Sister Adventure in Fort Collins, Colorado

When I was writing the post 2022 in Review: A Year in Travel I realized there are a couple adventures in 2022 I did not blog about that I meant to but time got away from me and I forgot.

One of those adventures was a trip to Fort Collins, Colorado with my sister in July 2022.

After wandering around downtown Denver for a day, we headed out on a road trip to Fort Collins. I love traveling with my sister, we always have a grand time! The road trip was only around 1.5 hours but provided plenty of time to chat and listen to good music.

I offered to pay for our accommodations in Fort Collins, since she had paid to fly from her home in Virginia to Denver, Colorado and instead of a traditional hotel experience I decided to try out an Airbnb experience. I am going to assume that everyone has heard of Airbnb but if you haven’t it is where you stay at someone’s private home which may be occupied also by the owner or unoccupied and you have the property to yourself.

I usually prefer unoccupied because I always sort of feel like I am intruding in someone’s life but I’ve had some fun experiences staying at occupied properties.

Well I found the coolest Airbnb rental in Fort Collins, occupied, that came with a dog on the premises and a really peaceful and zen environment. It turned out the owners were just as awesome as the accomodations.

Here are some photos of the property we stayed it (my sister and I shared their guest room):

Except for the owner’s bedroom and their home office, the entire home was open to us to enjoy. There were so many awesome places to sit and relax (and meditate if you like). I got up early each morning and sat on their enclosed porch with a book.

They also had a couple bikes that guest could use for free (the home is not too far from downtown Fort Collins) and my sister and I had fun one morning biking to breakfast. I don’t remember where we ate breakfast but it was really delicious!

It was my sister’s first time to Fort Collins and we had so much fun sightseeing in Old Town/downtown Fort Collins. There are endless little boutique shops, places to eat, etc. in a less than a mile radius. We also visited my favorite thrift shop in Fort Collins – Brand Spanking Used, as my sister also loves thrifting (she is the one who got me into thrifting).

John and I have talked about maybe moving to Fort Collins, CO someday. We really love that town and it’s a great quick weekend getaway place. The only thing is they get more snow and intense weather than Denver as Fort Collins is located right near the Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park area. But I do love Rocky Mountain National Park – I can’t wait to return there again (see my post on my first amazing visit to this national park Rocky Mountain National Park).

Wherever we move, if we move, it will have to be a one story house (okay if it has a basement), as this broken ankle has made me acutely away of how challenging stairs can be when your mobility is impaired! Our house it too big for two people (and a small dog) and perhaps someday we’ll put it up for sale and let a family enjoy it!

Okay so back to the trip (got sidetracked there for a minute), in addition to fun wanderings around Fort Collins and a beautiful Airbnb, what made the trip really special were our awesome Airbnb hosts. It didn’t feel like we were staying at an Airbnb, it felt like we were staying at a friends’ house!

We had some many amazing conversations with the hosts, some of them late into the night. They were such an awesome couple and we had deep conversations about life as well as lots of laughs! Here we are on the last day of our visit (they did not want us to leave):

The joy on our faces was real – we had such a fun selfie photoshoot and could’t stop laughing when they tried to work the dog into to the selfie!

My sister and I always have cool and unique Airbnb experiences when we travel together. I remember staying at an awesome Airbnb during our sister’s trip to Glenwood Springs (see post Train Ride to Glenwood Springs, CO and More – Part III) that was a “bed and breakfast”, and each morning at breakfast we’d chat with other guests who were visiting from different countries. Breakfast each morning was such a treat!

John doesn’t care for the Airbnb experience and he would not have enjoyed that while in Fort Collins we shared a bathroom with our hosts. He likes to stay at a nice hotel. I do also but when I am traveling with my sister Airbnb seems to be the way to have the most unique travel experience!

A Crafter's Life, tierneytravels

2022 in Review: A Year in Travel

As promised, here is a blog post about all my travel in 2022. But before I dive into that, let me share why travel in 2023 will likely not be the same volume as 2022.

A nasty slip on the ice on January 11, 2023 led to an ankle dislocation and a tibial fracture. I was just taking Mike out for his morning walk and SURPRISE! It looked pretty bad when I first did it but the surgeon I met with today said it was a common ankle fracture.

I have surgery on Thursday January 19 to get some delightful plates and screws inserted into my ankle area and rebuild me. It will be a 6 month recovery. He said a couple weeks post-op if I really wanted I could travel but I likely won’t be feeling it for a while!

I had a dental appointment yesterday and my dentist did share that he had the same type of injury a couple of years ago, recovered fine and is now running again and snowboarding. He is near my age and really active. Right now all I am thinking about it how much I will miss my morning walks with Mike the Miniature Schnauzer while listening to audiobooks.  Also a couple fun trips 2023 got cancelled – we were headed next week to Atlanta, GA for a conference John needed to attend; we had a trip to Cabo planned; we had a New Mexico roadtrip with my sister planned; we had a family trip to Barcelona Spain (with a side trip to Lisbon Portugal to meet up with some friends of John’s there); and a little weekend trip to Las Vegas. Maybe the Universe was telling us to slow down as we’ve gone a little crazy traveling post pandemic!

Well enough on my new found reality. let’s talk about all the travel I did in 2022, good memories (queue Barbara Streisand singing…)

2022 A Year of Travel

John and I went a little crazy with travel in 2022 in a post pandemic explosion of saying yes to most travel opportunities presented our way. For domestic (U.S.) travel we had the SW Airlines Companion Pass (that we had earned in 2021 for 2022) and so I could fly for basically free ($11 fee each way) whenever John flew.

We had a busy combination of personal and business travel within the U.S. and a trip to Ireland. Here’s where we went:

Chicago, Illinois (three visits)

If you count our short trip to Chicago at the beginning of January 2023, we visited Chicago three times in less than 3 months. Our trips included two business trips for John and one trip to meet up with my brother and his family in Chicago as my brother was there for a business trip. Here’s a blog post link about one of the 2022 trips to Chicago – Chicago in Black and White

Richmond, Virginia & Washington D.C.

The saga of our trip to Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA in order to spend Christmas with my family and the subsequent travel drama is contained in these posts: A Christmas and A New Years Miracle? (Part I), and A Christmas and a New Years Miracle? (Part II)

Austin, Texas (two visits)

In 2022 we went to Austin, Texas twice on business trips for John. It is a very cool city and I had an amazing time at the downtown Austin library (a magical place!). Here is one blog posts related to some of our Austin, Texas travel in 2022 –Peaceful Oasis at the Austin Central Library .

Las Vegas, Nevada (three visits)

We visited Las Vegas three times in 2022 for fun – twice on our own and once with friends. On one of the trips I took a bunch of black and white photos on “old downtown Las Vegas” – the Fremont Street Experience area, and shared them in this post –Downtown L as Vegas in Black and White


Atlanta, Georgia (one visit)

I probably should have written a post about our visit to Atlanta, Georgia in November 2022 as I took a lot of cool photos, but I’ll share some of them here. The airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, is really cool and we loved the art to include a simulated rainforest at night experience in one of the main moving walkway areas; and a wonderful tribute to the late U.S. Representative John Lewis:

We spent time wandering about the Krog District a really cool shopping and arts district. They had another tribute to John Lewis as graffiti on a building (they had lots of awesome graffiti art in the district); as well as a display of some amazing recycled metal parts (including automotive parts) sculptures:

Portland, Oregon (one visit)

I blogged about my awesome trip to rainy Portland Oregon in December 2022 in the post A Little Reunion in Portland Oregon. Although it was cold and rainy it was fun to visit Powell’s Book and other cool places in the Pearl District of downtown Portland.

Fayetteville, Arkansas (one visit)

I went to Fayetteville, AR for the first time to meet up with my friend MJ and help a friend organize her crafting/art studio. Here are the blog posts about that adventure: Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part I, Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part IIGuest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part III and Cute and Curious Kitty Quilt Trunk Show .

