Turkey Farm Shanty

This weekend R and I are moving into our new digs. On a turkey farm.

It’s actually a really cute shanty. R thinks it looks like the quintessential country home to generations of meth users, whereas I think it could easily be used in a movie. You know, like in the last scenes of Silence of the Lambs.

Quite adorable, really.

But it is excruciatingly cheap. Making us one step closer to buying our own bit of starry sky.

And it has space. And quiet. And breezes. And trees.

Put those together and you have the most delicious sound that even an iPod can’t rival.

I’d rather be here.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, the trio went canoeing. We could go down these Arkansas rivers every day, it is so relaxing to us.

That is, until my fishing rod gets caught in a tree and the guys have to go back upstream to retrieve it.

Too much fun (at least for the person sitting in the boat taking photos.)

Mother’s Day

We had a nice Mother’s Day. We ate at a quirky Indian restaurant in Eureka Springs while a lady we could’ve sworn was Janis Joplin belted out gospel music.

After a few awkward moments of verbal tug-of-war, R and I finally won the honor of paying for the meal. It’s a lot more fun for the giver when the givee just gives in without a fight.

In R’s family, it’s a different kind of tug-of-war. There’s no discussion of who is paying. You just have to pull an undercover sniper attack on the waitress to get the ticket before the other person does.

Afterwards, we went on a tram tour of the the city. The docent (thank you for the vocab, mom) was cute. Maybe I just liked her white hair, I don’t know, but I did chuckle a lot.

We drove by countless Victorian homes. The entire downtown is in the National Register of Historic Places in America.

I’m glad these two appreciate it as much as me.

We made a quick tram tour stop at a church with cool statues of the stations of the cross.

And then we saw the fudge store. Enough said.

I found some overgrown stairs and immediately climbed them. Poison oak be darned, I’m finding out what’s up there.


And people looking through the windows wondering who this chick was with red splotches on her ankles.

Note to self: don’t wear sandals while traipsing through unknown foliage.

We visited one of the many springs in the town and then headed home. We were exhausted! Two full days of exploring, but oh it was worth it!

Can’t wait to explore the many other areas of Arkansas, possibly with some newcomers to the state? More details on that later.

Trip Down Dad’s Memory Lane

Last weekend, my parents came down to visit. It happened to be on Mother’s Day weekend, and when asked if she was sad to not be spending it with the majority of her kids in KC, she replied, “Oh yeah. I didn’t realize it was this weekend.”


One item on our agenda was to scope out where my grandparents (my father’s parents) grew up. My dad visited his mom’s family once a year on and off and had fond memories.

So we piled into the car and. off. we. went. ..just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down

One thing my dad brought up was the artesian well near his grandparent’s property, which had never stopped gushing out water when he was kid. We weaved our way down some dirt roads and finally found it, on (no joke) Artesian Well Road.


We later found out that my great-great grandparents owned a store right near this water source, if not practically right on top of it. At one time, there was also a plaque stating that this was a stagecoach stop!

Just past this well is a creek in which dad used to play. When we drove up to it, there were still kids playing in it, which was a nice touch, I thought.

Then we headed back towards the properties.

First, looking to the south to Tater Hill and John Koch’s house.

As we parked, we heard some birds chirping on the wire fence.

So mom brought out their trusty bird book and we actually found it and listed to its song!

I’m one for 235 on the good gift scale. Not bad.

We spotted Uncle Abe and Aunt Sophie’s home and pulled up in front of it.

Dad started pointing out what the different buildings behind the house were for, what had changed, what hadn’t, etc. Then we noticed a man standing out in the lawn.

He didn’t look too happy watching us stare at this property.

So dad decided to pull in and talk to him.

Turns out the home is still owned by Abe and Sophie’s son (Dennis) and this couple is renting from him. They said they had Dennis’ number in their cell and asked if we’d like to talk to him.

This is Dad’s cousin. Yes, we’ll talk to him!

While Dennis was being called, the other guy showed us his timberwolf. No really. A full timberwolf.

I stayed back.

Dennis happened to be in the area and swung by the property. Dad and him shook hands exclaiming how old each had gotten. It was great. He was the one who told us about the store near the well.

They reminisced and described what had changed.

The barn from which they’d gather eggs is still there as well as the building where they’d milked the cows.

The field is there with cows (and donkeys) running amok. Did you know that donkey’s are used to keep away coyotes?

Neither did I.

After we left, we stopped by the old cemetery and found some gravestones. This will help me in my ancestry.com quest. Oh lordie, a couple nights ago, I travelled a few hundred years back into time into the land of Luxembourg, Germany. It was fantastic. Love that site.

Dennis also told us that the house where Dad’s mom grew up in was still standing. Even dad didn’t know about that. We got directions and headed straight there.

Don’t you just love it? Yes, there’s a piece of furniture on the balcony and a stove on front porch, but come on!

I’m just picturing little Gerdie running around with her blonde ringlets and wishing it were up for sale. I want it back.

But for now, I’ll be content with looking at the photos and imagining.

Warm Weather

I am so ready for sitting under bright skies, soaking in the sun.

So much sun that you  need a long-sleeved shirt to keep the chill from your glass of white away later that evening.

Oh, yes I’m ready.

I think it was rigged.

Recently, my brother asked me how R and I like Arkansas. Well. We love it.

I literally stepped foot into the state for the first time, ummm, about 2 weeks before we moved there. We all had our barefoot and pregnant jokes, I was expecting to relive Deliverance, and R was afraid he’d lose his teeth. But oh how wrong we were.

