Rain Schmain

I will never again be afraid of rainy forecasts. Just like my St. Louis birthday trip, last weekend promised an onslaught of droplets sure to ruin everyone’s Memorial Day plans. R and I shrugged our shoulders and didn’t worry about it.

Thank goodness too, because in the end, everything worked out wonderfully. We stayed with our cousins B-squared and their two children. They live on a canal that goes straight into Tampa Bay. Plus, they’re really relaxing hosts, so it instantly felt like a vacation. All the more reason to schedule another vacation back. It was great.

The first day, we drove out to St. Pete’s beach and frowned at the clouds overhead. Don’t even think about it, clouds. And you know, they listened to me. After a 30 second rainfall, they were done. That was it. Over. The rest of the day was sunny mid-80s.

I grabbed a drinkie-poo and we found a place to lay-out, already feeling rested.

We sun-bathed, played around, talked, ate, and swam. R & I had an ice cream eating contest with the sun. The sun won.

Both evenings we lounged around their house, zapped of energy. We literally did nothing all day and yet we were both exhausted. Well, maybe part of our energy was spent on making friends with the little ones. This may have been the first time that kids gravitated towards me rather than R. I jokingly refer to R as “Jesus”, because kids are just drawn to him. These two wanted nothing to do with him, though, and at one point the oldest child (not even three yet) saw R sitting on the couch and muttered loudly “Guess I can’t watch my movie now.” We laughed so hard. It wasn’t until we were on the way to the airport that R got some giggles out of them.

I was saying ‘Cheese’, by the way. That’s not my normal smile.
The next day, they took us out on their boat. R enjoyed being the Jr Skipper and helping out B.

We stopped at a couple places, one of which is a little island appropriately named “Beer Can Island” where boats anchor around the beach. Almost like a mini Party Cove.

I had to get a photo of the o07 boat.

We even got to see dolphins! If anyone knows my love of marine life, you know how excited I was. Good times.

All dressered up

I’m re-doing our bedroom. No big deal right. The catch is I’m re-doing it into an all white/cream room, save our favorite chest at the end of the bed. That will be the only brown in sight. That’s a pretty crazy goal coming from a spiller. No, I spill everything. At one point, my brother-in-law would make bets to see how long I’d last before spilling something. We’ll see. It may end up being an all white with red/orange/blue splotches room. What do I drink that’s blue?
Here’s the dresser when we first bought it. You can’t see them, but the entire top was covered with water stains. I like the feet. The little bow-thingie on the top is a bit fru-fru for me, so I’ll have to add something masculine to offset that. Otherwise, a pretty solid piece. Thank you, Craigslist.

So I was googling around for ways to paint furniture, when I happened on a blog that gave a quick tutorial. You can find that tutorial here. Does anyone remember that cool yet creepy ‘Pet Cemetery’ sign on I-70 going towards KC? Well, the lady who writes this blog lives on that property. Isn’t that ironic? Speaking of cemeteries, do you know an easy way remember how to spell it? “What’s the sound you make in a cemetery? Eeeeeee!” Okay, I’m a grammar freak. One time at a Christmas party with some friends, we spent probably a good 30 minutes arguing the best way to say something. We even phoned-a-friend (family members) to set us on the right path. I can’t remember what we were debating, but boy was it heated. Forget politics, subject/verb agreement is the new hot topic.

But I digress. I followed the painting directions (which made my husband proud — apparently I just jump into projects with no plan most of the time?) and it came out…..alright. I was heavy on the brown glaze and so it almost looked a little too pre-fabricated. It didn’t look like it had aged naturally.

Besides, I want the overall details of the room to be subtle. Many different patterns, but all the same shade, so you aren’t overwhelmed by it all. That being said, I painted it again all in one color and I’m really pleased. You can still see the details, but it’s not shouting at you from across the room. After I paint the end tables, I’ll show the whole room in it’s entirety. I’m liking it so far!

A Weekend Outdoors, Pt 2

Okay, just thinking about this post wears me out. Here’s an overview: we left at 11am for a leisurely bike ride and didn’t make it home until 3:30pm. Ouch.

I had read a while back that the next town over had some good trails and since we were only a couple miles away, we went for it. Didn’t realize we’d have to snuggle up to cars on extremely busy roads, who were surely shaking their heads at us for not wearing helmets. R abhors helmets. Come to think of it, we never wore them growing up either. Well, this ride scared him enough to detour off and buy some at Tarjay. You can barely see it off in the distance. On the plus side, as we were riding towards the store, we passed an entrance to one of the trails.

After we were properly secured, we started off — Curving through woodsy areas, breathing in honeysuckle, enjoying the sunshine….

