6:12 pm

Being Upstaged

I found this plant on a hike in the Rocky Mountains and liked that there were two additional flowers behind it that I could space it between. They lined up nicely in height and spacing. What is one of the most important things when taking photographs? Your background. I don't know what plant this is, so if you do leave it in the comments.

2:23 pm

Mountain Steeple

Copyrighted Photograph http://www.timnormanphoto.com/

Driving along a road in Denver, I was just looking for some place to photograph the setting sun or find something intersting to photograph when I spotted this steeple peaking out from some trees. I pulled into a CVS store parking lot and stood on a rail to get just a bit higher to photograph the colors of the sunset with the mountains and church steeple. 

5:27 pm

Lakewood, Colorado - Forsberg Iron Spring Park

Copyrighted Photograph http://www.timnormanphoto.com/

I took a drive to West side of Denver today and stumbled into Forsberg Iron Spring Park.  I was driving along C-470 when I saw a sign for Dinosaur Ridge and decided to see what it was. I didn't see another sign for it, but as I was driving along the road a bunch of cars parked just off the road caught my eye. I thought maybe something migh be going on. So I turned in and found a beautiful dog park. The park climbs up up a hill allowing lots of views. 

The clouds seemed like they might give way to a beautiful sunset so I waited around the park to see what would happen, and it didn't disappoint. There was a slight sprinkle and a rainbow in the other direction too.

The best part of the evening was talking with two couples who were great sources of information on some other places to visit as well as some of the history of the area. I have to say thank you to them for putting up with a talkative and inquisitive photographer.

5:11 pm

Taste from Home

I'll preface this post with a note that Frito Lay is holding The Tastes from Home with Frito-Lay recipe contest and is offering specific bloggers who blog about their regional Lays flavors a surprise gift and a gift package to give away to their fans. I've always been a Frito Lays fanatic, so I figured what the heck.

Since moving out to Denver one of the things I will miss about Ohio is the chili. I haven't seen a chili place yet, but I haven't explored the city too much either. The closest I will probably come is the Skyline Chili in the freezer section at my local grocery store. Every family get together one of my family members would make Skyline Chili dip. Making that is the closest I will come to the flavors of growing up in Cincinnati.  
To make the dip is pretty simple and only requires 3 ingredients, a microwave and a bowl. You take a package of frozen Skyline Chili without the spaghetti, cook it in a microwave as the box says and then spread it in bowl or dish. Then you add a layer of softened cream cheese (probably just one stick of it), and then you add a layer of Mild Cheddar cheese or whatever type of cheese you like that will melt on top. (I'm partial to a mix of cheeses, and I'm guessing it would total about about a cup to two cups of cheese.) Enough cheese to cover the lower layer but still allow you to see the other ingredients. Then wait a minute for the cheese to melt or throw it back in the microwave for a minute if needed to melt the cheese some. Serve it with some Frito Scoops or other chips. It's a great snack but I'd be willing to try it as a breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert combo.
I don't know what inspired it. I don't even think it was necessarily an original to the family. I've seen similar recipes on other websites, but we've been having it for years at family get togethers. And it just doesn't seem like a family get together without it. It is always gone by the end of the night even though there is usually some leftover cake or other treats. 
Of course for me growing up in Cincy, I was always a Frito's fan. I used to put Frito's on my barbeque beef sandwiches as a kid. Or I'd add some potato chips to my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for that extra crunch. I started adding Frito's to my salads a few years ago. They give it that extra kick that croutons just don't do. I highly recommend the lower salted Frito's for this. I've tried all sorts. Recently I had a salad with Chili Cheese Frito's on it. It was delicious. I think even one of the regional flavor Lays potato chips might be an interesting addition to a simple salad. It would give it that extra flavor kick and you could crush them up a bit and sprinkle them on top.
Actually the salad with Frito's on it reminds me of my college years. I think that may have been when I first tried it out. I've experimented a lot with food over the years. I once had a rather bad outcome in college when I didn't know how hot a Habanero Pepper was. I cooked three or four with an onion and a nice steak thinking I was trying something new. I ate that steak and I think I must have drank half the city's water supply with it.
I've thought of trying a recipe that uses gummy bears, Lays potato chips, Frito's, chocolate chips, M&M's, peanuts, cashews, and crushed up Oreo's. You basically take the different items and alternate layers in whatever order you want in a glass jar.  It is a sort of sweet and salty mix.  Adding a regional Lays flavor chip might give that mix a little extra kick.
Since moving out to Denver I've been wanting to try the regional flavor chip out here. Lays Garden & Tomato flavored chips are regional to Ohio and some states West of it. I have always preferred the spicy side of food so I didn't try the Garden & Tomato flavor. I haven't had a chance yet to try the Chipotle Ranch flavored chips that are for the Denver market, and I think I'd love to taste the Tangy Carolina BBQ or Cajun Herb & Spice flavors that are in the Carolinas and South-Eastern region of the country.
Northeastern U.S. - Lay's Honey Mustard
Midwestern U.S. - Lay's Creamy Garden Ranch
Northwestern U.S. - Lay's Balsamic Sweet Onion 
Southwestern U.S. - Lay's Chipotle Ranch
Southeastern U.S. - Lay's Cajun Herb & Spice
Do you have any recipes that remind you of home or a time in your life? Perhaps something you like to make yourself on special occasions? Or perhaps have you tried something new with Frito Lays? 
8:35 am

How Being Nice Can Save You Bucks

If you aren't getting calls from your customers, there is one assured way to get one. Make a mistake on a bill or entirely confuse them with fees.

As the final bills are arriving in from Columbus I've realized I've made a phone call to clear up questions on almost every final bill I've received. I've been amazed at the errors and billing practices by each one and then the outstanding customer service I've received when I call. 

AEPOhio which provided my electrical service caused me to call because my final bill was an estimated reading instead of an actual reading. Now grant it, I'm not calling about huge monetary mistakes. My final bill was estimated at $23.26 for six days of electric usage. I know I stopped using as much electricity the final six days of service since I either had already or was getting rid of every electrical item I had besides my computer. 

So when I called I was told that the only time they will do an actual reading is if the customer specifically asks for it. But I recommend you don't. Evidently when you call up to question it you get asked, "How much do you think you should pay?" And when you tell them an amount they pretty much say ok. I'm awaiting my new bill with my new amount.

And then there is AT&T who supplied my internet service. They down right confounded me with their bill. There was a past due fee and a credit that made no sense.

I had called AT&T to cancel service in June and asked them to go ahead and charge my bank at that time for the amount that would be due because I was going to be changing banks. On my final bill I received a past due fee for $5.42 for a prior month despite the automatic payments. And there was an $8 credit that I have no idea where it came from.

So I didn't owe anything. They actually owed me, but when I called to figure out what the fee was from and where the credit is from the customer service rep was just as confused and decided to just credit me for the $5.42 for "being a nice person." I have no idea where the credit was from but I do wonder how a company can confuse their own customer service rep so much that they can't figure out the bill either.

So the moral of the story? Call and you may get rewarded by being a nice person on the phone. 

As a person who has sent bills out to customers, I don't understand the issues I've had with final bills. Computers don't make mistakes by adding fees or making bad calculations without a person programming them to do so. And if those mistakes are regularly done, then there should be someone rewriting the programming to correct the issue.

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