Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Head Games

I have lots on my mind to do this week and weekend. Presents to buy for friends getting ready to have babies or already had them. Tomato plants to put in the ground. Dogs to walk. Clothes to buy. Restaurants to check out. Groceries to get. TomTom and picture printer to fix. Movies to borrow from the library. Recycling to set up. Is your to-do list this long? And I just keep adding stuff.

Our weekend activities are slowing down in May so I guess I'm trying to fill the time in my head. I'm sure Pmo has his own plan in mind so I'll try to get some of the stuff done during the next two days. So far, I've loaded pictures up on FB, wrote a blog, and cleaned the house. Hopefully, we can blend our ideas together and have a productive, yet relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Work and Play

Saturday was work day. Pmo had something to do in the morning so I decided to go shopping. I’ve been watching “What Not to Wear” and decided I needed some new clothes. Every time I go to the closet, I hate whatever I put on. It doesn’t fit. It makes me feel fat. The typical “I hate my body” reaction. So I picked up some necessities at the Dollar Tree and spent some quality time at Sears. I tried so many clothes on and only came out with 3 shirts and a pair of corduroys. But that’s to be expected. I also stepped out of my clearance tunnel vision and looked at stuff that wasn’t at rock bottom prices. And the great thing was that once I ran them through the price scanner, most of the stuff was also on sale anyway. I went home, ate lunch, and relaxed a bit. Pmo was fiddling around in the yard so I decided to rip out all the ivy from our back patio. I don’t understand why people want vines growing everywhere. It’s not pretty or the least bit manageable. That activity took up all of the afternoon and by nightfall, I was exhausted and sore from pulling and yanking and tearing. I also started a worm collection because I was doing so much digging.

Sunday was play day. We headed to Perry County for our bi-annual trip to Rome for chicken dinners. It’s called Dogwood Days in the spring. I'm not sure what they call the fall gathering. We picked up Mom and Grandma and got out there by 11am. After dinner, we listened to the musical stylings of “Country Breeze” and sat in the sun. For some reason, I didn’t even think about wearing sunscreen and I’m still paying for that mistake. My cousins showed up later so I got to spend some time with them which was an unexpected surprise. On the way home, we drove through German Ridge to find the lake was still closed for the season. We also stopped at the Eagles Bluff overlook in Cannelton that was recently reopened it to the public. Apparently, people used to trash it or do drugs up there and they shut it down for a long time. I had been there once before through the back way by four-wheeler. But now there’s a nice visitors center with brochures and the view of the dam is awesome. We wrapped up the afternoon with ice cream from Wall’s, dropped Grandma off, headed back to Mom’s, then home. I posted some pics below but I have more on Facebook in my Dogwood Days album. (1217)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Parks and Recreation

We set out early Thursday morning for our Missouri adventure. After a stop at Cracker Barrel to fill up on breakfast, we were well on the other side of St. Louis on I-70 when we saw a sign for Stone Hill Winery. We don't have too much of a rigid schedule on our outings. It's just an outline with highlights along the way, mainly attractions I found on the Internet, but if we come across something else we like, we do it. So we took the exit and headed south to Hermann, MO. We found Stone Hill and were very impressed by its quaint setting. We took the tour, tasted some wine, bought two bottles and went on our way.

Making our way towards one of our destinations, we passed through Jefferson City, MO and noticed a ton of law enforcement and even the bomb squad. We found out later we had just passed a plant where VP Joe Biden was about to visit. Good thing we didn't get caught in that mess. Our next stop was Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Osage Beach, MO, which was literally on fire. I guess they were doing a controlled burn. We soon discovered it wasn't much of a park to tour. More for fishing and camping type folks. The lake was pretty though. We hit the Eddie Bauer outlet nearby then decided to find a place to stay for the night since we were only minutes away from the next stop but wanted plenty of time to explore it.

In the morning, we set out for Ha Ha Tonka State Park near Camdenton, MO. This was the place I was looking forward to the most. We saw castle ruins, a natural bridge, a bunch of turtles, a spring, etc. The views were good and the sights were interesting. I would definitely recommend it if you're in the area and you like nature activities. After Ha Ha, we stopped by the St. James Winery in St. James, MO. It wasn't quite like Stone Hill but we still did some tasting and took a few bottles with us. Then it was onto Maramec Spring Park. Another pretty cool place with a beautiful spring and ruins of an old iron works industry. And trout. My god, the trout. There were pools after pools after pools of different sized trout. You couldn't fish there but you could fish downstream where I guess the adult trout were kept.