The in-laws and I had gone on a Buffalo River canoeing trip. This was when I went on a tour of R’s family homestead, which you can read about that here and when we climbed up on the tower which you can read here. On the way to Gilbert, Arkansas, I rolled down the window, stared at the countryside and just longed to be near it. It was instant love.

Not to mention these little drives under canopies of trees. I mean, can’t you just picture me with a carpet bag riding in a buggy?

So we dumped off our luggage and went into town (I use that word loosely — there is a general store and cafe. That’s it. Awesome. No, I mean really, I thought it was awesome. No sarcasm.)

J, R’s mom, and I were surrounded by two generations of brothers. Scary.

We jumped into our canoes and took off. This was another instance in which R & I barely escaped a canoeing incident without a divorce. I think I was so overwhelmed by the beauty that peace was closer at hand.

We stopped midway down to take a dip in the icy water. N was the sole brave one to wade all the way in. So we had the brilliant idea of skipping rocks near his head for him to goalie. Don’t ask. Maybe it’s an Arkansas thing.

Later that evening we came home, where I made a pasta dish using cilantro instead of parsley. I cannot explain what I was thinking. For some reason I had it in my head that cilantro was what we needed. I’ve got a long way to go in the kitchen.

We played poker and clowned around on the beams.

It was such a nice weekend and completely sold me on what would be my new home.

I’m still sold.

Catalina Island and beyond…

I’m not feeling very wordy today. So just follow me through the last day on Catalina Island…

But first, the night before. We popped a few more advil and sat in front of the fire to watch the sunset. Later, we would all snuggle our way into the tent to play Taboo for a couple hours. Knowing it was cold outside and us warm and safe in our sleeping bags helped soothe our achy bodies.

But I couldn’t sleep. And neither could my brother.

So we spent most of the night staring at the moon and its reflection on the water, quietly thinking to ourselves. That’s the good thing about M. You don’t need to converse. You can just sit and drown yourself in thought.

Morning came almost too soon.

But, with morning came the sun. And oh how wonderful it felt on our faces.

So, let me take you on the hike back. I want you to imagine a slight breeze, crisp air, and warm sunshine. The ground was dry, but you could feel the moisture on everything green.

We hiked up hills, cut through the Others’ neighborhood, ducked under canopies of trees… All of this with a smile on our faces. We were happy.

We arrived a couple hours later and enjoyed a nice lunch at the restaurant and a game of speed on Tinkerbell playing cards. And no, they weren’t my cards. I had a falling out with Disney while working at an Equity Center in college. It was ugly. R had to endure the brunt of my anger so no one else would.

On the way back, I refused to sit inside. Instead, I wrapped myself up in a sleeping bag and sat on the top deck with eyes closed, just embracing the wind. I could live outdoors.

The next day we intended to hike up to the Hollywood sign, but we didn’t make it very far. Our legs hurt.

This is what happens when I ask the brothers-in-law to “get together”. R just stares at M’s outreached hand.

We had a really good time. M & D were great hosts and you could tell they really wanted us to enjoy ourselves. And we did. Thanks you two!

Catalina, or why my hips hurt.. Part One

I’ll be straight with you. I’m gonna stretch this past weekend out for as many posts as possible, partly because it reminds me of the nice weather we experienced and partly because I have nothing else to talk about. So there.

We met up with my brother’s friends early saturday morning to eat a good pre-hiking breakfast of McDonalds Egg & Cheese biscuits. Just exactly what you want at the pit of your belly while wandering around for 8 miles. But since I never order this delicacy anymore, I slurped it up. Slurped? I guess that verb works, since its mostly grease.

Ah, grease. Let’s all take a moment and bow our heads in appreciation of it.

After an hour ride on the water taxi to the Two Harbors marina, we unloaded our gear, grabbed what we needed from the park office, and took off. Oh joy! We were so happy and full of energy!! Especially me, since D slipped me an Excedrin on the ride over. I don’t take much medicine, even for minor things. So when this puppy hit me, I was wide eyed and jittery. I’m pretty sure if someone showed up in a trench coat with little Excedrin pills hanging on the inside, I’d buy some. And isn’t that how they always get you? The first one’s free, buddy.

As we walked around the one street town to find the trailhead, I noticed a sign. Wheels? When was that an option? I want my money back.

But they shoved a sock in my mouth and we trekked on….

…right up the first hill out of town. And then we rested for about three hours. It hurt and I was starting to crash from my half dosage of pain reliever. We were bracing for the worst.

Every so often, I’d turn around to see where my brother, M, was. I’d have to turn around, you see, because he was almost certainly pulling up the rear. It wasn’t because he was out of shape.. oh no, it was because he was carrying an 8-person tent. For 8 miles. I’ll let that swirl around in your brain for a bit and will definitely not bring up that I had suggested renting a couple smaller tents. No, you’ll never hear that out of my mouth.



I don’t know how he did it. I’d have quit right after lugging it to the car.

But we forged on, enjoying the scenery. And oh, it was so lovely. We arrived after almost two straight weeks of rain showers and the hills showed the results. I was happy.

Until we turned a corner. And I saw it. Where the Others live. It. was. freaky. Mostly because of how quiet it was. So I pretended to be Kate and hoped Sawyer was somewhere nearby being tortured on a tree. Who knew torturing could be so sexy?

