To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Aw Shucks!

Warning: this post is heavy on paddling pictures. Haha...paddling seems to be what I post about the most.

Due to some miscommunication, I ended up with no plans for Easter. Shucks, guess I'll call B and tell him we can go paddling after all. He took it one better and we loaded up the truck and boats Saturday evening and headed to a favorite lake of ours to sleep in the woods and have ourselves a pretty little sunrise paddle. It was his favorite lake, but now I've sort of taken ownership of it too.

We pulled into a cozy launch site just before sunset, quickly made up the bed in the truck and headed down to the water with our chairs, a bottle of wine and sandwiches so we could watch the "nature channel"...we were not disappointed. The frogs were singing when we arrived, but just after we sat down, the water fowl started returning to the safety of an island in the lake. Geese came skidding in for their landings with a great deal of honking and grunting and each time a new pair arrived, it would set the others to honking and greeting. Lots of ducks did their graceful ski landings, but they weren't quite as noisy as the geese. Sandhill Cranes were returning to their nesting sites in the cattails. If you haven't heard them before, it's sort of creepy and prehistoric sounding. It's not hard to understand how they could have dinosaurs as distant ancestors.

There were also a couple of Muskrats making a spectacle of themselves with their splashing and swimming back and forth in front of us. Little bit of muskrat love?
7 a.m. and we're on the water. We love our early morning paddle adventures, but both of us agree that it's much nicer when we're actually camping on the water instead of driving here in the morning.
This water path through the cattails leads to another lake that we like to explore. Four lakes will be explored today after we find a similar, but narrower path that leads to a new to us lake, and later still, we'll explore a stream we have seen on previous visits that opens into yet another lake.
Someone had to have been up really early to have worked geometry on the lake before I got here. I've said it before, but I just love the reflections in the morning. Some are pretty funny.
Wood Ducks
Red-winged Blackbirds are one of my favorite birds to hear out-of-doors. It's one of the first bird calls I can remember learning as a child and they always tell me it's summer and I'm having fun.
The choir.
This path lead to the third lake. I had to take my kayak paddle apart and work my boat like a canoe. There was no room to paddle normally. Wait, did I just say that paddling a canoe is abnormal? haha...just kidding, B. Loved this path, narrow, twisty, turny, and then it opened out onto a delightful lake with a series of little coves and nooks. I could spend a whole afternoon just lazing in this lake with a good book and a little bit of food to snack on. So pretty.
Mm hmm, that stream I said we explored? In order to get upstream we first had to get under this bridge by laying down in our boats and pulling ourselves along by grabbing the underneath of the bridge. Oh, the things we'll do for an adventure. ~grins~ We didn't know there was a lake at the end of the stream. We just hadn't paddled here before. Now we have and we'll probably do it again, especially since we rarely see other people on these lakes. We saw our first turtles of the season in the stream. Someone was pointing them out to me by t-thunking them (gently) on the back with his paddle and then he asked me if I thought it bugged them. Gee, I dunno, but it might bug me. ~grins~
Marsh Marigolds are in bloom.
I don't know what this is really called, but I call it skunk weed and it's always one of the first woodland plants to come up.
We joked that we had found our Easter basket when we saw this nest of goose eggs hidden in the cattails. Apparently, it wasn't hidden well enough since we noticed all the eggs were broken.
This turtle was not t-thunked, but he sure was enjoying the sunshine.
A member of the Muskrat Love gang?
And finally, some of the new Spring blooms happening in the woods all around us. How different the woods will look in a week.

Until the next time, enjoy your Spring.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I was thinking how green the grass was looking on Sunday. I went to bed with a clear sky full of stars and a beautiful moon. Monday morning I was startled upon opening the blinds to find 2 inches of snow covering the ground. By Monday evening, I was walking around in my shirtsleeves with 'the roofing guy' while we discussed the upcoming project. All the snow had melted away. Welcome to Spring?

Ah, yes, that roofing project. I'm now putting myself on a spending sabatical to save the rest of the money for the roof because I refuse to finance a roof, and it really needs to be done this year. Fortunately, I have until the snow flies again to get it done.

