Just in case you were wondering..

Here are some dos and don’ts of  deciding to camp while attending a dance workshop on a blistery cold & windy weekend.

Yeah, go ahead and pack a really yummy healthy lunch. Some no-knead bread, a jar of carrot juice, maybe even some avocados.

And, sure, why not make a cozy fire to sit around.

Yes, of course use your new cast iron skillet skills for supper that night. You know, the ones you learned at this class. Only, try not to get a flat tire.

But do not.

I repeat, Do Not….

only pack skirts to wear, because you want to “look cute”. You will freeze your ass off and you’ll also get such a bad cold that it will threaten your Food Network getaway with a girlfriend the following weekend.

Just in case you were wondering, that is.

They’re alive, ALIVE!

One night we arrived home late to The Shack and, as usual, forgot to leave the porch light on. Forgetting the porch light in town is one thing; you have the neighbor’s light, or one from the street.  In the country it’s quite another. You have to feel your way to the front door in a blanket of darkness while trying to resist the pull of Orion’s Belt. Sometimes my head is thrown so far back staring at the open expanse, it’s difficult to raise it again.

This night we pulled into our driveway, and turned off the car. As I stepped out and immediately looked above, a sound wafted towards me from the fields. It was the unmistakeable sound of footsteps (or paw-steps?) slowly crunching down on the tall, dry grass.

My breath caught, and body went still. But I could see nothing, even with the headlights on.

Sound does travel further in the country, so it must be deeper in the field than I originally thought. It, whatever it is. When R got out, I whispered that something is out there. He listened, and also heard it.

Cruuuuuuuuunch, Cruuuuuuunch, as if it were slowly making its way.

He yelled at me to get in the house. We had been hearing coyotes for some time now and as there is a thicket of woods (and turkeys, mind you) behind us, if they’re hungry, then we’re in trouble.

We ran inside, pulled out R’s trusty flashlight, and went through the back door.

I peeped behind R’s shoulder to see the pack of wolves, or by this point, T-Rex dinosaurs that have been incubating in a frozen tundra underneath the fields until just a few moments prior. And they were hungry.

Still, we couldn’t see anything. But the sound was closer than before, inching its way to our rabbit hutches. If you didn’t know, T-Rex dinosaurs love rabbits.

R felt me over his back and pushed me inside. Stay in there!, he said and I listened. There was something in his tone.

After inspecting the hutches a bit more and trying his best to dinosaur-proof the rabbits, he came back in.

I guess we’ll just see if they make it through the night, he said. And we looked at each other, both silently praying that we would make it too. T-rexes are also drawn to gray hair, so I knew I was a gonner.

We climbed into bed and held hands, like the couple in Titanic.

The next morning, I opened my eyes to a new day and yelled ‘Huzzah’! We made it! R woke up, and we ran outside to check on the rabbits.

This is what we saw:

Now, I know I grew up in the city and am still getting used to the noises (and in reality, the quietness) of the country, but this one did make me feel like a loser. The cows had been rotated into the fields behind us.


Eat your heart out, Cleopatra

Since I had started making my own soap, I’d also been thinking of expanding the home-ec project into other areas of skin care. Namely: make-up, face wash, and moisturizer. My 8th grade science teacher kept coming back to me, “Skin is your largest organ. Skin is your largest organ, Carolyn. CAROLYN!” ..at which point I would wipe away drool and immediately ask my neighbor for some CornNuts.


I’m hungry when waking up from a nap.

Luckily R agreed that this was important, as there was going to be an initial cost. More than I thought, in fact. But after crunching some numbers, the total amount of product easily exceeds what we would get pre-packaged at the store for the same amount, and with higher quality ingredients.

First up is the almond meal facial scrub recipe I found:

  • 4 tbls almond meal
  • 1 tsp jojoba oil
  • 2 tbls honey

That’s it.

There’s something so intoxicating about putting honey on my skin. It’s like I’m channeling Cleopatra, who used honey on her entire body.

Hell, I’d even settle for Elizabeth Taylor’s skin at this point. After she married Richard Burton.

The second time.

I tripled this recipe so as not to have to make it every other day and will admit that it’s not the easiest to apply. Honestly, it’s downright messy.

But it did take the 7 layers of foundation off without a hitch and my skin doesn’t even feel dry. In fact, it’s not oily either.

So far so good. We’ll see about the homemade foundation, though. I’m predicting that I’ll soon be asked to star in the sequel to Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

Stay tuned.

The Battle of Caaahrthage

We fought the battle and won, my friends.

You know, the “weekend spent with 3 sisters, a sister-in-law, and a mother all in the attic of a bed & breakfast during their wine festival without killing each other” battle.

Any time a night hasn’t ended with a drink thrown in your face and the silent treatment, consider it a victory.

But it really wasn’t hard. And we were tested. Oh yes, we were tested.

Try going to the bathroom in front of four people in a space with no partitions.

No amount of magazines will help that situation.

But, to be true, we won probably because I paced myself….

..or because of the $20 lipstick complete with a built in lighted mirror. You know, in case you go spelunking in a cave with some girlfriends and need to freshen up.

This little gem just might have been the saving grace.

After our freshening up, we stepped out onto the front lawn to have a lunch while sampling the local vendors.

I’ve often wondered if I couldn’t sell at one of these events. With all the grapes left in the back of the fridge, some of them are bound to ferment, right?

After several moves around the lawn and a couple more samples, we hit the town.

Dancing? Why yes, but not us this time.

The Kansas City Marching Cobras happened to be in Carthage this particular weekend! My sister L looked on like a proud mother as she was the only one of us who had seen them before. She continually asked us if we were sure we wanted to go see them, and then afterwards thanked us all for coming as if she hosted the group in her living room.

The Marching Cobras was started up in KC as a way for inner city kids to have a positive outlet, while also having to maintain a certain gpa, etc. They were a nice addition to our weekend!

When we arrived back at the B&B, we convinced the owners to turn on the twinkle lights on the front porch. Oh, to have a spacious, stone front porch like this one.

I would invest in only white linen dresses, cinched at the waist and insist that my hair be pulled up in a loose bun. Sigh.

We sat around sampling more wines, shoving chinese food down our gullets,

while L put on more lipstick.

We talked around the table for a good couple hours before heading up to the attic where it felt like a scene from Little Women.

Why do I always have to play the role of Beth?

Unlike Beth, my heart did survive the night and the next morning we woke up to breakfast downstairs. This is the first time I’ve had to sit with the hosts and other guests at one table. It was awkward at first, since it felt a little intimate.

Luckily they were the talkative sort and kept up both their and my end of the conversation. Functional Introvert saved once again!

Mom had to wear her sunglasses because of the sun and I laughed inappropriately loud for so early in the morning. The host quickly served our first course after that loud guffaw.

A couple poems were read and some well-rehearsed stories were told by the hosts, then we parted ways from cute Carthage, MO.

Writing this post has made me realize that as soon as I do something, I need to write about it. I’m sure there were a ton of little nuances throughout the stay that made me come away with this feeling of having had such a good time, but for the life of me, I cannot recall them. But maybe that isn’t true. Maybe it was just the feeling of being together that left a good mark on my memory. Kind of like reading a book on a crisp sunny afternoon that resulted in a more refreshed version of yourself than when you first sat down. Nothing in particular, but just the whole of the experience.

Thank you girlies!