New York City, New York (one visit)

We spent a day in NYC before heading overnight to Dublin, Ireland. Perhaps I am cheating but I will go ahead and call this a visit to NYC!

Omaha, Nebraska (one visit)

We had a brief trip to Omaha, Nebraska for John’s business meeting in October. I was bummed to learn after the trip that we were not to far from one of my knitting goddess blogging buddies @mildly granola who lives in Iowa, and we could have met up for an adult beverage!

I could have done a post on the Omaha visit but I was distracted from travel and then too much time passed and I forgot about blogging about the trip. So here are some photos of the fun we had one afternoon in Omaha’s Old Market:

Fun shops we visited in Old Market included the Christmas store Tannenbaum (which had the most unusual and perhaps disturbing Nativity Scene I’ve ever seen); Raygun (which had a hysterical sign on the front window); the Imaginarium ;as well as the Monster Grub Pub (a horror themed pub!):

St. Petersburg, Florida (via Tampa, FL)  (one visit)

In September we went to St. Petersburg, FL for the opening of the Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show in which my art quilt Langston Hughes, Pioneer Poet was included. Here are blog posts related to that adventure: Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part I , Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part II , and Black Pioneers: Legacy in the American West show opening weekend, Part III .

Ireland (Dublin, Galway, Doolin)

In October 2022 we journeyed to Ireland for the first time along with the tierneycreates and John Beastie in tow. I still have another blog post or two to write about the trip, but here are the blog posts that tierneycreates Beastie and I have shared so far: Guest Blog Post: Beasties Return to Ireland! , Guest Blog Post: The Beasties’ Ireland Travelogue (Part I) , and Guest Blog Post: The Beasties’ Ireland Travelogue (Part II).

Shelton, Washington (via Seattle, WA)

In July 2022 I went on a quilt retreat in Shelton, WA on the water. The tierneycreates Beastie and I did a series of blog post about that adventure: Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I, Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II, and Riptide Retreat 2022 in Black and White .

Hamilton, Missouri (via Kansas City, MO)

In March 2022 I attended a Missouri Star Quilt Company quilt retreat. Here are the series of blog posts about this adventure: MSQC Quilt Retreat Part I: What I Worked On, MSQC Quilt Retreat Part II: Quilt Town, USA ,MSQC Retreat Part III: Inside the Shops, MSQC Quilt Retreat Part IV: Greatest Fabric Scrap Sale of All Time and ,MSQC Quilt Retreat Part V: The Retreat Center Experience.


Wilmington, North Carolina (via Raleigh, NC)

We had to travel to Wilmington, NC for a work conference John needed to attend. We flew into Raleigh, NC, rented a car and drove to Wilmington. Here is a blog post about time in Raleigh –Trip to North Carolina: Fun Evening in Downtown Raleigh.

Here are blog posts about the rest of the trip: Trip to North Carolina: The Ocean and Trip to North Carolina: Quilt Shop Wander

Various Roadtrips in Colorado

During the year we also did various roadtrips in Colorado such as weekend trips to Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, CO. Here are some 2022 blog posts about my adventures in Colorado Springs, CO Seven Falls in B&W , Guest Blog Post: How to Completely Terrify Your Miniature Schnauzer,Breakfast Buffet and Confused Deer, and A Little Luxurious Getaway. Writing this post made me realize I never did a post on the very fun trip I took with my sister to Fort Collins Colorado in July. Okay that will be a future post.

So currently all my 2023 travel plans have been cancelled and I am adjusting to my new limited mobility reality. But my ankle will heal and I’ll be back traveling later in 2023.


A Christmas and a New Years Miracle? (Part II)

Picking up where I left off on the Part I post of my holiday travel saga – A Christmas and A New Years Miracle? (Part I).

Before we boarded the plane to Richmond, Virginia, we suddenly had so many logistics to handle like cancelling our Amtrak train tickets from Washington, DC to Richmond for the next day and cancelling the hotel for that evening in D.C. We also needed to rearrange our hotel accommodations in Richmond at the Linden Row Inn to start a day earlier. It was a made rush on the phone and online before getting on the plane but we were so happy to be going directly to Richmond, VA to start our Christmas holiday with my family!

While in Richmond we had fun exploring downtown Richmond and Carytown with my sister and then a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my brother, his wife, their son and of course my sister and her husband and son.

Christmas Eve we stopped by my sister’s favorite distillery Trial & Error and did some whiskey and infused vodka tasting which was fun!

My brother’s son, my 10 year old nephew, brought some of his stuffed animals for me to repair (I had my trusty traveling needle and thread) while we were together, so I did a couple “surgical” procedures on his “well loved” stuffed friends while we visited:

On the 26th of December it was time for John and I to say goodbye and take Amtrak train to Washington D.C. to catch our flight back to Denver on Wednesday the 27th. We were staying overnight in D.C. and in the morning going to sightsee a tiny bit before heading to the airport.

We were feeling so grateful that Christmas with my family was a success as we sat on the train headed to D.C. when a couple things suddenly happened

First the train ahead of us hit a parked car on the track (luckily no one was inside the car) and our train was stopped for a hour or so while the crash was resolved.

Then we got a message from Southwest Airlines that our flight to Denver from D.C. on December 27th was CANCELED. Just cancelled with no rescheduling. We had a message to see an airline agent to re-book.

So once we got into D.C. instead of heading to our hotel, we took an Uber to Ronald Reagan Airport to see what was up. Boy were we in for a surprise! We didn’t have all the details at the time but SW Airlines had completed melted down. They cancelled all flights across the country for Wednesday to Friday, halting their operations until they regrouped. It made the national news and the U.S. Department of Transportation said they were going to put the airlines under investigation as they stranded thousands of people after the Christmas holiday.

We got to the SW Airlines ticket counter and we were told there were no flights until Saturday December 31st! So we were stranded in D.C. from Tuesday Dec 27 until Saturday Dec 31!!!!!

Here are links to a couple of the news stories that summarizes what happened with SW Airlines:

Why Southwest is melting down (CNN)

Southwest Airlines flight cancellations continue to snowball

A wonderful summary on Wikipedia:

2022 Southwest Airlines flight delays

And one of the many videos of news stories of the travel nightmare that hit the U.S. courtesy of SW Airlines:

There are numerous sad stories of families missing major holiday vacations and missing luggage. The airport was filled with people who had been basically camping at the airport and long lines of people trying to find their luggage or speak with a gate agent.

John and I were upset as we were missing our dog Mike and looking forward to returning home to him, we had parked our car the airport and had to incur 4 – 5 more days of daily charges; and we now had to incur the cost of a hotel for 4 additional nights as well as food. Plus we had packed light and our clothes really needed a laundering (and we had run out of clean underwear!). Also we had planned to be home way before New Years Eve and enjoy a couple days at home, and New Years Eve, etc. before the New Year began.

So now you might be wondering – why didn’t we just book a flight home on another airline as the other airlines had not melted down and were operating as normal? Well we checked every airline that could get us to Denver and flights up through Friday ranged for a one way flight from $2100 to $4300 per person (only last minute first class flights were available on other airlines). It was much less expensive to stay in the D.C. area until Saturday and fly home at no additional cost via SW Airlines.

But we decided to make the best of it and see it as a forced vacation in Washington D.C.

We decided to only stay one night at the hotel we booked near the White House area in D.C. and move to stay in Alexandria, Virginia, which is sort of suburb of D.C. for the rest of our stay. It is a safer area, has the wonderful Old Town Alexandria to wander about, is right on the Metro line (DC area transit system), and is only two stops from Ronald Reagan Airport which we would eventually fly home from.

