Look at my birthday present! It rang the doorbell and patiently waited for me to answer it.


If you don’t remember, I found this lil guy on the front lawn of a house. It was sad and ripped and broken, but I loved the lines. It was taken to a reupholster in town and quietly stored in their barn while I sold a couple organs on the black market to pay for it.

But little did I know that behind my back, R had contacted them to move forward with the process…as long as they had it done by today (pssst, my birthday).

I’m not big on presents, I’d rather *do* something than *receive* something, but this was just so unexpected and over the top (for me). Plus, you all know how I like my trash to treasures.

R’s a treasure, too. I’ll keep him.

Grand Canyon Part 2

Ah, day three at the grand canyon. We woke up extra early this morning to join a guided hike along the Cedar Ridge trail. One of the park rangers would walk us down and then give a schpeal on the wildlife as well as a brief history of Native Americans. My kind of thing!

Also my kind of thing? Forcing other people to come along with me. Sleep or no sleep, get up people.

When we hopped off the shuttle at the trailhead, we still had a few minutes to spare and wandered around. That’s when we found what is now considered R’s favorite photo, ever. He’s openly admitted to being enamored by it.

But you know I can’t let someone do something without me trying it too. Hello, that’s how I cracked my tailbone, remember?

So I mosied on out there and politely asked R to take my photo too.

This is where we get into the section of the post delicately named “I’m married to a non-photographer.” And by non-photographer, I don’t mean someone who doesn’t like taking photos. I mean someone who just doesn’t take photos.

Get this, he studied in Australia for 6 months and took exactly zero photos.

That still bugs me.

So I handed over the camera and waited the appropriate few minutes for him to find the power button.
I was scared out there on that ledge, my friends. And R managed to capture it.
He also managed to capture the fact that I was wearing granny panties.
Thank you, R.

Go back to not taking photos.

But man, was it a great view of the trees. I always think of the GC as all rock, no greenery. Nope. Not the case at all.
Little did I know, though, what was lurking in those trees. But I’d soon find out by the park ranger a bit later.

First, though, we had to walk down. And honestly, walking down was a lot harder on the knees than the way up.

Choose your poison: lungs or knees. I’ll choose lungs any day.
So I shoved the camera back into R’s hands and ran ahead so I could nonchalantly have an obviously unposed photo.

No really. I never knew he was taking my picture.
Not even here when I was waving at my brother-in-law while strategically facing into the sunshine for a better shot.


We made it to the checkpoint. It was a little plateau of land with overlooks galore. It was also where our park ranger sat us down for a history and nature lesson.

What he first wanted to talk about was the wildlife and what you might find if you took other trails close by. For instance, up along the rim of those pine trees, you would probably encounter mountain goats. But beware! It’s mating season, so you’ll want to stay clear of them.

And not any sooner after he said the word mating, I turned to look at R.

Settle down, R.

After soaking in the 180 degree view, we headed back up. Nothing too eventful happened..
Oh wait. Yeah, something did happen.

R almost tumbled to his death.

No joke.
You see, this trail had been given a grant to fix it up. So along the way, you passed by workers moving stones here and there or even using a jack hammer to break up areas.

It was as we hiked past the jack hammer when it happened. R wanted to slip by as quickly as possible and so hopped onto a slightly slanted rock that hung over the edge of the trail.

It was slow motion. He lost his footing on that rock and slid over the edge, but managed to flip around and grab that same rock with his left pinky finger.

Okay, it wasn’t his pinky. But he wants people to think that. It was only his left hand though. 

And it was scary enough for him to say, “Ask me in five minutes” when I asked him whether or not he’s freaking out.

The night ended with a marathon game of dominoes..
…while I marveled at how differently everyone set theirs up. I see four different patterns here. Well, five if you count the table cloth.

It was a great weekend. Lots of outdoor time and no hair-brushing time. My favorite way to spend the weekend.
Okay, my  only way to spend the weekend. 

I’m sure this post will too…

I’ve started tutoring an ESL student a couple days a week after work. It’s only until you’re talking with a foreign speaker that you realize how many idioms you use in not just a day, but a conversation.