We were going over the proposal at my kitchen table when 'the roofing guy' asked me if my flowers were real. I said the daffodils were, and fresh from the garden, but the tulips were fake. He was shocked and thought they looked to be just the opposite because the daffodils looked perfect and the tulips looked like they were on a decline. Well, when I bought the tulips I didn't want them to be perfect and look fake, so I guess I succeeded.
Welcome to Spring!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What I miss...

now that I don't have littles in the house anymore. Well, one of the things I miss.
Having someone to bake for, someone who will walk in the door and say, "oooh, what smells so good? Can I have some?"
Having someone to lick the bowl. There was always a certain amount of hovering when I baked, in anticipation of that moment when I would push the bowl across the counter to eager, waiting hands and salivating mouths.
Having someone to share the treats with.

Yep, I really miss that part because as much as I love to bake, I do not like having all those tempting goodies in the house with only me to eat them. It's necessary to share delicious treats like this with someone. Necessary and fun. Thanks for sharing the best cocoa brownies with me, darlin'.

Mm hmm, they were so good, it was imperative that I send half the pan home with him. I think he was going to share with his roommate, but I'm not entirely sure. They were that good.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So much fun!

It was a whirlwind trip that encompassed Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Illinois and Indiana. It's impossible to tell you how much fun we had.
We began our holiday in Georgia where we grabbed him for her because she's missed him. So have I and it's nice to have him back for a little while.
So nice...
We bought this low country boil in GA and drove across the bridge to Alabama and ate in her father's Cadillac while parked along the river. We were very careful not to spill, but oh, did we ever laugh about how her father would have reacted had he known. It was warm enough to have the windows down. We strolled the footbridge and the boardwalk, then sat on some rocks to watch cranes or herons fish the riverbank.
Caught one!
Back to GA and a delightful little pub named Scruffy Murphy's. There's a cozy outdoor courtyard in the back that is surrounded by brick walls, but no roof. It was warm and somewhat muggy, we had the place to ourselves and we talked, drank our beers, laughed and got caught up. The atmosphere filled us all with a sense of was one of those perfect evenings that gets embedded in your sensory memories. You know what I mean? The next day we had obligations to fulfill and afterwards, we dined with some of his friends, told them about Scruffy's and took them there to see if we could capture that feeling again. It was not to be. It was colder, louder and just not the same, but that's okay. The three of us had already shared our moment and we were happy.

Friday - we left early in the morning to head for Memphis where we would meet up with B who promised us the most amazing BBQ dinner at Rendezvous. Dry rub ribs served with baked beans. Oh, and it was amazing. The restaurant is down a back alley and you can smell the BBQ long before you get there.
Just being silly after being in the car for so long. We're in Memphis, walked a few blocks to Beale Street where we laughed ridiculously hard at all the fun we were having.
Crazy, but I like the fact that I can buy a drink and walk down the street with it.
Did I mention how hard we laughed? You would have too had you seen the crazy hats we were trying on.
I think she does the Southern Belle quite well. Perhaps she's more of a Derby girl though.
And what would Memphis be without a little side trip to Graceland? We didn't actually go inside because, well, none of us really wanted to, but we took the obligatory pictures and visited the giftshops like good little tourists. ~grins~
And we laughed some more.
We managed to get in a little thrifting in Arkansas. You just gotta love a couple of guys who will prowl antique stores with us.
Across the river into Illinois.
It was late by the time we arrived at our hotel, but not too late to end up at the I & I Tavern for some pool and juke box tunes. I did say it was a whirlwind trip.
We lingered over breakfast and agreed to slowly wend our way home on the backroads. You just never know what you'll find, and what we found was a hilarious 'supposedly' historical park. I'm afraid to name it here because I wouldn't want to offend anyone, but really? An ancient campfire ring from 6500 years ago? Oh, yes, we laughed again. I have no idea what I'm holding in my hand, but they were everywhere.

By this time we were only a couple hours from home and it was time to go. So much fun. So much laughter. I'm excited to do it again. Perhaps next year?