Wednesday the 28th we wandered around Old Town Alexandria and had a fun time despite our situation. I’ll do a separate blog post on that as this wandering involved an absolutely awesome yarn shop as well as fabric shop!

Thursday we decided to spend 1 – 2 days in Washington D.C. playing tourist. We both wanted to see the Library of Congress and although I’ve been to D.C. many times since I grew up on the East Coast, I’d never been to the Supreme Court and wanted to see that. We figured we could also fit in some Smithsonian Museums too!

Here we are at the King Street Metro Station in Alexandria about to head back into Washington D.C. for our first day of sightseeing at our nation’s capital on Thursday December 29th:

In addition to that separate post on our adventures in Old Town Alexandria, I’ll have a separate post on our adventures in D.C.

But we only spent one day in D.C….why? Because another miracle happened, one I like to call THE NEW YEARS MIRACLE.

The afternoon of Thursday December 29th, we had just finished visiting the Supreme Court building and went to wait on line at the Library of Congress for a tour. While on line we discovered we could only get into the building with “timed entry tickets” which we had to buy online, and they were sold out for the day. John got online and got us timed entry tickets for Friday so we could try again during are planned day 2 of touring D.C.

As we were exiting the line, a large family group was confused as to where they needed to wait on line to get into the Library of Congress. We stopped to help them and pointed them to the line. They asked us how was the Library of Congress and we explained we couldn’t get in because the timed entry tickets were sold out. Well they said they had TWO EXTRA tickets and we could join their group and get in!

We were so happy as this left more time the next day to see other things in D.C. and we were really looking forward to touring the Library of Congress, one of the few venues in D.C. neither of us had seen.

Little did we know this was part one of a two part miracle, as while we were touring the Library of Congress we got a text that SW Airlines was restoring regular operations.

We looked at their flights online and saw there were flights on FRIDAY from D.C. to Denver AND one flight that evening back to Denver!

We quickly ended our day in D.C. and took the Metro to Ronald Reagan Airport to see a SW Airlines ticket agent! We convinced them to put us on the Thursday evening flight and not to charge us the $700+ dollars the flight cost.

The we rushed back to our hotel, which was 2 Metro stops away, packed as fast as we could and headed back to the airport! Amazingly our hotel, Embassy Suites heard our saga and kindly refunded us our hotel room charges for Thursday and Friday night (another part of the miracle, like perhaps a part three)!

And late Thursday December 29th we returned to Denver! Two days earlier than Saturday (huge smile)!

In addition to being able to return home earlier than planned, we were so grateful to the people we randomly met who shared their tickets to the Library of Congress with us as (little did we know at the time) we would not be in town the next day to see it!

So that’s the shorter version of our holiday travel saga, I’d put you to sleep if I provided all the details, ha!

I’ll close out with a couple of humorous airplane travel memes courtesy of demilked.com:


A Christmas and A New Years Miracle? (Part I)

Happy New Years to all of you, I hope 2023 is spectacular for you!

I spent Christmas on the “East Coast” of the U.S. with my family this year, and I have a bit of a travel saga to share. John and I met up with my sister and her family; and my brother and his family in Richmond, Virginia to celebrate the holiday. But this trip involved a “bomb cyclone” in Denver, below zero degree Fahrenheit temperatures, numerous flight delays and a major airline meltdown.

It was the first time in many years spending the actual Christmas holiday with my siblings and their families. When I lived in Oregon (West Coast of the U.S.) we avoided cross country travel during the holidays as it is always a “hot mess” at the airports. We always visited before or after the holidays. After I moved to Denver in 2019, the plan was in 2020 spend Christmas on the East Coast with my family as now I lived 1/2 way across the country.

But we all know what happened in 2020 (hint it involves the word “pandemic”).

Then we were going to make it happen in 2021 and there was a national situation involving the word “variant”, and we decided to wait another year.

So this was the year it was going to happen and “come h*ll or high water” John and I were going to make it to the East Coast for Christmas with my family! Our plan, which we thought was fool-proof (but only fools think that, ha!) was to first fly into Washington, D.C. where there are always numerous flights and options, stay the night there, and then take Amtrak train from Washington D.C. to Richmond, Virginia (which has very few flights from Denver).

Before I tell your the story of our travel saga, let me first share some photos with the darling resident kitty Annabelle (who liked to take “selfies”) at the Linden Row Inn in Richmond, Virginia where John and I stayed during our family holiday:

More on our visit to Richmond and eventually Alexandria Virginia and Washington, D.C. in a future post. But when our travel adventure began at the Denver International Airport (DIA) we thought we were not going to make it.

A couple days before Christmas a bomb cyclone was due to hit Denver, Colorado. We found out our original flight on SW Airlines was cancelled and they would not allow us to schedule a new flight over the phone or on line – we were informed we had to do it in person at the airport! John went to the airport and was able to get us another flight, very early in the morning (5:05 am).

The only problem was the night before our early morning flight the bomb cyclone it and Denver got a MAJOR snowstorm and temperatures dropped to 15 degrees BELOW ZERO Fahrenheit (-15 F)…and that is -26 degrees Celsius for my blogging buddies outside the U.S. John’s son was originally going to drive us to the airport but the weather was treacherous and his car was not up to it. We looked at getting an Uber or a Lyft ride share ride but they were limited with the terrible weather.

So we decided to drive it ourselves and leave our car at the airport. It was a long “sphincter-puckering” drive on snow and ice to the airport. Luckily John has lived in Colorado most his life and is an experienced snowstorm driver.

The roads were not the scariest part of the drive, the other drivers that were either whizzing by or driving 10 miles an hour on the highway were the scariest part!

But we got to the airport 2 hours early for our flight! We were overjoyed (and we able to un-pucker our sphincters!)

But then the plane could not board passengers as the airline could not get it de-iced. They could only keep crews out for 10 minutes at a time in the sub-zero temperatures for safety reasons (like frostbite!). Plus they have 17 airline crew members that needed to “deadhead” and since they had to get the flight crew members to their next location (pilots and flight attendants), they had to BUMP 17 passengers from the flight.

The gate attendant of course asked for 17 volunteers to give up their seats (with an offer of $1200 in flight credits) but warned us that if there were not enough volunteers, they were going to have to give some of us bad news.

3 hours later we lined up to board the plane (John and I were lucky enough not to be selected to be bumped from the flight) and discovered that those passengers who were bumped we not able to get their luggage that had been loaded on the plane back! They had to wait to hopefully get another flight during a horrendous storm while their luggage flew on to the destination.

Lots of stressed out holiday travelers and tension and then the SW Airlines airport gate attendant had a meltdown and tearfully announced over the loudspeaker that if customers continued to be hostile towards her she was not going to help them. I felt bad for the passengers but I also felt bad for the overworked and stressed out SW Airlines staff who were trying their best to handle a stress holiday travel weather disaster that was not their fault.

We were so happy when we boarded the plane to the first leg of our journey – Chicago, Illinois (Chicago Midway Airport).

Little did we know that when we landed, our next flight (to Washington, D.C.) would be canceled...

So we were stuck at the Chicago Midway Airport with no way to get to Washington, D.C. that day as the weather was growing worse (Chicago of course was being hit with a blizzard). We even heard that the airport was being closed! This turned out to only be a rumor by one of the airport food service workers who talked to who’d been told the airport eateries were all closing/they were sending staff home.

John and I were able to find a flight late that evening to Washington, D.C. but there was a strong potential it would be canceled, and then the CHRISTMAS MIRACLE HAPPENED.

John and I were in a daze wandering the halls of the airport wondering how to fill the time, when John noticed all flights were cancelled on the large screen listing of arriving and departing flight board he passed by…except for a 5:00 pm flight to RICHMOND, VIRGINIA!

