Haiti

January 13, 2010

a moment of prayer for Haiti.

www.mercycorp.com

www.american.redcross.org

www.doctorswithoutborders.org

www.savethechildren.org

www.imcworldwide.org

www.yele.org

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The Bride’s Pick

January 13, 2010

I hope we can keep John’s feet on the ground.  He informed me recently–and surely I should have known this–that Elite Limousine was awarded The Bride’s Book Reader’s Choice Award in the transportation category for Asheville.  What makes this award so special is that the brides actually choose the recipients.   This is the third year that Elite has been so honored.  

Now, I’ll tell you what would be absolutely delicious.  If one of these ol’ days, The Trolley Company beat out Elite for that top spot.  Don’t tell John, but that’s my goal.

Shivveerrring

January 13, 2010

We aren’t the only ones shivering.  So are our trolleys.  There we were, hours away from the first wedding show in Forest City and The Duchess’ air lines refused to gain pressure.   I knew it was not a good sign when the phone rang at 11 pm.  My daughter yells up the stairs, “It’s John and he says The Duchess won’t start.”   I just turned back over.  There is something about 15 degree weather that sends our southern species into hibernation and trolleys into temperature tandrums.

Chicky Babe

January 2, 2010

Those who read the last post should not be surprised at the humor.  Anyone who lived through last year had to own a sense of humor to have survived that economic tsunami known as 2009.  However, this is a New Year with all it’s anticipated hope.  Let’s give it our best shot.

Now, back to the wedding festival.  I love companies, writers, and anyone  who knows how to get their point across without a dour finger wagging.  I just have to share with you some of my favorites from the “28 Sure-Fire Ways to Fail at a Bridal Show.”

2.   Treat the show like you are on vacation.
5.   Staff Reunion.
9.   Read the newspaper.
12. Bring your kids.
13. Wing your display at the booth.
22. Remember, the more stuff at your booth, the better.
26. If you are a D.J., be sure to play your music real loud.  If the brides leave the booth and their ears are not bleeding, you did it all wrong.

and 28.  Greet every bride by using the phrase girlie, chicky or baby.  They love it!

Oh, yeh, sure.

Boysenberry Bows

January 2, 2010

Well, I guess we will just have to put on our silver hubcaps and boysenberry bows.  What else can we wear considering that the Duchess is painted green and the theme of the upcoming bridal show is anything but?  Take a look:
 

“Asheville-“Metropolitan”Color: Boysenberry/ Silver Texture: Glass / Metal / Water / Orchids / SatinTall square glass towers filled with water and orchids simulating sky scrapers. White lounge benches for the wedding instead of chairs, silver satin overlays and lots of square shapes including the tables and chandeliers.”

Now, nobody should misinterpret this as poking fun at Marc and Colleen of Wedding Festivals.  Quite honestly, I appreciate the professional way that they approach their events.  Every “i” is doted and every “T” is crossed.  But as you can see, a bridal show presents some special challenges for a trolley company.  I mean suppose their “metropolitan” clashes with our “art deco?”  And when that vehicle moves any sky scraper exhibit inside is making way for urban renewal. 

 I’m just glad dark forest green goes with boysenberry. 

Glory

December 31, 2009

No, it’s not all glory.  I can tell you that.  Today, in 40 degree weather, I was on my hands and knees cleaning the floor of the Duchess.  She is going out on her first wedding of the new year tomorrow and I wanted to make sure she was sparkly.  Mr. Kreinke was there cleaning the windows and we exchanged pleasant conversations that ventured into the personal.  You never know about the personal lives of others until you step inside their circle.  Don’t you think we spend most of our time circling outside of everyone’s circle?  Is it fear of rejection or fear of obligation?

He told me a very interesting story.  It seems his wife had painful fibromyalgia for ten years.  She took considerable medication for this condition but was still prevented from most activities.   However a very strange thing took place last year.  Mrs. Kreinke suffered a severe stroke and was near death.  With intervention above and below she recovered.  As she did, she discovered that her fibromyalgia was completely gone.  Now she bikes and hikes and does all manner of activities free of pain.  We are still a mystery, aren’t we?

Gingerbread Magic

December 28, 2009

I have decided that when I have time, I am going to start tracing the history of trolleys.  Please remember that etiquette  demands that you never refer to our trolleys as buses.  Yes, we know, but we prefer to acknowledge them as fond relatives as opposed to distant associates of those early modes of transportation.   

But before the sparkle leaves me, I want to comment on the Gingerbread Tours.  I finally got to take it this past weekend. (Yes, I paid for my ticket.)  I spent a lot of time observing the other guests because I was really curious to see if they were enjoying themselves and thought the $30 per ticket was a good value.  Yeh, when you come from a large urban area, you tend to by a little cynical about these things. 

I’m not sure if it was the sentimentality, or the memories it evoked or the grandeur of the houses, but these guests were joyous.  I finally got the courage to ask a family who had flown in from California if they thought the value of the tour was appropriate to the cost.  I was reticent because introducing a thought can sometimes reroute a thought.  The mother of the family thought about it a minute and then said,  “For what you get, it is worth it.”  By the end of the evening, I agreed.  So, Innkeepers, “Hats Off” to you for creating  a memorable magical event.

PS.  I don’t know who created that gingerbread fudge, but it was amazing.

