Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rocket Dogs in Arkansas

Went to Arkansas in search of BBQ today. I absolutely love the Ozark Mountains. They are so very different from the cornfields at home.

The pictures don't do it justice. It was just so pretty, and hilly, and colorful. It was very hilly, crooked and steep. My stomach was a bit queasy from it all. Reminded me of the Great Tilt-a-Whirl incident of 1976.

This was the first good cup of coffee I had in Missouri. It's a long boring story. I have serious coffee issues. I'll go into it one day.

Adorable sign.

We drove to Eureka Springs, which is an incredible little town tucked in the hills. The pic above is of my new Life is Good Hat, and Jim's new Life is Good shirt.

The town is filled with these little springs. The gardens were beautiful.

Cute little houses like this filled the streets. (Jen, I thought of you and your village :-)

This gate makes my stomach hurt I love it so much. Jim wouldn't steal it. And he calls himself a friend.

A wonderful fall planter idea!
By the way, did you notice it stopped raining?

When I saw this sign, I said to m'self, I said....'ok'.

Jim is an impatient man. He doesn't like to be kept waiting. Especially for pork.

Fruit of the Swine.

Life IS Good, baby.

No comment needed.
We saw Beaver Dam on the way home.

Jim still can't figure out how beavers built this dam.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

This past Sunday I embarked on a solo roadtrip to Southwest Missouri. Leaving was bittersweet. Glen and Aaron were in the driveway waving good-bye, breaking my heart. I swear I don't feel free from the clutches of home until I see the Arch, and then I'm in 'away mode'. I always feel guilty leaving, always.

I drove. And drove. And drove.

I ate an apple....and drove.

Five hours later......

Hello Missouri.

Hello Rain.

10 hours later.....

Hello Jim.

Since I've been here in Missouri, it's done nothing but rain. I've done nothing but bake bread, make soup, eat bacon, nap and knit.

Jim's my cousin and best bud.

His cat Mildred is the spawn of my cat Boo.

Missouri is as close as I can get to 'going home'. I'll share more in my upcoming posts. I'm all hooked up and ready to roll on my cousins' computer. I'll be here until this Sunday. Tomorrow we head out to Arkansas in search of properly prepared pigs.

In the meantime, I'm just gonna hang out here and wait for the rain to stop.

And eat bacon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Things I Learned Today

Introducing the only dishrag in the "Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum". One dishcloth takes woman 40 hours to complete! Believe it.....or not.

I learned how to knit today. Well, been learning for a week or so, but I think I can officially call myself a 'knitter' now. It gives you a lot of time to think, sitting there, knitting. Perfect for me whilst waiting for Aaron during math tutoring.

I learned how to knit.

I learned how to purl.

I learned how to drop stitches.

I learned how to tear knitting out.

I learned how to start again.

I learned how to read a knitting pattern through tears.

I learned how to straighten the knitting needles out after you've thrown them under a bus.

Now, I just need to learn how to take it off the needle. Would be hard washing the dishes with it attached.

As soon as I get it off the needle, I'm going to post it on Etsy. Do you think $300.00 is too much to ask?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

This Old House...Part V

As I said before, we excitedly opened the door to our first house, with our first house key. I'm not sure we even walked in, I honestly can't remember. I do remember promptly leaving, getting in the car, and driving back up the hill to the neighbors that we'd bought the house from.

Why did we leave, you ask?

My Kitchen Upon Arrival (minus cleaning supplies)

It appeared the previous tenant hadn't moved out! Furniture was still in the house. Everything was still in the house....except for the mask. I forgot to tell you about the mask didn't I? When we'd come to look at the house a couple months prior, hanging on the wall, way high up (another pet peeve of mine, please don't hang your pictures really high, it just really irks me) was this mask. It was leather. It had a couple of eye holes and a zipper mouth. Talk about 'freak you out'. Talk about chain saw massacre. Lord have mercy. That mask cost me about 450 hours of sound sleep when we first bought this place.

The neighbors assured us that the previous tenant had in fact moved out.

We came back 'home'.

Oh dear, what we found. I'm not sure the pictures do it justice. This is just how we found it for the most part. We found cut off deer legs in the kitchen cabinets with large quantities of peanuts in the shell. Bags upon bags of trash on the front porch. Furniture, old car seats, chicken incubators. Some of the photos in this post show the rooms a little cleaned out and the carpets being torn up.

We also found a whole lotta smell. We found SO much smell. Urine mainly.

My Front Porch Upon Arrival
After assessing our new home (I mean, really, where do you start?) we began opening windows and pitching things out. Furniture and carpet went flying out of the upstairs windows! There was an old playpen that was left here, and we would fill it with little stuff that we found around the house, and then drag it to the fire. After all the furniture and 'stuff' was removed, we set out to tear up all the carpets. We had a fire that lasted nearly two weeks. (I know now that we shouldn't have burned it all, but what to do? It was 1988 and we didn't know better).

At this time, we were still living in Chicago and driving out for a few days at a time to work on the house. It wasn't livable. We'd sleep in sleeping bags upstairs. I insisted that we sleep with the bags up against the closed bedroom door, that way, if someone broke in to commit some devilment of some sort, it would wake us up. I also slept with a hatchet. Smart cookie I am! I would always hear the neighbors dog barking in the distance and wonder what it was barking at. "It couldn't be barking at nothing", I'd wonder.

I always though it was the former owner, standing out in the that mask. "shudders"
I was pretty much freaked out for months here. Bugs. Darkness. Barking dogs a half a mile away that echoed in the night. Creatures moving about outside. That mask. The dark. Oh, I said that already didn't I? It was blinding, all consuming darkness.

I happened to be here one day alone, working around the house. A run down van pulled into the driveway and out comes a vaguely familiar looking man. As he approached, that infernal mask kept flashing in my mind.

"Oh my gosh", I thought. "It's him".

He casually states, "I'm here to get all my stuff".

I, pointing to the incinerator, say "It's all right there".

Here's a peek at the porch now....I'll be sharing more after pictures with you soon.

(If you're a new reader, you might want to click on 'This Old House" under labels to read the previous blogs)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cotton Balls, Mustard and Midgets, Oh My!

A Lovely Field of Mustard

In order not to leave you all hanging, I thought I'd just embarrass myself a little further and give full disclosure of my phobias.

  • Little People

  • Cotton Balls

  • Mustard

I know. Trust me. I know.

I don't think that there is much to say about my discomfort when seeing little people. I in NO way want to come across prejudice in any way, shape or form, so I'm not going to say much. Suffice it to say that I've worked in jobs dealing with the public for the last six years. I've had customers that were 'small', and I'm kind and fine, and I look them in the eye. Ok, enough about that!

It's just things like this, this is wrong on so many levels:

Let's talk about cotton balls. Actually, I'd rather not. I'm covered in chills from head to toe at the moment, just thinking about them. It's the sound that they make. I really can't even stand to look at them. I used to keep them in the house for 'other people', but not anymore. They aren't allowed. If I end up buying a bottle of aspirin that has the dreaded cotton wad, I have to have someone else take it out, out of my sight. I'm Maury Povich material.

Now let's talk about mustard. It used to be ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard. I've never tasted mustard by itself on anything. I've never eaten any a hamburger, or hotdog with ketchup or mustard. I never saw the appeal to condiments. I've just recently started using a miniscule amount of mayo on a sandwich. The idea of biting into a sandwich, and seeing mayonnaise squish out....well, the thought gags me. Why anyone would eat ketchup is beyond me. Mustard, it's just frightening. My phobia is touching it. When I'm preparing a sandwich for a loved one, or cooking something that has mustard as an ingredient, if I happen to get some on my hand, I feel like I'm going to faint. I really don't understand this one at all. I used to feel the same way about mayonnaise and ketchup, but now, I can have a little of that on my hand and be ok. Mustard....good Lord....I run to the sink and have to hold myself up so I don't fall over.

Do you realize how easily I could be tortured? You wouldn't need to remove my fingernails, or drill my teeth...oh no...just put a cotton ball in my lap, or smear mustard on me. I'd tell you everything you wanted to know!

I suppose my personal hell would be a 'little person' playing a saxophone in a room full of mannequins, and someone putting mustard on me with a cotton ball.

What yours?

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Weird Weekend

It was a long, weird, wonderful weekend. This is a post about nothing.....just warning you of the pointless drivel you are about to partake of.

I started my Saturday morning alone. I cannot begin to tell you how I cherish my 'alone' moments. They are quite far and few between. Glenco went out of town with a friend, and here I was...alone. I savored my coffee and planned my day. A day of chores, of course. I did squeeze in a trip to the farmstand where I picked up the most beautiful honeycrisp apples and Concord grapes. The grapes are now jelly, snuggled in little jeweled glasses. Talk about the best smell in the world, it has to be Concord grapes.

On the way home from one of my errands, I noticed a 'Free Kitten' sign. See, this is why I should really never be alone. I thought.."oh, I just want to see". Well....I saw, I got, and now I have this here. I call it a kitten rescue, because I do feel like I rescued this little guy. Does anyone want it? It's at Aaron's house now on a trial. I do hope they keep it.

You know what I do to cute things don't you? Does this really surprise you?

The afternoon was filled with yardwork. I've committed myself to doing the 2010 Lowell Garden Walk. I'm already freaking a bit. It's a lot of work.

Danielle, my super cool neighbor up the hill that has chickens and a pig (deep breath), called me to tell me that she found some baby chickens in her barn. I dropped the rake and drove up the hill to see.

Look at these little babies....oh dear. I miss that little 'peep' noise.

Look at this beautiful rooster. Yowzer. He's a biggen'

Then Sunday happened. Glenco and I had toyed around with going for a drive to see this Antique Car Museum. We hemmed and hawed about it, and decided to go. I'd already made a nice little list of things to do around the house. It was a little hard to change gears. Ah, who am I kidding, it was REALLY hard to change gears...but I did. It was a lovely day for a drive. We like to drive around and look at houses. It's one of our favorite things to do. We like to 'critique' the houses, seek out old ones, drool over the $1M lakefront homes in Beverly Shores. We like to explore roads that look like this:

So we pulled out the old '64 Chevy and headed out.

One of the first things we saw was this vulture sunning itself. It was an omen.

Did you know that I have a phobia of mannequins and animatronics? Well, I do. Universal Studios in California was a nightmare. Between the ET exhibit, and the talking tree at the RainForest Cafe, I was a basketcase. I've never been able to look at the moving, singing rats at Chuckee Cheese. I wouldn't be able to handle Disneyland. Ever.

I also have a phobia of midgets, cotton balls and mustard, but that's a whole 'notha post.

This museum was filled with old cars and memorabilia. It might have been cool, was filled with mannequins. Now, the mall mannequins don't freak me out too much, they are normally headless, and not really doing driving cars.

I had to go to my happy place the entire time I was there....

Then I saw this.....pure evil I tell you.

I just wanted to leave.

I mustered up all the strength I had, and I touched one. It felt so corpse like. Bored to tears while Glen was drooling over tail lights and engine blocks, I began touching them all. Moving them. Putting their hands on the steering wheels. I mean, if they were gonna be in a car..make it look real people. We were the only ones in the museum. It felt like a Steven King movie. I know there was devilment there. I know it. You can't tell me that Elvis didn't hit on this chick after the lights went out.

Please excuse me while I go take my Xanax.