Richmond, VA was where we wanted to eventually end up! We walked as fast as we could to a SW Airline gate counter, pleaded our case and got two of the last available seats on the flights! After my very happy sister (who I’d kept apprised of our evolving travel saga) picked us up from the airport we were able to check into the Linden Row Inn and meet our new friend for several days, Annabelle the resident kitty.

More on the next post about our travel saga, the SW Airlines meltdown and then the New Years Miracle, but here is a photo of the wonderful couple dressed as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus (or was it really them?!?!) that were wandering the halls of Chicago Midway Airport trying to bring cheer to travelers during a stressful holiday travel time:

I thanked them for the joyous distraction they provided!

Independent bookstores, tierneytravels

A Little Reunion in Portland Oregon

December is a difficult month for me as it is the anniversary of my husband’s passing 4 years ago in 2018. But I am getting better at finding ways to distract myself. Sort of spur of the moment, I decided to meet up with my friend Laurie in Portland, Oregon for a day when my partner John was headed to a 1 day business trip to Oklahoma City.

Laurie was with me on the 2nd worse day of my life, when I had to go to the funeral home and make arrangements the day after my husband died. She works with horses trained for therapy for children with special needs, and before she drove me to the funeral home, we stopped at a ranch with some of the therapy horses she works with. She had me spend a little time with the horses and I had an amazing and kind of spiritual experience with one of the therapy horses. It was a very compassionate thing for her to do before I had to face the unfaceable.

Laurie lives in Central Oregon where I used to live before I moved to Denver to try and find a new life in 2019. She would love for me to come visit her in Central Oregon but although it’s been 4 years I still cannot bring myself to visit Central Oregon. I had quite the beautiful life there and it was gone in an instant.

Portland is about a 3 hour drive for Laurie, she used to live there and she knows it well. So a compromise was to meet up in a different part of Oregon. I could handle Portland, even if my late husband and I used to go there all the time and I had many fond memories of many trips Portland (here is a random memory from a blog post from May 2017 – The Beauty of Moss and Fungi).

So we had a wonderful 24+ hours in Portland together – I flew into Portland on Thursday late morning and Laurie took me back to the airport on Friday late morning. We stayed on Thursday night at the oldest and historic hotel in Portland – The Benson Hotel.

The Benson Hotel was beautiful decorated for the holiday season:

The architecture inside the hotel built in the early 20th century was amazing and we spent some time checking out the ornate ceilings:

Laurie and I also did the “historic stairwell tour” at the Benson where each level’s stair landing of 12 flights of stairs had a collection of historic photos and photos of famous people who stayed at the Benson, including many 20th and 21st century U.S. Presidents, here’s a section of one of the stairway gallery walls:

The Benson Hotel is in downtown Portland in an area known as the Pearl District. We spent Thursday wandering around the Pearl District and spent a couple hours at my favorite bookstore – Powell’s Books.

According to a web search, Powell’s is the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books.

If you love books and independent bookstores I highly recommend a visit to Powell’s. You would easily spend an entire day there wandering the shelves.

And wander I did…and of course I found the craft book section…

It was fun to find one of the books that one of my art quilts are in:

We also had a wonderful lunch at the Portland location of Deschutes Brewery my beloved brewery that started in Bend, Oregon where I used to live. It was amazing to have one of their wonderful beers on tap again as well as one of their delicious burgers:

I didn’t stab my burger, ha, it came with a steak knife in the middle to cut it in half!

In addition to the bookstore and a delicious time at the brewery, we visited lots of fun shops in the Pearl. Then in the evening we went and visited the Columbia employee outlet store (Laurie has connections) and I got these wonderful slippers at quite the discount:

Then we went back to our hotel and watched movies and ate snacks! It was the perfect day with a friend!

The next day it was back to the airport for me but I had a nice time at PDX before my flight, stopping at the Tillamook Market in the airport for some yummy Tillamook cheese macaroni and cheese!

PDX has some amazing art on display and I was captivated by an exhibit “Open Entanglement” by the artist Jo Hamilton of her crochet art:

The trip was a wonderful distraction and I so appreciate that my friend Laurie could meet up with me in Portland!


To give you a little taste of the Powell’s Books experience, here is a clip I found on YouTube from CBS Saturday Morning:

A Crafter's Life, tierneytravels

A Little Luxurious Getaway

November and December are always challenging months for me and John and I work to make these months as fun as possible, adding distractions here and there. In November we added a very awesome distractions – a couple days staying at my favorite hotel in Colorado – The Broadmoor. (here are a couple previous posts on our visits to The Broadmoor – Weekend at The Broadmoor, Breakfast Buffet and Confused Deer)

Image credit - broadmoor.com

The image above is how it looks in summer and it from the resort’s website. Here is how it looked in November when we visited:

It was still beautiful, just icy on the lake (and pretty chilly outside especially in the evening).

One of my first stops when I arrive at the hotel (after settling in our room) is a visit to the hotel’s library to borrow a book to read during my stay:

I like to spend at least an hour (or more) in that library each visit, sitting near the fireplace and browsing through books. This time I selected a book I also had in my library at home so I could start the book while at The Broadmoor and then pick up my book when I got home.

Armed with a book, I was able to drag John to one of the many cozy nesting/seating areas in the resort next to a fireplace and settle in. First with a gelato and the book and then getting starting on knitting a new hat (this time a gray hat):

It’s very difficult to leave these cozy nesting areas but eventually John and I put on our bathing suits and then our robes provided by the hotel and headed to the hot tub:

John has been very busy at work so it was nice for him to just sit around and relax in the hot tub. Plus we had it all to ourselves on a beautiful day. It overlooks the golf course and if you ignore the scattered snow on the ground it was quite idyllic. (I had to spare you me in a bathing suit so you only get my toes, ha!)

My second favorite part of going to the hot tub at The Broadmoor (sitting in the hot tub is my favorite), is the refreshing walk back to your hotel room in your bathrobe! It is so fun to walk around the resort grounds in your bathrobe! It was chilly but a dry and refreshing chilling. I like to pretend I am at a spa/resort in the Swiss Alps!

I know I read somewhere that it is good for your metabolism to be in radically different temperatures every so often.

The Broadmoor has discounted rates for “off season” (which I think is October to March) and you can golf for free on a modified version (10 holes) of their world class golf course. We tried but it had recently snowed and the golf course was closed. Oh well, we’ll try again next time we visit in the off season. The regular green fees for their golf course is outrageous, so we like free better – ha!

It was a lovely getaway and I am looking forward to my next visit. They are “the Longest-Running Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Resort in the World” and their impeccable service definitely supports this status. The staff is so wonderful and everything is so gorgeous and well appointed there!

While we were there, they had started decorating the hotel for the holidays and I close this post with photos of their decorations in progress:

Knit and Crochet Away!, tierneytravels

Another knitted hat complete

Knitter blogging friends: Prepare to be underwhelmed.

Non-knitter blogging friends: Oh wow look I knitted another hat 😉

I follow several amazing knitters who are busy making complex colorwork knitted hats, socks in their sleep, shawls with fancy lace designs, and tiny Aran cabled sweaters. And I have made ANOTHER simple knitted hat with the same pattern I’ve been using since the early 2010s.

But it’s another hat (option to wear) and its DONE!

Before my trip to Ireland I wanted to have a knitted hat to work on during the trip (a very portable travel project). Here is the hat early in its creation during my train ride from Dublin to Galway:

Since returning from Ireland in October, on subsequent my recent travels (to Omaha, Nebraska, to Fayetteville, Arkansas, and to Atlanta, Georgia) I’ve been working on the hat, especially when on planes:

And last night I finally finished that hat!

Here I am wearing my new hat (which is the same as all my other hats, ha!):

Oh and here is a follow up from my post earlier in the week Cute and Curious Kitty Quilt Trunk Show – I got the quilt that my friend J gave me while I will in Fayetteville, AR, on the wall yesterday.