After that scene was over with, we came to a crossroads, and chose unwisely. Whenever I think of the phrase “choose wisely”, I always envision Indiana Jones determining which cup is the Holy Grail. Isn’t it weird how your mind will instantly flash a scene for only a moment and then its gone.

Happens to me a lot. But mostly it’s of what might happen. And that, my friends, is the scariest place to go in the world.

What I didn’t envision was walking straight into the path of bison.

My heart pounded.

We stood there staring at them and them back at us. It felt like a million years went by until one of them finally crossed the path and let us through.

After about a mile straight uphill, we realized we had gone the wrong way and had to turn around and politely ask to be let by the bison again. My poor hips.

Oh, and M’s too. I had almost forgotten about him. But they hitched a ride from some guys who had their day off. In the back, they had a cooler full of beer and we checked to see if it had the Dharma logo. It didn’t. But I still bored my eyes into them hoping to be offered one. All I got was dirt in my face as they peeled off.

M & D had never smiled bigger.

But if I’m honest, I enjoyed the hike… despite how angry my hips were.

I was just happy to be outside all day. Nothing beats that feeling.

So after we watched M & D ride off into the sunset, the rest of us hiked a couple more miles to the end destination. A little cove called Parsons Landing. As we neared, our feet couldn’t help but run.

I was kind of sad for it to end. But sitting in front of a fire and hearing the waves crash all night made the 16 hour pause so worth it.

So did the food. Okay, it was all the food, none of the nature.

No, okay, I lied again. It was about half and half.

Tomorrow we would wake up early and hike back…and to me, a morning hike is about as good as it gets. Especially if you have M&Ms in your pocket.

Good night.


What is my obsession with feet in photos? There’s no logical thought process since I don’t even take care of them, so why should I photograph them?

But I do.

And now you have to suffer.

Some of these I’ve blogged about (and have linked back to those posts) and others I haven’t, but wish I had.

Hot summer weekend trip in Iowa. Cool, sweet water.

Just prior to having a semi-heart attack on the Brew to Brew: 50 mile relay race from Boulevard Brewery in KC to FreeState brewery in Lawrence. The worst part was knowing that after your team drove past cheering you on, they immediately rolled up the window to say how sorry you looked. I know this, because we did it to every other person on our team. But I’m sure they didn’t do it to me. Right. RIGHT?

Hiking the Grand Canyon. What a glorious day, despite R almost dying.

Garage sale shopping with my mom. This was a terrifying flash forward of our lives when she literally parked in someone’s front lawn. Not on purpose.

What you don’t see above these feet is a girl dry heaving on Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. Apparently I don’t like heights?

After wearing heels for too long, asking R if I could borrow his shoes for a few minutes. No I wasn’t wearing socks either.

[collective groan / shrieks of horror]

Dancing the Thriller…in sneakers. If I saw a zombie coming towards me in white tennies, I’d either poke him in the eyes (and hope he doesn’t block me with the finger shark fin) or run my butt off. He might’ve died running, you know.

Do you see the steep stairs in this Irish castle ruin? And the rain water? You do the math.

Visiting our cousins in the Sunshine State. This is also a good reminder: Kids, always remember to put sunblock on your feet. Do not, I repeat, do not stop at your ankles.

Costume / Dance Parties. Oh, penny loafers.

Camping / Hiking – and facing my fear of the granddaddy spider of 2001.

And last but certainly not least… running through fields. I was apparently really excited to get to something…. probably food.

As I was looking around, I found even more feetsies photos. Oh yes, there will be a part two. Who sighed? I heard that.

How Not to Watch a Meteor Shower

Well, there’s a couple things you’d want to do in order to NOT watch a meteor shower.
First, (and this is an important one, folks) you’ll want to misread the time suggested for watching the shower. Disregard “EST” next to the time. It is extremely unimportant.
Then, convince your husband that staying up until after midnight (on a school night – gasp!) will be a bonding experience.
Next, proceed to wear cut off pajamas with wool socks and tevas. (Fellas, don’t be jealous of R.)
After you’re done dressing inappropriately for the weather, ask your hubby to set up the lawn chairs outside.
Nevermind that it’s pitch black and the neighbor arriving home in 15 minutes will freak out when he finds two people sitting in the middle of the sidewalk staring at him as he turns the corner.  This will be a good ice breaker.
Lastly, go ahead and sit out for 30 minutes thinking that maybe the newspaper was wrong and the show will start later than expected.
Only get up when your emotions are frozen solid. Apologize once they’ve thawed and go to bed.


Sunday would have been the perfect day to sit by an open window and knit during the afternoon hours. It was rainy, yet not too cool. I had good view of our backyard pasture, and the neighbors must have been all on vacation. Silence is so rare. I cherished it.

I’ve got several goals swirling around in my head for the year to come. But one of them I’m getting started sooner than the rest.

Since I cannot seem to get past the casting stage of knitting, I’ve decided to take a class. Sorry in advance for everyone’s birthday next year. I’ll give you three guesses as to what you’ll be receiving.

Tortoise and the Hare meets Hoosiers

It was almost one in the morning on Friday night when I heard the snickering outside our dorm window. J & T had arrived.


R & I had decided to camp out in the living room and let our guests sleep in the loft bed. Aren’t we nice. They would’ve probably been more comfortable on the couch.

But maybe that was a tactic to sabotage them. No one will ever know…and I’ll never admit it.

More snickering. We opened the door and let them in. “T was laughing at your bikes!!” yells J as they roll in their seriously serious mountain bikes. Freshly bought a month earlier at an actual bike store. No joke. Those bikes were… serious.