…and all of a sudden, you’re right by Wally-World. How did that happen? Oh well, at least we have helmets on. The ironic thing is, almost every person we passed did not have on helmets. That made R turn around and shake his fist at them & then try to throw his into every creek we passed.

At one point, we got lost (note to self: research trail routes before actually getting onto bike.) and I watched R merge right into one of the busiest streets in Northwest Arkansas. I managed to veer off to the right before I did the same, and couldn’t help taking a photo of him trying to get back to safety. I could hear him yelling at me to not take a photo. Neener-neener.

As we blew by an open field (ah, there’s nothing like going downhill as fast as you can), I caught sight of a flower. It’s one that was in my wedding bouquet so I had to take a snapshot. I was kind of dismayed to see that it was amongst all weeds — hey, we were on a budget — but I loved it anyway.

We ate a picnic I packed and stopped by some waterfalls. I cannot describe how beautiful a day it was outside. If it had been any hotter, I think I would still be out somewhere on that bike trail, passed out in a field… but that cool breeze really helped push me along. I could hardly sit down Monday and Tuesday, but that’s okay, it was worth it.

How does my helmet look?

A weekend outdoors, Pt 1

It had been raining for most of last week, and just as I was about to pull my hair out, look what happened. The sun came out. It shone so fiercely that I almost think it pulled me out of the house whether I wanted to go or not. I opened the sunroof, rolled down the windows, and drove on back roads through farmland to my destination. I could have turned around and driven back home without even stepping out of the car, that’s how peaceful and invigorating the ride was. And then like a record screeching, the wind whipped hair into my eye and I was ready to get out of the car.

With my left arm already sunburnt from hanging out the window, I charged into the woods. I carried some trail mix, water, and a good read, thinking I would spend the majority of the afternoon lounging on a boulder under an elm tree. That didn’t happen and it has less to do with the weather than with my unfortunate neuroses. A wild imagination coupled with paranoia is so not acceptable when by yourself in the forest. On some level, though, I think I subconsciously do it to keep my life feeling adventurous. Or schizophrenic. You decide. No, don’t decide. I’d like to stay in denial, thank you very much.

As I started my way down, I became obsessed with moss covering anything it could get its hands (leaves?) on. I made a point to touch some at every stage of my descent, from the weather-beaten dry one at the top, to the cool spongy one at the bottom.

I couldn’t see well, but I did see a flash of white fur rustle in the leaves and then move to the side. Now, I know this could have been a deer. But as my sister would say, in our attempt to qualm negative self-thoughts, “Could the opposite be true?” In this case though, the opposite would be the negative thought. Dang, why did R have to tell me that a couple decades ago, mountain lions were released near his hometown in hopes to contain animal populations naturally. Now the thought was in my head and I couldn’t let it go. Mountain lions. The most chilling thing I could imagine was turning my back to those pair of eyes and continuing my way on the trail. So I did just that, if only to prove that I could be the heroine of my own little adventure in the woods.

You would think the further I got away from that ominous bluff, the better off I’d feel. Nuh-uh. Every little thing started to scare me. My hearing sharpened to the point that normal, woodsy sounds tripled in their decibel level. A lizard scurrying into the brush could have easily been an elk during mating season. Vultures circling overhead must also have been able to tell the future, because why else would they be hovering over where I walked? Even shadows startled me. In the photo below, a shadow caused by an overturned tree was surely a bear cub. And if there was a bear cub in the middle of the path, that meant mama bear was close by. Could I squeeze myself into that slit in the bluff?? Why didn’t I do more sit-ups this morning, I thought, otherwise I surely could have if she came charging.

Eventually sunlight dominated the shadows as I climbed my way to the end of the trail. But as if the woods had to give me one last salute, I turned the corner and walked right into this guy. If that doesn’t look like the red dinosaur-monster thing from the new Star Trek movie, I don’t know what else does. Tentacles flying around a mouth waiting for the next unlucky hiker.
I’m starting to think I need to adopt the buddy system on my walks, now. At least then I’ll have someone to trip if I needed to get away. Oh just kidding. Or am I? Anyone up for a hike?

Guess the type of tree.

Can’t figure it out? Well, it’s a cell phone tower tree. Have you heard of those before? We pass this guy every time we head south on a particular road and I gotta say, I think it actually makes the tower stand out more. Furthermore, to me it looks like the tower is wearing headphones and I can’t help wondering what music it’s listening to… the Nokia ringtone?


After earning $90 at my sister’s garage sale, we celebrated Mothers Day on Sunday at her house. She offered to serve up a brunch and boy were we glad she did. It was delicious! But I could eat breakfast food at anytime of the day.

Queen P. (Which kind of sounds like Queen Bee, and that would work too.)

Afterwards, we played a game in which we asked questions about different stages of her “motherhood”. Some stories were told that I had never heard before: that her friends and her used to have sock-throwing parties (they were my age), that she worked in a particular school district, and various other embarrassing stories of her childhood.