I am so honored to have one of her mother’s quilts hanging in my home, I put it in the downstairs guest room:

It goes with the beach-y/nautical theme in the rest of the guest room as when you think of Colorado (hint: landlocked state), you definitely think of the ocean – ha!

Her mother hand quilted the quilt and I am amazed at all the work that went into that quilt!


Cute and Curious Kitty Quilt Trunk Show

Hey there, now it’s Tierney of tierneycreates writing a post, instead of the Beastie in the previous three posts about our recent trip to Fayetteville, AR to help a friend unpack and organize her studio – Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part I, Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part II, and Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part III.

The tierneycreates Beastie has already, in those posts, introduced you to J’s cat Oscar, quite the adorable kitty. Oscar wanted to be part of everything we were doing with unpacking and organizing J’s studio. He also wanted to be part of when J was trying to do a “quilt trunk show” for MJ and I.

J is a quilter but also does many other creative crafts. She is also a former architect and professional photographer. She is infused with creativity and I am fairly sure she got some of her creativity from her Mom who was a prolific quilter.

Here is J’s favorite quilt of her Mom’s which hangs in one of her guest bedrooms:

One evening J treated us to a trunk show of a collection of her late mother’s quilts and Oscar was all about being part of the show!

The quilts were wonderful but I was definitely distracted by Oscar’s mischievous cuteness!

J gifted me one of her mother’s quilts and I plan to hang it in my basement guest bedroom which has a nautical/beach theme (don’t laugh at me – I know I live in Colorado a “land locked” state, ha!):

What an amazing gift!

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, tierneytravels

Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part III

tierneycreates Beastie back again continuing my series of posts of our trip to Fayetteville, AR to help our friend J unpack and organize her studio and hang out with our friend MJ who joined us.

If you are just joining us here are links to the previous 2 posts:

Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part I

Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part II

In the previous post I mentioned my run in with the cat Oscar while I was taking my dog Mikelet for a walk in the backyard. Tierney moved Mikelet and I to a safe location, the porch swing, just in case Oscar decided we were cat toys.

Mikelet got pretty cozy on the porch swing and was ready for belly rubs:

Mikelet was a very good dog during our trip and mainly laid about and slept while we worked on the studio unpacking and organization project.

Here is what J’s studio looked like by day 3 of the project. Tierney had made it her mission to get J’s sewing machine area cleaned up so J could sit and it and sew!

I even found a clean spot on the cutting/worktable in the center of the room:

On Day, Tierney, Mikelet and I had to head back to Denver but our friend MJ sent us this photo of a completely cleaned off worktable!!!


By the time we left every box was unpacked and nearly all the boxes were broken down and moved to the garage for future recycling.

Early in our project, Tierney came across this plaque in one of J’s boxes and hung it on the wall of the studio for motivation:

I guess it worked! But what really worked was the untiring and persistent efforts of J, MJ, and Tierney (and me cheering them on) “kicking #ss and taking names” on those boxes! They were quite the RELENTLESS team!

They didn’t just unpack boxes and organize the studio, they also did some fun stuff, but Tierney forgot to bring me along so I’ll let her tell you about it in another post.

J’s new home was really beautiful. So I will just close my series of posts with some photos of her lovely home and her amazing collection of art from J’s world travels (for example the ancient Egyptian themed framed quilt is from her trip to Egypt) . Also Tierney made J a little hostess gift, one of her drawstring bags, and that is in the photos below:

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, tierneytravels

Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part II

tierneycreates Beastie here with Part II of the saga of our friend’s studio project (Part I on post Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part I).

Here I am in my observation tissue box taking notes for this blog post:

So after a day of unpacking boxes, J’s studio looked like this:

It might not look like it, but we were making great progress! Especially when we got the closet organized and set up for J’s WIPs (works in progress) to be stored out of the way (plus she could see all the projects she has to get done by the end of the year – ha, ha!):

Unpacking all those boxes we made a bit of mess between the boxes themselves (which we broke down) and the wrapping papers.

But we had a curious kitty Oscar who was fascinated with all our unpacking activities, especially the wrapping paper:

Oscar even tried to help us break down some of the boxes:

I’ll admit Oscar was cute, but I am not too sure of my comfort level around Oscar. When I tried to take my dog Mikelet for a walk around J’s backyard, Oscar came a little to close for comfort:

Tierney had to intervene and move Mikelet and me to another area as we weren’t sure if Oscar would think I was a cat toy!

After a long day of unpacking, J who is an accomplished pianist, treated us to an impromptu concert on her beautiful Estonia piano (which Tierney thought also looked beautiful in B&W):

Wow all those symbols on the page look complicated, not sure how J understood them all!

Well more progress to come in Part III of this series of posts…

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, Studio, tierneytravels

Guest Blog Post: The Fayetteville Friend’s Studio Project, Part I

Hello this is tierneycreates Beastie, filling in for Tierney who has just returned from a couple days in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mikelet my miniature Miniature Schnauzer and I went with her, and we consulted/helped with the unpacking and organization of her friend J’s studio in Fayetteville.

(if you are new to this blog, my story is on this post –  I’m A Monster!!! and you can see all my posts at this link: Beastie Adventures).

Tierney and J’s Central Oregon based friend MJ also met up with us there (and Tierney and I got to fly on the same flight from Denver to Bentonville, AR as MJ had a connecting flight from Central Oregon).

J had moved from Central Oregon (where Tierney and I used to live) to Fayetteville, AR and then had a major life changes and did not have the time and chance to unpack and organize her quilting/art studio. She invited MJ and Tierney to visit her and MJ came up with the idea that we could also work on getting J’s studio to the point where she could do her art again.

Here I am on my way to Arkansas – Mikelet and I traveled in Tierney’s backpack:

After visiting with J and MJ a while when we first arrived in Arkansas, we headed upstairs to J’s studio to see what we were getting ourselves into

Oh dear.

Looking around, I realized we’ve got a bit of work to do.

Well I went ahead and set up a temporary desk in the tissue box so I could blog about our project!

Next guest post I will show our progress, but for now I will close out this post with a funny sign J had in her studio:

Beastie Adventures, tierneytravels

Guest Blog Post: The Beasties’ Ireland Travelogue (Part II)

Hello this is tierneycreates Beastie finishing up my Beastie Travelogue of our visit to Ireland.

Human Tierney at some point will share her Ireland adventures from her human perspective (boring) but I am not sure when that will be. She is making stuff for her Etsy shop for the upcoming holiday season and has had more intermittent travel with Human John on business trips. Perhaps she’ll blog about all those things someday…we’ll see…

Here I am getting ready to write the Part II of my previous post – Guest Blog Post: The Beasties’ Ireland Travelogue (Part I) . However, my dog Mikelet continues to be a bit naughty, seeking attention (he’s still mad he did not get to go to Ireland we John Beastie and myself) and is standing on Tierney’s favorite miniature tape measure (which is the perfect size for him), distracting me from writing!

Okay so back to my travelogue…

So after a couple days in Galway we took our rented car onto to Doolin, Ireland. On the way to Doolin we stopped at Dunguaire Castle, the Cliffs of Moher and Lisdoonvarna.

Here are a couple photos of John Beastie and I outside of Dunguaire Castle before we went inside:

Tierney didn’t let us take too many photos as it was very windy and she was afraid we would blow into the ravine!

After the castle we headed to the Cliffs of Moher. Tierney will likely share a post about the allegedly amazing Cliffs of Moher. I say “allegedly” because as she left John Beastie and I in the car! All I know is she was really hyped up when she got back in the car after visiting those cliffs!