And we instantly had bike envy.

I rubbed my eyes and with a knee-jerk reaction, barked at them “We got them on Craigslist for 30 bucks. Leave them alone! I mean it!”

Welcome to Arkansas. Where the moment guests walk through the door, a fight breaks out. Anyone else want to visit?
Don’t you listen to them, cheap Walmart Craiglist bikes. You are special.

At first, it had nothing to do with how well made the bikes were. T was really worried that our bikes would fall apart while on a trail and we’d have to get them surgically removed from you-know-where.

The danger awaiting us is really what kept me up most of Friday night. Maybe that was their sabatoge. Okay, I get it now.

For a girl who shares a mid-90s car with her husband, lives in a pseudo dorm room, and buys most of her clothes on Goodwill Dollar days (can I not even pay full price at the goodwill??), a name brand bike should have been the least of her worries.

And it was. That is, until morning hit.

I woke up before the alarm went off and hurridly ran to wake up everyone else. We had bikes to fix, breakfast to eat, and other mandatory race items to buy!

J had an extra bike seat and T insisted R use it. He was afraid we’d never be able to have kids with the seat Walmart provided. I was right on T’s heels also insisting a better seat, but now it was only partly for safety reasons and mostly to fit in with this illusive bike crowd.

Maybe if we have a better seat, they won’t notice the huge ROADMASTER decal on the side.

When we arrived at the starting point, I made R put the bikes in the transition station for us without me. Man, this was going to my head! I had better get focused, I thought.

Okay. Let’s review how R and I trained for this event. Well, we paid our entrance fees a few months in advance. Then we waited until something nagged at the back of our heads that something was coming up. It felt like that something was something we should be training for. But what was it exactly? Oh, right, right. A little race with J & T where mid-way I’m sure we’ll stop for a picnic of cheese and wine.

That was it: a steady regimine of complete denial. Along with a few vitamins thrown in for good measure.

We had absolutely no clue. But it was too late now, the show was about to begin.

The first thing we had to do was plot out the checkpoints. We were given coordinates and, by using a UTM reader & topography map, created a general outline of the route.

Just this caused me to drink half my water and lie on the ground. What had I gotten myself into.

Once we compared notes, the four of us took off. We were separate teams but hung out with each other until slow-poke Carrie pulled her team back.

The weather: it. was. gorgeous. And I’m glad it was this way, otherwise, I don’t know if we’d have very fond memories. Not that threatening to get a divorce on a canoe as well as almost throwing up a chimichanga at a mystery event were really fond memories…. but at least it was nice out. We can always say we had that.

This is how the race was described:
  • hike/trek 8 miles
  • water activity
  • bike 20 miles
  • perfect for a first time racer!

This is how it really went:

  • Run until your sides hurt
  • Lift 1000 lbs
  • Get lost
  • Get back on track
  • Run until your sides hurt
  • Canoe across a lake until your arms hurt
  • Get divorced
  • Turn circles back to land because you can’t make the canoe go straight for one measly second
  • Jump onto a bike
  • Ride until your legs hurt
  • Eat a chimichanga and start to heave
  • Apologize to person who made chimichanga saying that if you hadn’t been in this race, you could’ve positively pounded those down.
  • Ride until your legs hurt.
  • Play putt-putt and get a hole in two.
  • Cry.
  • Ride until your legs hurt.
  • Finish.
  • Get remarried.

Sprinkle in a few curse words & tumbles on the bike and there you have it. Sound like fun?

But there’s more than that. Here’s what happened.

Slow poke Carrie kept her team back. So J & T went ahead of us. …and ahead of us. …and ahead of us… leaving me the only person to watch R trip on every frigging tree root on the trail. I was tired, people. And everything was ticking me off, especially tripping on tree roots.

Poor R.

J & T were so far ahead of us, though, that when R and I reached the canoes we asked where team number 27 was, and he looked at us pityingly (side note: did he know what bikes we rode? was that why he looked at us that way?) and said, “Oh, yeah. They’ve been out on the water already for 20 minutes.”

I could’ve sworn he called me a slow poke as we picked up our canoe. Whatever.

So we climbed into the boat and I knew this was really going to test us. We had once gone on a date way back when, where we took a canoe out onto a lake … and almost broke up then. And that was during the first phase of dating, where nothing made you mad about the other person.

Now we were paddling with 6 years worth. It was… interesting, to say the least. (In my defense, when R told his coworkers about the race, one of them mentioned that canoeing is the single hardest thing to do with a spouse… this was before R said anything about our short-lived divorce. So there.)

We kept our position out on the lake, which at this point was 7th-ish. There were two other co-ed teams ahead of us, including our friends.

Next came the bikes. I purposely slowed us down until we could transition onto them without anyone in the area.

No, not really. But I wanted to. Let’s just say, I was happy to put on a helmet and cover up my beaming red face. Darn you, T. Get out of my head!

We rode up and down some major hills until finally finding the street of our next checkpoint, which happened to be in a neighborhood. This was the chimichanga event, and so we had to park our bikes. Guess who parked theirs behind a car on the street. Look, I’m not proud of it.

We walked across the lawn and asked the now irritating question, “How far ahead is team #27?”

“They haven’t come yet.”

Shut the front door, I thought. Or maybe I said it out loud. At this point, I was saying a lot of things out loud.

“You are kidding.”

“No, we’re not. You’re team #3.”

