Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting Away From It All

So Bill and I got away this past weekend. It was romantic. We went to Kansas City. We picked up a motorcycle. woohoo

No, seriously. We went to Kansas City and we picked up a motorcycle! The bike that Bill won Christmas Day on Ebay was in Texas and the seller was able to get it to Emporia, Kansas so we went down and got it. The bike’s fine. It’s orange. It’s nicer than Bill’s (so he says). It’s in our garage now.

Now, for the getaway. Let me tell you, it takes a small village for parents to get away for a weekend. Six different families helped drive or take care of the kids! Thanks for helping us out.

Here’s what we did. Bill found us a nice hotel, Hyatt Place in Overland Park. Newer, modern and stylish, it fit us just right. I also loved the color scheme- brown, orange, blue.



(I felt like PW when snapping these shots.)

On Saturday morning, after sleeping in (with no one knocking on the door to ask when we were getting up or what was for breakfast Smile) and our continental breakfast, we headed to find the American Jazz Museum. We only got in as far as the 18 minute video when Bill’s stomach started growling. We asked the lady at the desk where a good place for bbq was and she said Arthur Byrant’s and, good news, it was close by.

If we were walking, the last two blocks would have drawn us in like a vortex, sucking us to the restaurant with it’s hickory scent hanging in the air. As it was, we drove and we could smell it the second we opened our doors. I ran across the street to take a picture. Bill is standing at the front door, thinking “Woman, do you want to take a picture or eat?” The people in the restaurant probably thought I was nuts also. Enter in; nothing to impress you. Linoleum tables, vinyl chairs and it’s clean. Get in line, hand them them your plate through the window and shout your order to them, pick it up at the cash register and help yourself to the giant jar of dill pickle slices. If you want to sit a large party together, just make sure you tell the waitress how you want to sit exactly, ‘cause once she, puts the tables together, you sit there, you like it.

Bill and Bryants

Let’s get to the food, shall we? Bill ordered the sliced pork sandwich. Mostly the bread is there to sort of keep your fingers from getting all saucy as you eat the mound of meat and fries. I ordered the burnt ends which are the burnt ends of meat all tossed together with sauce.I would describe as being similar to Hickory Park’s Saucy Southerner but much more meat and just better altogether. I got a side of beans and they were good. The chili powder hits your taste buds first and nice chunks of real meat make it a happy medley. They have three kinds of sauce: Original, Sweet Heat and Rich & Spicy. Our favorite was the Rich & Spicy. The original is good and you will probably like it. I just thought the Rich & Spicy melded together better without being really spicy. I got some on the sleeve of my sweater and I didn’t mind at all. Why, yes, I did take pictures of our food. Bill was salivating. “Are you done taking pictures so I can eat now?”


I could not eat all of my food. It was a lot! Generous portions, indeed. So our take home bag was a sheet of brown butcher paper and you wrap it up and stick it in a brown paper bag! I loved it! I should have taken a picture, but didn’t until I got home and ate the leftovers today (and they were very good, still)

We spent the early afternoon looking through the American Jazz Museum. A good museum to get a start at your early jazz roots listening library. In the same building is the African American Baseball Museum but we did not tour that. Then we drove around the downtown Plaza shopping area, but did not shop. (I know! No shopping?) We did go to the Nielson Atkins Art Museum. It is free admission, though you have to pay for parking in their ramp and for any special exhibits. We enjoyed the modern art, some of which we got, others which we didn’t, and others which we didn’t care. We can’t say we know that much about art to begin with, so our opinion doesn’t mean anything. The museum is quite big and in the older section, it it is amazing how much is in there. Two things: 1) guards freak me out a bit in any museum 2) museums are much more enjoyable without young kids, who can do things that make guards watch you.

For our evening, we decided to take in a movie. Bill found a theater, which happened to be near a large shopping area in Overland Park. But before the movie, we sort of needed supper. I chose the restaurant “Ingredients”. We could use one of these in Ames. You choose your own ingredients (get it?) for your salad or sandwiches or omelets and they put it together for you. Fresh food and flavors. Again, generous portions but this time no nifty take home containers. Then we saw “True Grit” after having a discussion with our friends, Byron and Angie. We’ve never seen the original movie, but besides a non-congruous ending we like it a lot. The Coen Brothers’ way with words along with good casting of characters make this movie. (But again, we don’t know that much about movies and can’t remember that last one we saw by ourselves in a theater.)

Sunday was less exciting except for one thing and it involved shopping! I had seen at the shopping center that we were at the night before that there was a Dean & Deluca store. Dean & Deluca is a specialty upscale food store. The only one I’ve ever heard about is in New York and though I hadn’t thought about it before, I didn’t really consider that it could pop up in other metro shopping districts. There’s one in Overland Park, Kansas and we went to it!! I just wanted to see, to peruse the shelves, to possibly taste all the cheeses and buy some very expensive handmade truffles or ceramic dishes or other things that are impossible to find in Iowa. Bill was impressed how much was in there for such a small store. Then we tasted some cheese. Oh my! Cheese heaven. We don’t know anything about cheese but we would be willing and eager students. Mr. Dean & Deluca cheese counter man had us try a semi-hard goat cheese called “Midnight Moon” and we fell in love (with the cheese). We didn’t buy any and really regret it. I got some other things though, a multi-grain health bread, some French green lentils and some black olive paste.


After lunch at “The Elephant Bar”, a Pan-American meets Applebee’s restaurant, we headed to Emporia to pick up the bike. That’s it. We talked all the way there and then back to Iowa. The whole weekend was great, but probably the best time was the driving/talking time. We just don’t get enough non-distracted time to talk and to talk about bigger, deeper things. And we just need to be together. More than what a little date night every once in a while gives us. That’s what our weekend away, no kids, no texts, no schedules to keep, gave us. It was good getting away from it all.



  1. Sounds like you guys had a fun time.

    I wish there were places around here that sold the burnt ends of meat. I'm not a big fan of the saucy southerner. Now I think I need to go buy me a big roast and 'burn' it!

    For any future trips, holler if you want help with the kiddos. I'm wrangling 3 kids this Wednesday night - Monday while their parents are out of state. :)

  2. Sounds like a great weekend! The only thing we've done out of the things ya'll did was Arthur Bryant's, which you described well. I haven't actually managed to make it more than a couple rooms into the art museum, since a guard got onto Eric for walking on a ledge and I haven't managed to get any kid-free time to sneak back, but I liked the glimpses I got :) Would you recommend the Jazz Museum to someone who knows nothing at all about jazz?

  3. I love the picture of the kids at the top of your blog!
    Also, when I was reading your post, "Dean and Deluca," sounded so familiar and I thought it was across the street from the Today Show studio, and I googled it,and sure enough, it is! I never went in there though, but remember seeing it. :-)

  4. With the addition of you new, awesome camera, does your family feel like they are traveling with their own one-man-paparazzi?

  5. @KarenI never replied to your question, but yes, I would recommend the Jazz Museum to anyone. Go find an artist you know the name of, read and listen and then pick another one, etc. It will tickle your ears and pique your interest.


Thanks for reading. Kind comments are always welcomed!