She did let us out of the car in Lisdoonvarna, a small town which is home to the annual Matchmaking Festival that happens every September. Here is a little from the website linked on the name

Europe’s biggest singles festival takes place every September in the small village of Lisdoonvarna on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The month long Irish festival attracts people from all over the world looking for Love, fun and a bit of ‘craic’. The festival is over 160 years old and couldn’t be more different from online dating services. There’s music and dancing in every bar from 11am in the morning to the wee hours of the night and those looking for love can meet Ireland’s only traditional matchmaker Willie Daly in his ‘office in the Matchmaker Bar. Legend has it if you touch his ‘lucky book’ with both hand’s, you’ll be married in six months!

– matchmakerireland.com

In the Lisdoonvarna town center there were statues commemorating their famous Matchmaking Festival. I just had to climb up and get my photo taken:

My partner John Beastie reminded me that the statue was about “matchmaking” and since he was my “match” we should probably be photographed together:

I probably should have stood up for the photo but I’d gotten pretty comfortable in the arms of the statue!

Finally we arrived in Doolin where we were to spend a couple more days before heading back to Galway, dropping off the rental car, and taking the train back to Dublin where we would fly back to the U.S.

Doolin is known as the home of traditional Irish music and it is filled with Irish pubs with live performances each evening of traditional/folk Irish music.

Matty Beastie (who I introduced in the post Guest Blog Post: Beasties Return to Ireland!), like Human Matt, loves traditional Irish music, so human Matt brought Matty Beastie to the pubs in Doolin:

Matty Beastie traveled in Matt’s jacket pocket (I think Tierney and John should take a lesson from Matt and start carrying John Beastie and myself in their pockets).

Sorry there aren’t anymore photos of John Beastie and I to share from our trip to Ireland. Tierney was busy photographing less important things I guess…sigh.

I’ll close this post (and my travelogue) with a little video of Matty Beastie enjoying traditional Irish music while we were in Doolin:

Beastie Adventures, tierneytravels

Guest Blog Post: The Beasties’ Ireland Travelogue (Part I)

Hello there – this is tierneycreates Beastie returning to guest blog post and continue the story of John Beastie and my trip to Ireland which I began in my previous post – Guest Blog Post: Beasties Return to Ireland! . (If you are new to this blog, my story is on this post –  I’m A Monster!!! and you can see all my posts at this link: Beastie Adventures).

My dog Mikelet has calmed down now that I’ve been back a couple weeks. If you remember from the previous post, he was standing on my desk trying to get attention while I was writing you a blog post. Now he only peers over my desk trying to get attention…

I am ignoring him for now (but will take him out of a walk in the chilly morning – Autumn temperatures have hit in my part of Colorado – when I am done writing) so I can share a photo travelogue of some of the highlights of our trip to Ireland.

I’m only going to focus on what John Beastie and I did, as human Tierney can write her own posts about her adventures!


Before we got to Dublin, Ireland the four of us (humans and Beasties) flew from Denver, CO to LaGuardia airport in New York. While at the LaGuardia airport, John Beastie and I couldn’t help ourselves and had to go and hang out where it said “Do Not Climb“. I think they meant “Humans Do Not Climb”, I don’t think this sign applied to Monsters!

John Beastie and I were so excited to go on our first holiday together we had difficulty minding the humans! (and Tierney grew up in NY and was getting a little too sentimental about the “I love NY” sign so we had to do something to calm her down…)

Our first day in Dublin, Ireland was spent with John and Tierney the humans as their friends Matt and Kathy were not arriving until the evening as they were flying in from Scotland where they had spent a couple weeks.

So Tierney and John shared with us their first Fish & Chips in Ireland:

No worries we were careful not get to get any grease on our clothes (especially since they were the only outfits we had for 1 week in Ireland!)

After the Fish & Chips we had a wander about and visited places such as the Christ Church Cathedral and St. Audoen’s Church and the beautiful adjoining park. Here are a couple photos from those wanderings:

We also wandering about the streets of downtown Dublin taking random photos:

When we met up later that evening with Matt and Kathy, we got to enjoy our first fresh Guinness pint in Ireland! (Okay it was Tierney’s pint, she had a lot of hesitancy of letting Beasties near alcohol…):

The next day we first visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and John Beastie and I entertained ourselves by finding places we probably shouldn’t pose for photos at:

Then went to the Guinness Storehouse (brewery tour)with Matt and Kathy and John Beastie and I took some photos there (this one is my favorite):

After the Guinness tour, we met up with Helen of CrawCraft Beasties who made me and I’ve already shared the stories from that reunion (for me) and first time meeting (for Kathy and Tierney) in my post Guest Blog Post: Beasties Return to Ireland!.

The next day we took the train from Dublin to Galway to spend a couple days in Galway.

There was so much to see looking out the train window, every if it was overcast and raining.

Here we are in the lobby of the lovely hotel we stayed in Galway – the Galway Bay Hotel – which was right across from the beach/water:

It was so windy in Galway along the water, John Beastie and I tried to take some photos but my hair was blowing everywhere:

Human Tierney had the same problem (but she pulled it out of her face for her selfie):

Of course John Beastie and human John did not have this problem, as they have not hair (on their heads)!

We finally had to settle for a photo away from the wind among some flowers in the garden at the hotel:

I’ll continue our Beastie Travelogue in my next guest post, but I’ll close this post with a really stupid photo Tierney took of us while she was waiting for human John to check out from the hotel (so they could head via the car the four humans had rented to the next part of the Ireland adventure!)

She had us stand in a tray on the coffee table of the hotel lobby (my eyes are rolling):

We are not decorative! We are monsters!

Beastie Adventures, Guest Blogger, tierneytravels

Guest Blog Post: Beasties Return to Ireland!

This is tierneycreates Beastie guest blog posting (if you are new to this blog, my story is on this post –  I’m A Monster!!! and you can see all my posts at this link: Beastie Adventures).

You haven’t heard from Tierney or myself in a while as we’ve been in Ireland!

Tierney, John, John Beastie and I recently returned from Ireland and I got to see my maker Helen of Crawcraft Beasties & Knit with Helen; and Tierney got to meet Helen in person for the first time!

We had lots of adventures in Ireland visiting cities such as Dublin, Galway, Doolin, etc. I told Tierney I would get the blog posts on our trip started as she is still rather jet lagged.

Here I am trying to write this blog post (sitting at my desk that John built me, see post Guest Blogger: A Desk for Me!) while my dog Mikelet is trying to get attention from me as he missed me on my long trip (we did not take him for fear he might get misplaced during the trip).

We visited Ireland with Tierney and John’s friends Kathy and Matt who visit Ireland a couple times a year. Kathy’s family is from Ireland and she still has family there and Matt who is part Irish, is well versed in Irish culture and history.

Kathy also knows Helen as she has been working with Helen to get her husband Matt his very own Beastie!

John Beastie, Tierney, Kathy and I met up with Helen and visited a pub for a Beastie reunion with Helen. Here are a couple photos of our initial reunion, I could not decide which one I like best of my awesome maker so I included them all!

She was pretty pleased to see us again as she sends her Beasties out all over the world and rarely gets to see them in person again once they’ve traveled across the ocean!

After the pub, we all headed to Helen’s studio for a little tour of her studio, to meet the new Beastie for Kathy’s husband Matt, and to take a little knitting class (Helen is a professional knitting instructor) to learn how to knit cables (which scare Kathy and Tierney).

This is Helen’s new studio and although John Beastie and I were not “born” here but it was awesome to be in a place where our fellow Beasties are now “born”:

Here is a little photo tour of Helen’s bright and cheery studio:

After a little studio tour, it was time to meet “Matty Beastie” (and his dog Riley) the new Beastie Helen made for Kathy’s husband:

Matty Beastie comes with his dog Riley the Chocolate Lab (to see the Canine Riley check out the post Loved (or mugged) by a Lab, Tierney is Riley’s “Dog Godmother”), a pint of Guinness, as well as his PJs (if he gets tired of wearing his jeans) and his famous slippers.