After I downed the chimichanga, we jumped back onto our bikes and took off. As we turned the corner, guess who came around in their gleaming, sparkly, seriously serious bikes? J & T. That’s right, folks: eat. our. dust.

I raised my arm and yelled, “Go craigslist walmart bikes!” and off we went.

After a few more checkpoints and spots on the trail where I know R was silently thanking T for the seat change, we saw the finish line.

Oh, the glorious glorious finish line. After 4.25 hours, I was ready to sit down and have a beer. Not a chimichanga though.

Unbelievably, we stayed in third for the rest of the way and ended up winning first in the co-ed division.

I’ve never won anything, let alone a race…so this was exciting for us (me). Our bikes did it. They did it. It was a classic underdog fable.

But I still wheeled them to a discreet location immediately after dismounting.

Afterwards, we drove a short ways to Eureka Springs and, on the way, called random places to stay. Everything was full because of a folk music festival going on, so we booked the first thing that had a jacuzzi and/or hot tub.

Should it have been awkward to share a place that housed a jacuzzi (for two) in the middle of the living room?

Because it wasn’t.

It was even less awkward that all four of us got into the two-person jacuzzi and sipped champagne.

And less awkward still when after J & I climbed out to lay on the couch and watch National Lampoon’s Vacation (and quickly falling asleep), to hear R & T clink champagne glasses while toasting our future families.

It was awesome. We had such a nice night.

trying to get the shot of a lifetime

The next day.


Every fiber of my being was sore and what way to really understand this pain?

Why, by visiting the Christ of the Ozarks.

Such a fun weekend… I can say this now, because the pain has gone away and I am encouraged to actually train for the next one.

We’ve already got plans for a sequel.

And R has plans for a new partner.

Walking a Tight Rope

Or logs in this case.

Yesterday was yet another beautiful day in the neighborhood. We stepped outside and immediately decided to go for a hike. Nearby, even closer then our favorite state park, is a sliver of national forest. One that we had yet to explore.

So we packed up some snacks and headed out.

I like charting unfamiliar territory. That is, until we get to a spring that must be navigated by wobbly tree limbs.

Okay, so the fall down was not far. But it was too close to the beginning of our trek to justify continuing on with wet shoes & socks if I did fall.

R went first. He put his arms out and one. two. was across.


I can do that, I thought competitively.

But I didn’t realize I’d have to dance my way across in order to do so. Those limbs were out to get me.

(un)Luckily, R managed to catch the pas de deux with me & nature.

It quickly evolved into a dance off and thank goodness, too, because I always end up having to dance the boy part. Like when I was 8 and my mom & aunt made my cousin and me reenact the last dance scene from Dirty Dancing.

um, awkward. especially the hand down the armpit part.

I’m gonna win, you darn logs.
But first I need to stretch.
Lean, two, three, four..
and the other leg, two, three, four.

You want somma this?
How about some line dancing!
Even with one arm behind my back, I gotchew.

What did you say down there?
Speak up my man, because you ain’t seen nothing yet.

That’s right. I’m Michael Flately..
about to Riverdance yo ass!

I’ve had about enough of your lip.
This calls for some third position plie action.

Oh, no you di’int
just call your friend over to block my way.
(Lots of pushing and huffing
ensues for about 25 minutes)

But in the end, I won.
I also wore the same smile
as when I graduated Kindergarten.

And now I’m sore.

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. 

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

















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?

Stayin’ Put.

It’s nice stayin’ put sometimes.

  • we camped out at a little state park.
  • made wishes on stars and roasted marshmallows.
  • thumbed through a thick book while locusts buzzed above.
  • slept in our new “sweetie pie doubler”.
  • wore socks and sandals without shame around the morning campfire.
  • went on a hike and breathed in a waterfall. my nose was never happier.
  • found a FREE mid-century style vinyl chair on the side of the road. it’s ripped, but I will have it recovered. Ryan rolled his eyes only once, so the pick-up was a success.
  • shared a burger and malt at our local dairyette.
  • walked around the city cemetery to look at old tombstones and noticed many wives from the late 19th century without death dates listed. wondered aloud if maybe they are still walking around town? discussed whether people might think I’m one of them.
  • received a fun letter from my mom and belly-flopped onto the couch to read it.
  • made stove-top popcorn.
  • turned up the a/c and buried myself under a blanket to watch a pre-20th century period piece (genre according to netflix).
  • updated my blog

And you know what. We’re not even into Sunday.

I’m not proud of this.

Her come-hither look. Sigh. I’ll just never achieve it.

Nope, not proud one bit. I blame my mom and my husband, because well, they don’t necessarily keep me from making a fool of myself and I think sometimes encourage it. I mean, why else would she suggest Jane Austen movies to watch and why would R agree to have a Netflix account? They both must be out to get me.

So I watched one of those movies my mom suggested on Netflix to which R agreed to subscribe. Not a good thing since it dealt with a modern girl going back to Jane’s time and becoming one of the characters in her book. Isn’t that what I’ve been trying to do my whole life?

Of course, I had to try and recreate it. One scene in particular involved learning how to use a fan to convey (or conceal) emotions. So I grabbed my trusty Pride & Prejudice book, fanned myself with it out the door and to the car.

Then I fanned myself behind a dump truck, through the forest, and to a hiking trail.

Finally. I was alone and could practice my fan moves. I even pulled my hair back into a bun and walked sans make-up for probably the second time in my life. No seriously. My first words to my mom were “please cover up the dark circles under my eyes, mommy. thanks a bunch.”
All of this for Jane.