Here are somethings that I do know though: she laughs a lot; she swing-dances; she is social, but enjoys her alone time; she was stubborn in her youth; she appreciates the arts; she flips her head sometimes as though she has long hair; she used to say “gee” in order to change conversation topics; she stands for what she believes in, even when she’s the minority; she teases people and laughs when she is teased; she’s a worry-wart; gay men are drawn to her; she always says: ‘You may quote me on that’, ‘You can put that on my gravestone’, and ‘You better be glad I have a sense of humor’; she is a thesbian; she is diplomatic; after the first sip of a cold beer, she always says “aaaah”; her fingernails have been filed in the same way since she was young: oval; she isn’t afraid to be self-aware; she tolerated my women’s studies days in college; she is a quiet leader; she is self-deprecating; she’s a reader; she likes the Backstreet Boys; and she’s my friend. That’s something we both know. Thanks for everything, mom.

You just can’t win.

When R had his friend B visit, he brought down Nintendo games to play. Since golf was out of the question (thanks rain!) and we don’t have a TV, they came up with the idea of renting one for the night. They talked about it nonstop. So when we were out and about, they got lured in by the neon “open” sign of one of the only rental places in town. Turns out, they had closed a few minutes prior. I had never seen such a look of dispair on two guys before. 

I’ll have my cake and eat it too, thank you very much.

What does a scottish laird, hurricanes, and wanna-be groupies have in common? Well, normally nothing, except if you’re headed to a Cake concert with my sister and me.
It’d been pouring all day by the time my sister arrived in Arkansas and our original plan to go see Cake was in jeopardy. I could easily have snuggled into the couch and finished re-reading my 20th/18th century time travel romance novel, so we went back and forth, debating if we should go or not. There was no word that it had been cancelled by 6:30, so we bundled up and headed out.

I told myself that it was probably raining in 18th century Scotland too, so I wasn’t really missing out on my other written life. We showed up and saw people standing in line for tickets. This show better be good. But has Cake ever put on a bad one?
We huddled and let others stand under our umbrella as long as their backsides faced the wind. Suddenly, a young couple started asking around if anyone would buy their tickets. We bargained them down and they asked for cash. Neither A nor I had any, so I suggested I write a check. They groaned but said okay. As I was writing it out, it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember the last time I wrote a check for anything. How very historical of me. If only I had been using a quill.
Finally, we were in! We ran around to find a spot. Our tickets were for the ‘lawn’ area, but managed to get a quick reprieve from the hurricane-like conditions by cutting through the tent area. I felt like a poor child in a Charles Dickens story.. begging for a seat and then getting spat on when they figured out we were lawn trash. We sucked it up and crossed over to the other side, finding a spot near the stage and aaaalmost under the tent. We couldn’t believe our luck. Why was no one standing here? It was perfect!
And then we turned around.
Oh, no biggie. Just major electrical equipment running right by our feet. But man, do we have a great view.
Halfway through the show, we were hooked up with non-lawn tickets by a guy eyeing my sister and pushed our way through. We are cold, thank you very much now let us through. No time for niceties. No time for getting-to-know-yous, so after A politely brushed off our ticket-bearer’s advances, we walked straight to the front of the stage like we owned the place and started dancing.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something red be-bopping around. I turned slowly during Bucket Seats and saw, oh my gosh, the scottish highlander from my novel! Full red beard and pulled-back hair, could it be true?? Did he find the cracked rock and travel 200 years to the future?
So I asked him.
He wasn’t from 1745. He was from 2009 and really loved pot, dropping off demos to record labels, and guessing tree names. The only thing I cared about was the last one, because when the audience was asked what type of tree was on stage, I turned to him for the answer. He said “Japanese Maple”.
 I turned and raised my hand. Little did I know that my red-headed protagonist was pointing his hand up and down over my head so that I would be called upon. How gallant! So Cake (I’m sure he has a name?) looked down and said “How about you, oh quiet one, in the midst of a loud crowd.”
I mean, come ON. Look for that line in a new song. He even used the word ‘oh’ which is the first ingredient for writing poetry. Everyone knows that.
 Well, the answer was wrong. It was a peach tree. Whatever. One of my favorite bands just shared with the world the first verse of his next song when he called on me. I think I won in the end.

So, of course we had to time-travel back to when we were twelve and conspire with our new tree-hugging (and incorrectly naming) friends how to get backstage. They had motives too. Remember the demo? My sister found an opening and we (okay, only I had to) squeezed through.
On the other side, A saw him (Mr. Cake?) walking to his bus. She went up to him and started talking about random things. It was pretty much a great night. And who would’ve thought… the genesis to it all was a historical romance novel?