Helen brilliantly added a magnet to Matty Beastie’s chest so he could hold up his pint of Guinness:

John Beastie and I took a group photo with our new friend Matty Beastie who we would now be touring Ireland with:

As you can see I was not sure where to look during the photo as Helen was also taking a photo of our group at the same time.

We got distracted during the photoshoot and Riley ended up sampling some of Matty Beastie’s Guinness!

I did take Matty Beastie aside and give him some tips on managing humans and how to get away with things right under their noses…

While John Beastie and I visited with our new friend, the humans Helen, Kathy and Tierney) had a cable knitting class. Below is a photo of the class sample and a photo of Tierney clumsily trying to knit her first cable (she won’t be whipping out a new Aran sweater for me anytime soon…).

I am sure Tierney will do a post about it whenever she finishes that headband.

After the knitting class, we headed back out to a pub (the humans visited a lot of pubs while in Ireland) to meet up with human John and human Matt so he could be surprised with his new Beastie!

John Beastie and I watched with anticipation while Matt excitedly unboxed his new Beastie:

Matty Beastie was a hit with Matt and John Beastie had raise a pint to toast the newest member of our US based Beastie family!


More stories to come on our Ireland adventures. Tierney asked me to include this photo as proof that she and human John really did come on the trip:

I am also including this photo – Tierney captured in a moment of pure joy hanging out with my maker Helen in person for the first time:

image courtesy of Kathy R.
Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Downtown Las Vegas in Black and White

Recently we returned from a long weekend trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. This time we did not stay on “The Strip” (the Las Vegas Strip where the major hotels, shows and attractions are located), instead we stayed in the section of downtown Las Vegas know as Freemont, or the “Freemont Experience“.

Freemont is older and grittier than the Vegas Strip and definitely filled with colorful characters. Initially I took photos in color but then I thought it would be fun to take a series of photos in Black & White and share them with you as part of my ongoing blog post series – Life in B&W.

One morning I went wandering and there were a few interesting metal art installation in downtown Vegas including a heart filled with locks and keys; and a very large praying mantis:

You’ll see the sun in some of the photos – it was only 9:00 am but it was already very hot (eventually climbing to 100 degrees F/38 degrees C) and the sun was definitely part of my walk.

Here are some buildings and street scenes that caught my eye:

Here is a little of the actual “Freemont Experience” section of downtown Vegas:

My favorite discovery during my wander in downtown Vegas was the street art on some of the buildings:

And here was my favorite:

Be a Maker! Not a Taker!

So awesome!

Oh and in case you are wondering – I donated a little money to the slot machines and called it good. I am not much of a gambler. We did take the bus and spend part of one day of the trip on the Vegas Strip and had some wonderful meals at a couple favorite eateries on the Vegas Strip: Eataly and Din Tai Fung.

We didn’t catch any shows this time but we had a lot of fun lounging at the amazing pool at our hotel (Golden Nugget) that had an aquarium in the center.

My partner John was brave and did the water slide that takes you through the aquarium. I stayed poolside sipping on my frozen cocktail!

Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Chicago in Black and White

Early July we met my brother, his wife and son in Chicago for a long weekend.

I’ve been to Chicago, Illinois many times, and each time I visit it is like visiting for the first time as I have a different experience each time.

While visiting I took a bunch for B&W photos and this post is a photoessay of my visit.


We went to our first Starbucks Reserve Roastery while in Chicago and it was so cool! I rarely go to Starbucks and would rather support a small independent coffee shop, but I would recommend if you come across on you should visit it at least once, it is quite an experience.

Here is a photo from first entering the roastery:


We spent a bit of time in Millennium Park which is a “mandatory” place to visit on first trip to Chicago.


Here are some photos from wandering around downtown Chicago.


On our last day in Chicago we went to the the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the top of the former John Hancock building. I’ll close the post with these photos from 1000ft above Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.

Life in B&W, Quilt Retreats, tierneytravels

Riptide Retreat 2022 in Black and White

Well thanks goodness the tierneycreates Beastie got my blog restarted with her two previous posts about the quilting retreat I recently attended in Shelton, Washington: Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part I and Guest Blogger: Quilt Retreat Report from the tierneycreates Beastie, Part II.

She’ll be back tomorrow with Part III to finish the story, but I am slipping in today and sharing ten (10) B&W photos I took during the quilt retreat. I’ve numbered them, let me know which one(s) you enjoyed the best.

From the upper back deck of the quilt retreat:


From the lower back deck of the quilt retreat:


From the back of the quilt retreat on the beach level:


From my walk along the beach:


Black and White photography makes even the most mundane interesting in my opinion. The tire on the beach was sad (the pollution of our oceans) but beautiful at the same time when photographed in B&W.

My favorites of these ten photos are #4, #5, #9, and #10. I do love also the creepy mystery of #8 – the beach house obscured by trees.

I guess if I had to just choose one then I would choose #9. The beach was covered with oyster shells.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, I am just briefly popping in on the story of this retreat, the tierneycreates Beastie will finish up the story of our adventures tomorrow.

The Library Stack, tierneytravels

Peaceful Oasis at the Austin Central Library

I was in Austin, Texas the week of 05/23/2022, the same week of the School Shooting Massacre In Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday 05/24/2022. I was staying in downtown Austin, where my partner John was attending a multiple day work meeting with his leadership team.

Tuesday 05/24/2022 I was coming out of the hotel gym after a great workout, about to go back to my hotel room, shower and then spend the day exploring downtown Austin, when I passed by the hotel bar area where news of the shooting was being broadcast.

I stood there dumbfounded and in shock, surround by other hotel guests who were equally in shock. The school shooting occurred 10 days after another horrible mass shooting that shook me to my core – the Buffalo, NY Grocery Store Shooting.

John was in a work meeting and could not be disturbed so I was left to spend the rest of the day in distress, flipping from news channel to news channel to find out more and more disturbing details while sobbing.

That evening I went to dinner an evening boat tour to see the bats that live under one of the bridges on the river that runs through downtown Austin, with John and his colleagues. At dinner we kept the conversation as light as we could and several of his Austin based colleagues talked about the amazing Central Library in downtown Austin.

Library? An awesome library?!?! Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I am obsessed with public libraries. I’ve loved libraries since I was young (9 or 10?) and spent a summer at the public library nearly every day, riding my bike to the library every day and befriending the kind librarians who worked at the library and took me under their wing.

John’s colleagues mentioned that the Austin Central Library had a rooftop garden and amazing architecture.

Libraries to me are nearly sacred peaceful oases. I knew that Wednesday I needed to visit the Austin Central Library.

And I did. And it was a peaceful oasis and my spirit was centered and calmed for a couple blissful hours.

Here is the photo essay about that visit.

I walked a mile through the beautiful park (River Metro park?) along the Colorado River running through downtown Austin to the Central Library. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and in another post I will share photos from that walk as well as other photos of downtown Austin.

I entered the library on a lower level and I tingled with anticipation. Here are the stairs that greeted me that I could not wait to climb:

Before ascending the stairs, I noticed the library had an amazing high tech book return station:

After ascending the stairs, and being the library geek I am, I stopped at the information booth, informed the library team member who greeted me that it was my first visit to the library (and how excited I was to be there) and got a map to guide me through the library.

The library’s interior was amazing. The library has 6 levels, connecting with lofty ascending staircases. I explored all 6 levels!

The library has a huge clock that it can be viewed from any level and is as tall as a level or more:

This window, viewable from many levels, is just breathtaking:

I already heard about the rooftop deck and was planning on making that my last stop after exploring the other levels but then I discovered the library had a READING PORCH and I started on a mission to put together a “library stack” to take out to the reading porch.

I headed to my favorite section – Non Fiction – 700s to put together my stack!