Peaks and Valleys

December 26, 2009

Alright, Young Ladies, did he propose on Christmas Day?  Or is he waiting on Valentine’s Day to pop up with Punxsutawney Phil?  Here is a little advice–and oh my goodness,  are you going to get a lot of that in the next several months–prepare for the valley.   Married life is definitely a roller coaster and not a moon launch.  And nothing takes you downhill like money.  Either fighting over it, not enough of it, too many girl toys, too many boy toys, not enough square footage, too much tempation and a savings account nowhere in sight.  However, I know you are going to be prudent and keep those nights on the town and multiple shoes to a minimum.  Right?  To help you get through those trying weeks, here is my penny saver soup which is wonderful and easy to make. 

Penny Saver Soup

1 Med. Onion  (sweet onions are best)
2 cloves garlic
3 T olive oil (can use veg. oil)
1 stalk celery
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can northern beans
1 can kidney beans (can use black beans, black eye peas, etc.)
2 c. water
2 tsp. beef bouillon or vegetable bouillon
1 tsp Italian spices

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil.  Add tom and celery.  Rinse beans, add.  Add water, bouillon, spices.  Stir well.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

Easy, delicious, can be doubled, lots of variations–macaroni, carrots, etc-and easy on the budget.  Those valleys like this recession won’t last forever but the discipline to stick to a realistic lifestyle will give you a lifetime of happiness.

Wedding Bells

December 26, 2009

Right before Christmas a big white envelope arrived.  What could it be?  Inside was an elegant invitation for the upcoming wedding show in Asheville January 16th. (weddingfestivals.com) I think this is going to be fun.  All those elegant dreamy things in one place…including our trolley.  Well, well now, a trolley can be dreamy.  It’s all in the eyes of the beholder and I am a trolley beholder (as well as the bank.) 

We are hard at work planning for the event.  Or should I say, I’m hard at work planning our presence at this event.  It’s like that you know when you work with a bunch of guys.  You know–*we* cook the turkey and they watch us cook it.  I realize this is somewhat unfair since the guys at Elite work pretty darn hard keeping those vehicles polished and running. 

Let’s see, checking that list twice–tablecloth, trays, flowers, brochures, pictures and of course just loving what we’re doing.  And we really do.

Warm Memories

December 20, 2009

When my children were growing up we had a snowy tradition.  Whenever those flakes started falling I would make cinnamon rolls.  Not the quick and easy method mind you, but the old fashioned stir and rise treasures.  I don’t know which was better–the oven aromas that filled the kitchen or the cinnamon rolls.   Yesterday as the storm rolled through, I got a call from my daughter, “Mom, how do you make those cinnamon rolls?”

Cinnamon and/or Orange Rolls

Basic Dough

4 1/2  cups all purpose flour
1 pkg rapid rise yeast
1  tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3  T Butter
3  eggs

Warm milk, but do not scald.  Mix in sugar and salt to dissolve.  Add in 3 T butter to melt.  Cool the mixture to lukewarm and stir in yeast.  Beat eggs add to milk mixture and stir  into the flour.  Stir to form a soft dough.   At this point it will be sticky.  Remove it onto a lightly floured surface and knead only a few times.  If the dough is too sticky, you can handle the dough by putting oil on your hands.  Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl in a warm place and let it rise.  If  it’s cold in the kitchen, put your oven on warm, warm the oven, then turn it off and put the bowl in the oven. 

After the first rise, punch it down and put in on a lightly floured surface. (If you don’t have a pastry cloth frame, make that your next purchase.  It is so fabulous.  That’s the only way I ever learned to make pie crust without a ton of flour ruining the light texture.  A pie crust will not stick to a lightly floured canvas pastry cloth.)   Roll it to a rectangular shape.  You are ready for either cinnamon rolls or orange rolls or whatever you invent.

Cinnamon:  Brush on a light coating of butter (2 T).  Spread 1/2 cup of light or dark brown sugar.  (Please remember that just about anything in a recipe is adjustable.  Here is one place in this recipe that is.  Like more sugar?  Like less sugar?  You can adjust that at this point.)  Dust with 2 tsp. cinnamon.   Spread 1/2 cup raisins.  (I don’t want to hear the screams from you two over the raisins!)  Roll up the long end and seal at the end with a little bit of water.  Cut into 1 inch pinwheels.  Place these on a baking sheet that has been lightly greased with shortening.  Place them slightly apart so that they can rise to meet each other.  (I like soft sides. If you don’t, place them farther apart so they don’t touch in the final rise.)  When they have risen, bake at 350 degrees for approx 20 minutes or until lightly golden.  Brush with butter out of the oven.  Glaze with 1/2 cup of confectionary sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a teeny bit of milk blended together.  Charge $1 for each delicious morsel and you are well on your way to your own 401K

Orange version:  1/2 cup granulated sugar.  1/4 tsp of orange extract, 1 T grated orange peel.  In a jar, mix the sugar, orange extract.  Shake the jar until the flavor is distributed.   Add the orange peel and shake again.  (I bet you could put all three together and it would be okay.)  Spread melted butter (2 T) on rectangle and proceed with construction as above.  For the glaze, mix 1/2 cup confectionary sugar with a teeny bit of orange juice.  You can also add a drop or two of orange extract for more orange flavor.

Bon apetit!