As I was flipping through my notebook today, deciding on a tongue twister to practice tomorrow (maybe Peter Piper?), I re-read a page from last week. There were three phrases on the paper meticulously written out for her to copy. They had been used just moments before writing, as it dawned on me that she may not know their meaning.

And with just these three lines, you can easily tell how our conversation went:

“to have ______ down.” or “to have [got] ______ down [pat]”.

regarding conversation starters “to get your foot in the door”

and finally…

“my joke bombed”

… ah, i can only laugh at myself. even if no one else will.


we are having internet troubles right now, so you may be forced to read posts sans photos for a few days. I’ve had some interesting things happen lately (with photos), so this will be tough.

plus, i still need to do part two of the grand canyon. chomping at the bits, here.
try explaining that one to a student.

My First Official Book Review Since 3rd Grade

Have you ever been sifting through books, randomly open one up, and fall in love with the first few lines? Where you really could’ve stood there for a few half-hours more and just read, shifting your feet back and forth to keep the blood flowing? Well, it happened to me at one of my favorite antique stores in town and was the reason I paid the outrageous $7.50 price for it.

But as soon as I arrived home, I threw it onto one of our shelves and promptly forgot about that connection… until one night when having already watched my weekly shows via Hulu.com, I was left feeling bored and restless. So I poked around the shelves and picked up this book. And while still not fully drawn to it, I reluctantly opened it again and reread those first few lines…. and it all came back to me.

A month or two ago, I had visited our adorable local bookstore “Books on Broadway”, bought a couple steals (remember, never have we had buyers remorse when books were involved), and started chatting with the cashier. She suggested that I send in some book reviews because she wanted the community to get involved.

So, finally, I did. And reading it on the website, my words feel disjointed and not at all how the book really made me feel. But, it was my first time, and not having done one since 3rd grade, I’ll give myself a pass.

So go on… visit our little bookstore. Check out what I had to say and believe me when I say that it was a really really good read.

Dorm Bedroom

Ah yes, where all the magic happens…. at least now that I have my Harry Potter glasses.

So in case you’ve forgotten, we live in a very small apartment. I can literally wash the dishes while taking a bath. Well, okay, it’s not that close of a space, and although it would make sense to combine bathing and dishwashing, I don’t think I’ll start it up.

That is, unless someone tells me that it’s organic to wash dishes in the shower. In that case I would. Because aren’t we all clamouring to be defined as organic??

Oh, okay, I guess it’s just me.

Maybe not only organic, but also seinfeld-ic. I could wash some iceberg lettuce in the shower for sure. Then, I’ll be sure to mention it to someone just so they say “you know, that reminds me of a seinfeld episode” and then I’ll pretend to not know what they are talking about as if the very idea itself came from an [organic] thought.

Nevermind. I’ve got a cold, so I’m going on tangents.

On a good note, I spent tonight interpreting my first parent/teacher conference. Not once did I substitute the word “furniture” for “car”, like I did here. Not that either of those words would ever come up in a conference… Well, wait. I guess they could. “My son has bad attendance because our furniture is unreliable.” Confused? Read the linked post.

Okay, back to our dorm room. Enough of cold/sinus/allergy-induced ramblings.

We don’t have a lot of storage, so in an effort to create it, I opted to sell our super duper comfortable queen bed for a “I’m a freshman in college” loft bed. Pretty sweet. Bad thing is that neither a twin nor a full bed fit in it.


Make our own bed, Arkansas-style. How many of you can say you have a custom-made, (almost) sleep number, thermarest bed that just barely fits the both of you comfortably?

Yeah, didn’t think so. Don’t be jealous.

The reason it’s a psuedo sleep number is because we had to fold the thermarest padding over on one side, making R’s section a lot more cushiony. I like my mattress hard, so there you have it. I’m a 75 and he’s a 25 or vice versa. Whatever it is.
Quit laughing.

R’s dresser used to be under the loft bed and the trunk acted as a coffee table for the couch that’s under the “wall o’ equipment”. We had to continuously walk around the coffee table, so I decided to pull the dresser out and create a semi-barrier. This has helped us store more items behind it without the room being visually ugly. I heard laughter. I’m going to stand by that statement though.

I threw some old photos of Siloam Springs into a frame and exchanged out our old piggy bank for an old mason jar. I like rusty things.
How many times did I just use the word ‘old’?

The desk area has a lamp attached and so we’re thinking that due to lack of sunlight, we can always use this as a place to keep plants.

Wall o’ Equipment. Everything stacks up nicely though and is off the floors. Left to Right: Biking Gear, Camping/Hiking, Golf. Easy Peasy.

But if you ever come over to visit, you’ll notice something strange in our boudoir. The ceiling fan has no blades!



Uh-huh, that’s right, people. I took them off. First of all, it was like crossing a gauntlet just to get into bed if the fan was on. At any moment, our head could be taken off and roll across the floor.

And because I particularly like my head, I took the blades off.


We needed shelves! So we bought some L-Brackets and there you have it. Instant side tables. We don’t have a lamp or anything up there, so we use that look book spotlight as well as headlights.

Pretty romantic, eh?

Any ideas?? Help me!

Grand Canyon Pt 1

You must forgive the rather off-kilter formatting of this particular post. When I began uploading photos, I also started to watch ‘Remains of the Day’. Having never seen it, I was quite distracted (and have since tried to talk and write with a hint of British in every line.)

But I’m back to my normal American self and ready to talk about our quick adventure to the Grand Canyon.

R, N, A, & I (or C, because my name doesn’t start with an I, yet it may appear so due to the grammatical construction of the sentence. You know, to the millions of people reading this blog who don’t know me.) Well, anyway, R, N, A, & I/C packed up our 30 bags full of camping gear Friday night and headed to the airport. Again, like the our flight to Little Corn Island (see post here), I had never been on one so entertaining. But this time it was because of the flight staff. The man describing the plane, the placement of luggage, the general procedures of the flight talked non-stop for 5 minutes, intentionally.

It was an act, you see. A performance.

He made fun of the passengers, teased the work staff, and provided interesting information about the upgrades to the planes.

When he finished (and finally took a breath), most everyone (including me) actually clapped. I’m a thespian-lover. They could be street performers or opera singers, it really doesn’t matter. Because if they’re good, they’re good. And they deserve recognition fortheir talent.

So, I’m running away to join the flight attendants. If only for the free peanuts.

But wait! It wasn’t over! After everyone had been boarded onto the plane, a lady came onto the loud speaker and announced “I’ve found a black wallet at the front of the plane, here. It looks to be a man’s wallet….Okay, good! Now that I have your attention, Let’s start the safety procedures.”

Everyone laughed and, dare I say, actually listened to the procedures? Well, we knew N would either which way. He’s been pretty jittery since a terror flight he had recently.

It didn’t help when the pilot came on mid-flight and announced “If you look to the left, you will see [insert some geographical formation]. But don’t everyone lean to look at once, you’ll tip the plane.” And later, when R teasingly asked N during some turbulence, “So when do you think this plane would have arrived?” No laughs that time.

We landed arounded 7ish, picked up our rental car, bought food & supplies, and headed to our destination. Having arrived around midnight, A & I/C watched the boys put tents up by moonlight. An hour later, it started pouring. We had made it just in time.

After only a few hours of sleep, R was put in charge of making breakfast in the morning of which he did a great job. Nothing beats a good camping breakfast. Especially with some wildlife to watch while eating… If you look closely to the photo on the left (you can click to enlarge it), you just might see another friend of ours eating her breakfast.

We slowly got around to head down to the canyon, a couple shuttle rides away. N made some sandwiches that consisted of about 95% peanut butter and 3% bread. The other 2% were air bubbles created by my shocked exclamations.

We made it to the canyon, admired it’s grandness (no pun intended) and then quickly shifted our attention to something infinitely more fun. Squirrels! Despite the ominous signs showing bloody chunks taken out of fingers, we snuck pieces of food to the skinny squirrels thinking we were their only lifeline to survival.

After reading more signs asking each of us to please not die, we started down the Bright Angel Trail. This was touted as being popular, steep, with water. Some of the trails do not have water, therefore detouring some individuals. At one point we saw a young man climb out onto a outer rock to take photos. Our eyes widened, me with fear and the boys with excitement.

Oh, lordie. This is going to be a long walk, I can feel it.


The views were nice on this one… if only a bit narrow. It’s like seeing a sliver of the sky, knowing what the rest probably looks like, but unable to feel the full magnitude of it. But that was okay. Why? Because we got to see mules. And boy was I excited to pass by them.

I had read “the rules”, that hikers are to stay put (!) next to the inner wall and not to move. I took this very seriously.

Until the last mule literally shot out poop in front of me. And when I say shot out, I mean it was a horizontal excavation. That’s when I lost it….and squeeeealed. Not sure if that was the wisest thing to do while it was carrying a man next to the cliff’s edge, but now I know my natural reaction to that sort of situation. Apparently I make a noise similar to the animal involved. Just imagine me next to a donkey.

It took about an hour to get to our turning point. The bathrooms. We refilled our water bottles, ate some trail mix, and started our way back up. We were so happy walking down, skipping along at times, laughing & joking. It would be the same on the return trip, right? Right?


No. In fact, I think I would have been left for dead….

…if not for this woman. She joined us kind of last minute on this trip, and am I glad she did. Because do you know how long it took for the guys to compete against each other to see who could hike fastest up the trail? Nano seconds. The only part of them that stayed with us was their dusty wake.

A tried to talk to me a few times. She gave up after I didn’t respond. Not that I wouldn’t respond. I couldn’t. First of all, all I could hear was blood pouding on my temples and if some sort of noise phrased in a question actually reached my ear drums, I only whispered my answer through gasps of breath.

My brain and eye sockets were so much on fire that I didn’t even notice the guys’ backpacks laying on the rocks next to where we saw the guy climb out onto the rock. I was forging on, determined to get to the point.

So even when R and N stepped out, thinking they’ve pulled a good practical joke, my brain cells were too fried to figure out if it was funny or not.

We made it home within the next hour and collapsed around the fire. I had wanted to go to a Moon Walk which was offered around a full moon (which coincidentally was Labor Day weekend), but agreed that sitting on my bum with a good glass of red would be much more enjoyable.


So that’s what we did. We chit-chatted, listened to N’s adaptation of ‘Tales from the Crypt’, and went to bed early.


We had to be up at the crack of dawn to join a hike led by a park ranger. It would be on another trail with some of the most spectacular views of the canyon I’ve ever seen. I was a happy camper.

Up next: Grand Canyon Pt 2

















Spider Spotlight

These pictures do NOT give justice to how big this spider is. If R is not at my immediate beck and call to extinguish arachnids, this is what I end up doing.

Following them with a headlight along our ceiling. I refuse to lose sight of them until my spider hero comes back home.

And yes, that is our dorm room bed. 3 feet from the ceiling and all the more reason I have to keep track of those suckers. No way is it going to fall onto my face.

P.S. Hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day. R and I (along with his brother and girlfriend) are headed on a camping vacation to the Grand Canyon. Let’s put it this way: you have to use quarters in order to take a shower.

And Mama sure does like her showers. Let’s see how much money I spend on cleanliness alone.

Calculated Risk

Uh, no. Not going to walk out onto that ledge to see the waterfall, R. I mean look at it, will you. There’s nothing supporting it.

Fine, go. Go look at the waterfall by yourself. I’ll stand here and take photos of you while it collapses.

Don’t walk out on it like you’re not afraid. I know you ar- wait! Don’t go all the way out to the edge, R! You’re going out too far, you hear me?

Come over? Um, no. Wait, what? You’ll buy me a chocolate malt later if I do? Well…

…okay, I’ll just barely step onto it.

There’s not a lot of weight in my big toe, is there R? Not before the chocolate malt? I heard you.


How is this thing being held up?

By friggen tape???!!!

Okay, I’ll take a deep breath. No, be quiet, R. I need to concentrate. One, two, and jump onto the landing.

Oh, wow. Look at that. Okay, it’s not so bad. Why were you freaking out back there R?

So where’s my malt?