So, here goes nothing:

Cough, ahem. Uh, so yeah, come hither you tall thing, you.

How dare you come hither! Stand back!

Okay, okay, just kidding. Come back and hither a bit more.

What did you say? Don’t you hither away from me.

Hey you — You have a fast hithering pace, but I caught up. Don’t you like me?

Hee Hee… I knew you did. I hear other people hithering on the trail. Let’s get out of here!

I seriously could have done this all day. Point, shoot, click, hither. Point, shoot, click, hither. All day. But my spell was broken when I looked down. Sigh, again. I just can’t get in the regency era mood in these honkers. Next time on the trail I’ll bring my ballet flats. That will surely do the trick.

Shangri-Lloyds @ Tablerock

With my tailbone medication in hand (chilled white wine), we ventured off to a local’s home for his annual party. Shangri-Lloyds. I want this property. Not just because there is an entire wing set up dormitory style for guests, that you have a great view of the lake, or even the three levels of deck space. No, it was all the games.

There’s Lloyd in the yellow. He’s in his 70s and still rockin’ it.
Let’s go through them. Well, we’ve got a volleyball net set up, or how about a little game of frisbee golf?

Not your cup of tea? Alright, then let’s head over to the landing for the zip-line. I’ll hang out on the tire swing while you do that.

Want more? There’s some washers and if you walk a little ways up, you have a full basketball court. Also, a batting cage with it’s own pitching machine over there if you’re interested.

And we were, by golly. We did *everything*. It was a blast and my sweaty shirt showed it.

For dinner, we had pork that had been roasting underground since the night prior. It even had an apple in it’s mouth. I felt like we were seriously on vacation to get this type of treatment. Hawaii, maybe?

As the sun went down, the lights turned on. So did the volume. We enjoyed background music of a local band playing on the deck. In between, various people would stand up and sing a song a capella. I don’t know about you, but stuff like that makes me cringe. I have to look away and it takes my whole being to watch. It’s the seriousness of it all, I guess.

So I convinced my two buddies (R & N) to go on the zip-line with me so I could avoid making eye-contact with the next singer. There was a seat on the zip-line at one point, but we didn’t mind just hanging on.

After a few games of HORSE and hitting baseballs, we left the party a bit early to go swimming off the dock. We took turns jumping off and trying to get mid-air pics. It was utterly summer vacation in that moment. Being silly with a twinge of danger… Wasn’t that in all of our childhoods?

The reason my entire body aches:

Water, water, and more water. For the most part, it’s a good ache. It’s something that reminds me of how much fun we had out there. Saturday afternoon, we jumped into my Father-in-Law’s (RC) and his brother’s (M) boat for some tubing and cliff jumping at Table Rock Lake. You saw how the latter ended, but you didn’t see the story behind it. 
First, we went tubing for a bit. RC and I managed to stay on for a little while, until we did a turn that caused my entire body to skid the top of the water. The ironic part is that moments before, RC was telling me how his brother had learned how to waterski barefoot… and here I was, waterskiing with my whole body. Well, minus my hands as they would not let go of the handles despite my brain screaming that it would probably be for the best if I did. Nope, I just hung on, body skimming the water. Finally, I let go and almost had to have my bathing suit surgically removed. 

Then RC and his brother, M, took a stab at it. I enjoyed watching RC try to get onto the tube while still out in the water. (That was, until I later tried to do the same and regretted my loud laughs). But it still made us giggle looking at the tube standing straight up and imagining his face behind it. He did manage to get on it, by the way.

RC looked a bit worried giving control over the wheel to his sons. This could have been the perfect opportunity to get back at him for making them clean up their rooms growing up. At one point, RC motioned to slow down and N relayed to the driver (R) that they wanted to speed up. Ah, sweet revenge.

Later, it was N and R’s turn. And even when they taunted us to try and knock them off the tube, they still held on. 

When they discussed jumping off the cliff, my initial reaction was NOOOOO. My foot could slip, I’ll not jump far enough out, I’ll land in the only shallow part of the lake, I’ll…I’ll… And then I noticed N starting to crack. He had already jumped off the cliff a year ago, but that didn’t stop him from getting nervous the second time around. And with him having a nervous breakdown beside me, it made me calmer. Maybe I’m a bit competitive? If no one is freaking out, I’ll be the most freaked out. If someone is freaking out, I will be the least affected. Pretty annoying, I know.

So RC, R, N, & I trekked our way to the top, bypassing the ominous 25 ft sign where all the normal people were jumping off. 

We finally made it to the top, only to find N just staring over the edge. Every once in a while he would yell “Just calm down. Everybody, just calm down!!” (as we stared at him calmly). Then when I moved closer by him to peer over the edge, he would yell that “we are all getting too close to him and need to calm down!” It was hysterical, because he was really being serious.

When RC got up there, he tossed his lifejacket, looked at us and then flew off the side yelling “God hates cowards!” Just like that. Like he had done this a thousand times. Then N threw his lifejacket over and stood there. After five minutes, I tossed mine and jumped over before N’s mumblings would paralyze me. Once I hit the water, the pain rippled through my body causing me to try and stay under as long as I could. For some reason, it felt better to hold my breath. Thoughts ran through my mind: Why did I have to sit in mid-air as if I were playing chess in front of a fire? Will I ever be able to sit again? How will I play duck, duck, goose? Am I going to have to sleep on the wall like the Coneheads? Do I really have to swim back up for a breath?

When I finally did come up for air, I heard N’s splash and then R’s (who did it perfectly, of course). I wanted to stay in the water for the rest of the day and not have to use anything lower than my waist (I told myself to stay away from raisins the rest of the evening). I couldn’t even pull myself up into the boat, my arms were so shaky. So R and N had to literally haul me up as if they had just harpooned me in Japanese waters. It was embarrassing, but in those moments, you just don’t care. 

My butt hurts.

Luckily, that night we went to a party which allowed me to drink a few glasses of wine to ease the pain. And it worked. More on the party, later. For now, I’ve got to go find a donut to sit on.

Camping Weekend

I met up with my family for a camping excursion last weekend. The first day started off nice… we had a good chicken dinner and some cold drinks. Then all hell broke loose. In the form of weather. My parents stayed in their RV while my sister A and her dog slept in one tent and R & me in another. If someone had told me that we were actually sleeping in a thundercloud, I would’ve believed them. It was very scary. I felt bad for my sister who is a self -admitted non-tent camper. We were afraid she’d never come back.

When we ate breakfast the next morning, we each had gone through waves of panic through the storm. My mom thought a tornado would go through, my dad swore he heard a mud slide happening, and I waffled between lightening striking a tree onto our tents if a flash flood didn’t hit us first.

The next day, we braved the muddy paths and hiked around the area. At one point while waiting for us outside the visitor center, my mom (in her sunglasses) had both the hiking stick and the dog beside her. She laughed at herself wondering if people that passed by thought she was blind.

3 blind mice
A says her dog looks down in shame b/c of the type of leash she has to wear.

Midway through our hike, we ended up at a pond that offered paddleboat rides. We buddied up and spent the next half hour paddling around looking at turtles’ heads popping up and avoiding going over the waterfall’s edge. R swears we wouldn’t have gone over, but I’d rather not confirm that.

We took a little rest at our campsite for lunch and staring at other campers, when we decided to go for a horseback ride.

My friend K will be happy to know that I am completely over my horse-riding phobia. R and I would even hold our horses back every once in awhile to try and get them to trot. That’s how far along I’ve come. If you don’t remember, while studying in Spain with my then roommate K (back in 2002), we took a horseback ride through the Andalucian mountains. Little did we know that our horses were the only two that didn’t like each other. So as we were gingerly walking on the veeeeeeery edge of the mountain’s path, my horse got all up in K’s horse’s business if you know what I mean. Well she didn’t like that very much and tried to buck at me. My horse did the only logical thing possible — she ran down the side of the mountain. I can still remember ducking under a tree branch and zig-zagging between boulders. K will back me up on that. Eventually she stopped and one of the guides had to run down (on foot) to lead us back up. You can see a pic of me on that horse here. I was all smiles, so you know it was a “before” photo.

After that experience, R and I went to Park City, UT for our honeymoon and I took my first step in conquering this fear. I was stiff, but the overall experience was enjoyable. I’m now to the point where I’d like to ride bareback behind William Wallace in an open field. (Can you tell I just watched Braveheart last night?)

A had her own scary horse story way back from Girl Scouts. She did a good job considering she hasn’t ridden since Girl Scouts, but I don’t think she’ll be riding again for awhile.

Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with a little steak and dominoes. Luckily the weather was not as bad Saturday night and we managed some good hours of sleep. It was so nice to be outside with my family all weekend. My type of outing.

Crevice walk

R and I had a good weekend outdoors. I start to get antsy if I don’t have my proper dosage of fresh air for the week. We met up with my family at Devil’s Den Park for camping, horseback riding, and hiking. Oh, we also were almost killed by a flash flood/ tornado/mud slide/lightening strike Friday night. But more on that later. I’m starting at the end of our weekend, where R and I went on a guided hike through the caverns & crevices of the park. I love the Arkansas parks. So much to do and (mostly) everything is free. This park is about 25 minutes away and my favorite so far. We’re excited to explore the many others in the state.

So we followed the park ranger to the Devil’s Den cave and listened to a few minutes of the history. This was his last tour as he was retiring, so we felt special celebrating this moment with him. 

After our lesson, we walked a bit further to a large crevice. I peered over the edge and caught my breath. The next thing we know, the ranger disappeared and was already down waiting for us to follow. This would be the first of 3 crevices we would explore in our 2.5 hour hike.

The cold air in the crevices was a welcome change to the humidity above. It felt like we were in some pre-historic setting, with the tall bluffs, cool air, and green moss. He advised us to use our hands as much as possible to grip and pull. It had been raining a lot over the weekend, so everything was more slippery than normal. I always enjoy a good hand dirtying, so I took every opportunity to touch it all. R tried to not use his hands at all and would try to find puddles of water to wash them off as soon as possible. That drove me nuts, just as I’m sure my dirty limbs drove him crazy too.
It’s hard to get a scope of how deep these went, but sometimes it felt like we slid down the sides forever. 

At one point to get out, we had to do a little maneuver. No big deal, until you have to actually turn around and face the large crowd behind you to do it. I had to go after both a 10 year old who just blip!, went up and over, as well as a guy who couldn’t quite get his right leg over the ledge. So the park ranger had to drag him up and pull him onto safe grounding. I figure if my efforts landed somewhere in between, it was a success. 

…biting my lip and following his directions.

After the tour, we followed along a trail for awhile. We found some waterfalls so R could wash his hands. It started raining and I was happy. I love that smell coupled with the bright green in the forest. We hardly got wet because of the tree canopies and so slowed down our walk to really take in everything through our senses. Good way to end the weekend. 