I took my lovely “library stack” to the reading porch and spent a couple hours reading books as well as having a little picnic lunch I put together on the enclosed porch with views of downtown Austin:

It was so amazingly peaceful on the reading porch and I could only hear the bird song (there were trees filled with birds near the porch) and the sounds of traffic below. It was such a wonderful place to read my “library stack”(which I could only read/look through at the library since I was not a local resident).

After a couple hours in the reading porch and some reading of/flipping through the books in my stack, I returned them for re-shelving inside, and then wandered additional levels until I got to the rooftop deck.

A couple fun standouts on my way to the rooftop deck include the “Technology Petting Zoo” and the Board Game area – where you could grab a board game and play games with friends/family at the library!

I was not sure what to expect of a library’s rooftop deck but I was pleasantly surprised! It was huge, filled with people reading, visiting and lounging about. It had a garden area and amazing views of downtown Austin!

Here are some of the photos I took while on the rooftop deck:

I was craving something sweet and after the rooftop deck, I headed back to the ground floor of the library and had a cupcake at the library’s cafe called the Cookbook Bar & Cafe.

And guess what – the cafe was filled with used cookbooks! You could browse/flip through cookbooks while you ate (and I did) – it was glorious (and the cupcake I had was glorious!):

With my belly full of delicious cupcake and my spirit soothed by the energy of a public library, I headed back to my hotel, enjoying the scenery immediately outside of the library on my route back to my hotel.

I took a ridiculous amount of photos but I tried to select the photos that would give you a general idea of how awesome the Austin Central Library was to visit. Here is a little video tour if you are wanting more:

Oh and I thought this was pretty cool – I’ve never seen a library do this!


Trip to San Diego October 2021

Well since I appear to have returned to blogging, I should finish up my story about my trip to San Diego in October 2021 and stay at at the Rancho Bernardo Inn/Resort when my partner John attended a conference (see post Rancho Bernardo in Black and White).

The Rancho Bernardo Inn is one of the prettiest hotels I’ve ever stayed and their property is amazing. As their website proclaims, they have 265 acres to explore and I think I explored at least a quarter of those acres during the 4 days I was there, while John was attending conference sessions, etc.

In the previous post about this trip (Rancho Bernardo in Black and White) I shared some of the photos I took in B&W. Now I will share the photos in color so you can see the true beauty of this place.

Here is the photo I consider the “money shot” from the stairway down to the spa and pool area – it was just breathtaking:

We stayed in one of the rooms off the golf course (and John did get to play golf one afternoon) and here was the view when you stepped outside our room:

I spent several days wandering about the grounds of the resort and here are color photos from that wander:

The food at the resort was amazing, very “farm-to-table” style of cuisine. During my wandering I discovered they have a “Chef’s Garden” on site and I guess that is why the meals tasted so fantastic!

In addition to wandering/exploring the grounds while John was at his conference, I also found a cozy nook off the main lobby, in front of the fireplace (it was October and got a little nippy at times) to sit and work on the English Paper Piecing project I brought (I always bring hand work when I travel):

I’ve been working on this project for years, and I should do a blog post update some time.

Although I wish I’d had more time with John to do some sightseeing while in San Diego, as he was so busy with the conference, I did manage to keep myself entertained for a couple of days.

One thing John and I did do together was go to Eleanor Burns’ Quilt in a Day one afternoon. I’ll show you photos from that visit on the next post.

Life in B&W, tierneytravels

Rancho Bernardo in Black and White

We went to San Diego, California in October 2021 for a conference that my partner John was speaking at and stayed at the lovely Rancho Bernardo Inn/Resort.

I came across photos from this trip in my online photo album and realized I never blogged about it (wait – did it really happen if there is no blog post?!?!? ha!). Next post I’ll share color photos and an overview about the trip (including stopping by Eleanor Burns’ Quilt in a Day) but for now here are some photos I took in B&W during my stay.

I like to pretend I am a photographer and do B&W photoshoots (see my blog post category Life in B&W  if you want to see more of my delusional photography…)

Life in B&W, Outside Adventures!, tierneytravels

Seven Falls in B&W

This is just a quick follow up to Mike the Miniature Schnauzer’s guest blog post: Guest Blog Post: How to Completely Terrify Your Miniature Schnauzer.

What he didn’t share was that I took several cool (well I think they are cool) photos in B&W while we were on hike, as did my partner John. I thought I would share some of my favorites from this amazing hike (despite what Mike says in his post linked above!):

I guess the park had this sign to really discourage you from going off the trail:

I ALWAYS want to protect the privacy of snakes!

Guest Blogger, Miniature Schnauzer Musings, Outside Adventures!, tierneytravels

Guest Blog Post: How to Completely Terrify Your Miniature Schnauzer

Well it’s time for one of her guest bloggers to step in, as Tierney has disappeared from the blogging world for some time now due to “Hooman Life Distractions“.

I recently learned us dogs are supposed to refer to our Humans as “Hoomans” courtesy of looking at too many dog postings on Instagram. I guess they feel dogs are not very literate? Nah, I am going to keep called them “Humans”, as you can see I am literate enough to write guest blog posts.

In case you have not guessed it, this is Mike the Miniature Schnauzer here to fill in for Tierney and do a blog post.

Here to fill in (though it takes away from my nap time)

If you are new to this blog, I fill in from time to time and here are a couple samplings of my previous posts:

Guest Blogger: What Happens at Dog Camp, Stays at Dog Camp

Guest Blogger: Happy in My Box

Guest Blogger: Obsession with Making Crocheted Dishcloths

Once you recover your awe from the brilliant writing by a 12 year old Miniature Schnauzer in the links above, you can continue on with this post.

I am not sure if my Humans Tierney and her partner John will like this post, because I am going to tell you of how they attempted to COMPLETELY TERRIFY me by taking me on a day trip to Seven Falls in Colorado Springs, Colorado and making a death-defying vertical climb up the scariest stairs I’ve ever seen, with me in a backpack!

Here we are at Seven Falls before the terror started:

When I thought it was just a fun day out with the Humans…

Seven Falls, according to the Broadmoor’s website (yes Miniature Schnauzers are capable of online research, duh) Colorado Springs Seven Falls, is Colorado’s most majestic waterfall.

The only waterfall in the state on National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls, and often called “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado,” Seven Falls is situated in a 1,250-foot-wall box canyon between the towering Pillars of Hercules. Take in stunning valleys, striking rock formations and golden prairies as you climb the challenging 224 steps to the hiking trails and the banks of glistening streams that feed the falls, and its 181-foot drop of falling water.

Did you notice the phrase in the quote above: “as you climb the challenging 224 steps…”? To me it seemed like they were climbing 224,000 steps to get to the top as I was looking our the backpack on the back of John’s back.

Here is the photo my Human Tierney took (she caught the photo during a moment that I had turned my head to take a break from the terror I was looking at below):

Why are they making me endure this? I was perfectly happy looking at the scenery from ground level

Oh! My Human Tierney just walked in while I am working on this post, and is now insisting that I share more photos from this day trip to show the climb was worth it.

My guest blog post writing is being interrupted by an irritating Human

Although I don’t agree, here are a bunch of random photos from our day trip to Seven Falls. Just know the photos I like the best are the one’s taken on the ground before the crazy climb, even if the Humans think the climb was worth it!

All I see when I look at these photos are rocks, rocks and more rocks. But the Humans seem to enjoy the scenery in Colorado.

Here is the scenery I really enjoyed: after we climbed back down the 224 steps (and the Humans’ legs were like jello), we found a nice place to have a picnic before heading home:

Now we are talking about beautiful scenery!

And here I am trying to convince the Humans that I’ve earned a sampling of their food:

Me, me, me, me, me!

So that’s the end of my story, here I am putting the finishing touches on this guest blog post: