like others my age.  It works beautifully for some, but not this girl, and I am okay with that.  I referred to my style mentor Kathrine Banning (a.k.a. Renee Russo from Thomas Crowne Affair) and told my new best friend Selena at Inspire Salon, "let's do this"!

The downside of Katherine Banning is now I have an addiction of Michael Kors and Calvin Klein.  All I can say is thank God for vintage clothiers and discount retail stores (you know me, never pay full price for fabulous)!....and speaking of shopping, is it me, or has Old Navy completely stepped up their game, super cute styles there now.  As I was shopping on Black Friday for the girls' Christmas gifts, I ended up walking out of there with more clothes for me, than them (for my new work wardrobe, of course).  Sorry girls...(not sorry).

In November, I had a very special opportunity present itself .  At Mass one Sunday, I was reading their bulletin.  There was an announcement looking for Adoration volunteers for one hour every week.  It said, "It will be the best hour of your week you will look forward to".  I thought, I certainly have an hour, one night a week to give.  I signed up.  They were so right....I look forward to this one hour every single week.  I plan my schedules around it.  It is one hour of complete silence, reflection, mediation and prayer.  There are no distractions, electronics or conversation...just you, your thoughts and special quiet time.

As my new job has a bit of a commute for me, I discovered the RTD bus line.  On those days I don't need my car at work, I am now a bus commuter...and I love it.  It is so relaxing in the morning to do reading or creative writing and the rides home, gives me 45 minutes of down time to regenerate.  Last year I read an article "10 books you must read before they hit the big screen".  I have already read 3 of them during my commutes and now have become a fan of reading again.

During these commutes and my off time, I am also working on other fun.  I have been volunteering for some friends with their start-up company "The GaterTop", with their creative department.  You have to check out this amazing outdoor, recreational table that goes anywhere and everywhere.  Super versatile and easy to use.  You can also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

That brings us to December.  You all know how interesting December can be for me....husband's birthday, two weeks later Christmas, three days later, twins birthday, three days later New Years.  This year I hacked my husband's phone and threw him a surprise birthday party at our house with a few of his golf buddies and our neighbors.

I had to keep coming up with excuses why we couldn't decorate for Christmas and buy our tree.  (He didn't know that I needed that space for the birthday party drink bar).  He thought I had gone completely "Ba humbug" and was losing it.  Well, the downside to waiting so long to purchase our tree, was there wasn't much to choose from at that point.  It was so bad that I ended up finding one at one of the "big box stores" (without the top).  I negotiated them down on the price (you know me), and my husband had to "McGyver up" a piece of 2x4 to hold up our sweet angel, so she could watch over us.

The end of December I had to say good-bye to a very long tradition.  The past twelve years I have made a family calendar with all the goings on of our family's previous year.  It always had milestones, school portraits, Halloween costumes, and vacation photos.  Since the girls graduated this past May, there were no more "first day of school" pictures.  They made me promise not to take a picture of them on their first day of college, I understood and agreed.  So, no more family calendars (and no more feeling sorry for myself).  They are all great memories to look through and treasure for years to come.  Oh, don't worry, I am still taking pictures of them and driving them crazy though...I am still a mom, after all!

A lasting memory also came at the end of December.  After twenty-five years, I was reunited with a couple of my college friends.  Strange how things happen...out of nowhere, I find out one of them was in town for a couple days...then I found out two others live only 45 minutes from me.  At the last minute, we were able to coordinate and have dinner together.  Other than a few extra pounds and wrinkles I have acquired, it truly felt like not a day had was like we were back in the dorm halls one more time.  So much fun to visit with them, get caught up on their families and where their lives have taken them...and so many great laughs.  Truly, a great gift to end the year....thank you ladies!

One last measure with my new you attitude and time, I decided to start a Bunco group.  I played in a fundraiser last year and forgot how much fun the game was.  I was in a group about ten years ago and loved it.  I decided to reach out to some other ladies that I knew from the girls' friends and school and see where it goes.  Our first monthly get together is in a couple weeks and I am so excited.  Stay tuned for those stories and should be very interesting!  Women , wine, dice and prizes at stake...always makes for a great evening.

Well, that is the past three months...I'm sure there is more and when I remember them during one of my 2 am insomnia episodes or commuting bus rides, I will be sure to blog about it.  Until then, may you have a very blessed 2018 full of health and happiness...(and maybe even new hair for you too).  Cheers!

Potato, Bacon, Mushroom and Gorgonzola Pizzette
(Inspired by too many leftovers one weekend)

1 - Stonefire Artisan Flatbread
1 - 8 ounce container Aloutte, Spinach and Artichoke spread
8 sliced baby bella mushrooms
6 slices, cooked, crumbled bacon
1 cup of roasted red, yellow and purple fingerling potatoes, sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced and sauteed
1 - 4 ounce container, Gorgonzola cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Schmear (yes, that is a technical term), the Aloutte spread all over the flatbread.

Add a layer of potatoes, shallot, mushrooms and bacon.  Sprinkle the crumbled Gorgonzola cheese all over.

Bake on a parchment lined cookies sheet for approximately 20 minutes (or until cheese starts to melt).  Cut into appetizer sized squares and enjoy with a chilled, buttery Chardonnay or Prosecco.

One Year Ago: One Year Older
Two Years Ago:Mexican Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad
Three Years Ago: Crepes
Four Years Ago: Roasted Shrimp

  Maybe my new Bunco gals would like this one?

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