Curls Gone Wild

J and T moved into their new home a few months ago and had their housewarming party last weekend. It was really nice. They had games for both kids and adults to play, but most of us just ate, drank, and chit-chatted.

Here’s our hostess. J. She’s a creative one in my life and I never ever feel like I can’t be my sometimes too day-dreamy self around her. We talk about traveling non-stop, but have yet to go on a (big) trip together. Something is in the works for next year, though. We’ll wait and see.

…with the mostest.
I want curly hair. Bad. But I don’t want to spend money on a perm, so I rolled my hair up the night before in spongy rollers like I was either 10 years old or 80. Take your pick. R would say 80 in looks and 10 in maturity. Had the worst sleep of my life due to said rollers and woke up to a frightening sight. I badgered R into giving me his “honest” opinion. (And when I say honest, I mean he better give me a compliment.) So when he lied and said that it looked scary, I glared at him.

I had texted J before getting to the party that I may look like a Glamourshot photo and to not be scared. So after she got a good laugh when I walked in, I started talking with B’s wife. She wore a big smile and asked whether I had dyed my hair a different color, clearly avoiding the fact that my curls were preventing me from moving through doorways. This, in turn, made me laugh.

…no, my hair has been brown for the past 28 years.
I made my rounds with the guests, but my favorite person to talk to was B’s son. He made me want to hug him, pinch his cheeks, high-five him, and tickle him all at the same time. He is such a mini-me of B, and made me giggle hard.

He was scared of my curls too. No smile.
The rest of the time was spent outdoors playing games. After washers, J pulled out some random (authentic) bowling pins from her garage. B & R tried their hand at juggling them.

Water balloons were next, and we all saw the outcome of that in the previous post.
Then followed some water gun vs hose fights along with a slip-n-slide. A must at any party.

Later in the evening, we sat around a fire and made smores. It was a beautiful evening.

The next day we hung out with R’s brother N. Went out to eat and watched Star Trek for the second time. Love that movie. Got a late start on the road and arrived even later then expected. We saw a storm a’brewin up ahead.

Then the next thing we know, hail is coming down with tornado alerts in the area.

But as soon as it came, it was gone again. And we were left with a little present, a rainbow. Is it just me, or is the pot o’ gold on this guy’s bumper?? Why didn’t we take down his tag?

I’m trying some new things at home and so far they are working out well. I’ll post with more info soon.

3 years….

R and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary on Wednesday. Some people say it flew by, but we don’t think it did. And we don’t mean that in a bad way at all. We have been busy stretching, growing and molding ourselves. And with two strong-willed and loud people, that can be difficult. This past year has been the turning point, though… where we have started to put our focus on God more and each other less, thus slipping into a role better suited for each other. We haven’t changed our personalities or have tried to smother our quirkiness. We’re still strong-willed sometimes and loud most times, but now there’s another layer to us. One that has enriched the rest of our being. We continue to cultivate that layer, gently watering the seeds to flower into the type of spouses we’d like to become, but we’ve already seen small changes.
Good changes.
So on wed night, we spent the majority of  it snipping off those flowers conversationally, putting them in our hair, and admiring each other’s beautiful journey.
One of my fellow bloggers went through her wedding day and so I thought I’d do the same. No one probably knows this because I try to hide it well, but, sometimes I don’t like attention on me. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I’m sure we’re all that way. To be specific, I don’t like when it’s required to pay attention to me. I’d prefer to slip into the background and then pop out into the light every once in awhile. So, unlike most brides I’m sure, I was not entirely comfortable on this day. Not nervous about getting married, just nervous about eyes looking at me. 

So I took a deep breath, and braved a smile….

We had an early wedding because our reception was going to be at a park in the afternoon. I also wanted it to be small (less eyes.) So after our two-minute ceremony — no, you think I’m kidding. One of R’s friends showed up 5 minutes late and it was already over — we went back to the hotel to change into some sundresses and shorts. 

My maid-of-honor and sister, L. This photo made us laugh out loud for about 10 minutes straight. We love how it looks like she’s about to go tumbling down the stairs. My other sister, A, was my bridesmaid
R’s brother was his best man. We were thoroughly impressed with his speech. L’s was really good too, she referenced a memory and at one point held her finger in the air, just like how we wewers girls do. But N’s surprised us. We for sure thought he would go funny and maybe a bit brash, but no. He was all serious and heartfelt. 

I swear, there’s nothing like going bra-less and wearing flip-flops at your reception.

So we had our reception at the park. R was insistent that if we invite kids that they have a place to play. If we had had it a hotel, for instance, he wanted to hire a lifeguard to watch them all swim… or something like that. We found a place that had a wood deck, lots of space, and a little playground next to it. We were pleased. The weather was also beautiful. Breezy, sunny, and mild. 
I launched my bouquet like I thought it was a grenade. Maybe it was, because my bro-in-law’s (now) ex-girlfriend ended up catching it.

Why am I in a fourth position plie? 
We not only wanted a playground for kids to play, but also games for the kids-at-heart.

Some football…

Some water balloons…
And, of course, a whiffle ball game going. That was R’s dream for some reason.
P.S. Bruce Snell was the photographer for my wedding. We’ve kept in touch through his current blog. Swell guy and fantastic photographer. His blog is listed on the right. He actually just shot the wedding of a guy with whom I used to work. Check it out if you get a chance. You’ll be impressed, guaranteed. 

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.