After staying in Sullivan, MO for the night, we went to Meramec Caverns, the famed Jesse James hideout. It was cool. It had formations and the "total darkness" effect, but I think we're about caved out. I mean, they're all pretty much the same. In fact, you'd think I could be a tour guide by now with how many we've visited. But we were on a tour with a family of 10 kids so that was interesting. After we got out of the darkness, we headed south for Elephant Rocks State Park near Graniteville, MO. It was something I had been interested in visiting but it was a bit out of the way and not really near a main road to get back home. But we decided to try it out anyway.

I'm very glad we did. It was probably my second favorite next to Ha Ha. It's just a bunch of granite rocks that have been unearthed and eroded. There's a trail around and through them and once you get up to the top and see the actual Elephant Rocks, you're just amazed. Dumbo, the biggest rock, is 680 tons, 27 feet tall, and 32 feet wide. Not sure why I remember those stats, but I do. It was also misting rain on us by this point, but it didn't bother us because we had our trusty hoodies. It was a nice leisurely walk and end to our trip. I could stay in those kinds of places forever. I love looking out onto landscapes or following trails that lead to who knows what. Although I usually like to know I'm going to see something awesome. I don't usually take a trail for nothing!

We ended up coming home Saturday evening because the rain came pouring down and there wasn't much else we could do. So Sunday we went to get the dogs from Mom's and settled back in at home Sunday night. We hated to see it end but it's always good to be home. Our next trip is just around the corner and it's a pretty special one. Can't wait!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What's Going On

I had a busy weekend and I feel like I've been going non-stop ever since. I helped my co-worker, Nathan, move furniture to his new place on Saturday. Afterwards, Pmo and I set out to make Easter baskets for his niece and nephew, but I totally forgot that it was last minute and most places were bare. But we managed to come up with some good stuff. And I was exhausted from lifting heavy stuff so I crashed super early.

Sunday, we made the 2 1/2 hour trip down to the tip of western Kentucky to Pmo's brother's house. We spent most of the day with family and got back at a decent time Sunday night. We stayed up watching TV because Pmo is on vacation all week and didn't have to get up early for work the next day.

Monday, I tried to get myself organized for the week and helped Pmo do some projects outside the house. Today, I got a ton of groceries and a haircut. Tomorrow, we drop the dogs off at Mom's and I must pack for our trip because we leave Thursday morning for Missouri. State parks, caves, wineries. We plan to pack in a bunch of stuff in a few days. Just like the beginning of this week!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Dream, Dream, Dream

It began in the kitchen of an apartment. I was cooking and baking up a whole mess of things when I heard a knock out the door. I went to answer it and this guy who looked like Puck from The Real World barged inside. I said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I used to live here and I left something behind.” He opened up a cabinet below the counter, reached in and pulled out some sort of package out that was taped underneath. Then he dumped out the contents in a skillet. It was pot. Again, I said, “What are you doing?” He said he needed to cook it up so he could sell it.

Before I could say anything else, there was another knock at the door. This time, it was a food critic who wanted to taste my cooking. But somehow he was also an authority figure of some sort who looked like Joe Montagna. So I was scared he was going to find the marijuana and arrest me and Puck the pot dude. I diverted Joe the food critic's attention away from the marijuana skillet, which was on an island in the kitchen, and guided him toward some other things I had made on the stove that was against the wall. I also poured some batter into the pot skillet to disguise it as an omelet.

Joe tasted everything I had made, and I thought he was never going to leave. And somehow in that time, the whole place had filled up with college people who were talking, eating, and drinking like it was some sort of dorm party. Finally, Joe headed toward the door and said he would call me with a report and let me know how everything tasted. Puck never said a word while Joe was there because he didn’t want to get busted either. After the food critic left, Puck yelled at me, saying I ruined his stash. I said, “Get out of here and take that skillet with you!” He left.

That was the dream I had Friday night. I don't know why. I don't know what it means. But I thought it was pretty damn funny. I also had a dream Saturday night that my friend and co-worker Rachel and I were driving over the Twin Bridges to find a water rescue story. And as she read me the press release in the car while I was driving, I could see all the action in my rearview mirror as we crossed over the river. I said, "Rach, is that it?" She kept reading. "Rach, is that it back there?" She kept her head down and read some more. I yelled, "Rach! For the love of God, turn around! Is that it?" And that's where it ended. That dream is even more weird because neither of us go out in the field for stories.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tune Up

I woke up to the sound of roofers this morning. Early this morning. Pmo concluded they were trying to beat the rain. Good for them, but that doesn’t help my sleeping habits. There are two roofing projects going on: one next door, the other within earshot when I go outside. They’ve turned my quiet neighborhood into a noisy, construction zone. I hope they get done this week.

I tried some new cream cheese and I hate it. Funny thing is, it’s supposed to be the good stuff. Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Not the usual generic I buy. It’s fat free so maybe that’s the problem. I was trying to be good and go for less calories. But it bit me in the butt. I hate to waste such a precious commodity.

I’m trying to write a song. I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter but never did anything about. It’s one of many unattempted tasks in my life. Anyway, I figure I’ve had enough pain and suffering in my life. There’s got to be a good country song in there somewhere. I’ve got some lyrics written down, but I can never come up with a tune. I don’t know much about music, notes, chords. In fact, nothing at all. And every time I try hum a little ditty, I end up singing songs I already know like the Indigo Girls or Kellie Pickler. Weird choices, I know.

I’m not sure what I would do with a song if I came up with one. Take it to Nashville? Offer it up to a label? There are people that have been trying to break into the biz for years. What makes me think I’d be any different? I’m not sure I have the energy or ambition. If I did, I would have done it by now. And I would have learned how to read music and play the guitar. Maybe I should keep under wraps as a hobby. Or just stick to poetry and look for some contests to enter. I need some affirmation.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Getting Creative

I try to eat at home at much as possible. Regardless of my financial situation. But this week, I have no choice. So I’m getting creative. For lunch, I made egg sandwiches since we seemed to have a surplus of eggs and leftover hamburger buns. For dinner, I’m having a few hot dogs that I'll microwave and more leftover hot dog buns. I went to the store this morning and bought just what I needed. Nothing more. Funny, if I did that all of the time, I’d probably have more money! The rest of the week will be tricky. I’m thinking of a green bean casserole, maybe some grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. You gotta do what you gotta do with what you have.

A friend got me thinking of the movie Some Kind of Wonderful so that’s what’s in the VCR now. It’s not even the real movie. It’s a copy a friend made for me in high school. But I practically memorized it because I watched it so much. Eric Stolz, Mary Stuart Masterson. Even little Candace Cameron. Life doesn’t get much better than a good 80s teen movie. Girls Just Want to Have Fun, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink. The list goes on. But I eventually need to get them on DVD. They are my timeless treasures.

Yesterday was opening day in major league baseball. And it got me thinking. There is not a single sport that I’m fanatic about. I’m not really an IU fan. I don’t go crazy for the Colts. And if the Cards are playing, I don’t really care. I don’t have a team. I’ve never made that connection. I’m not sure why. I played basketball and softball. I know the rules. I can follow along. But I just don’t care. I wonder if I’m missing out on something. I did enjoy the last football season for the first time in my life. I didn’t latch onto a team or anything. But Sunday Night Football became a ritual in our house. Just like Saturday morning bacon and the Sunday morning newspaper. The older I get, the more routine is comforting.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Looking Out My Back Door

It was snowing when I took out the dogs this morning. Saturday was sunny. Sunday was stormy. Monday is snowy. Is it too much to ask Mother Nature to stick to spring?

Saturday, we had a cookout for my college friends. Pmo cooked up burgers and brats while I fixed baked beans and potato salad. We enjoyed some drinks, ate lunch, and eventually went outside to enjoy the sun. We even had a baby among the mix. After they left, I was sad. I always get a little depressed after any visits with friends I don’t see often. I don’t know why, I just do. Pmo and I took it easy the rest of the night. I think we watched a movie or something. I just remember having a headache and being really tired.

Sunday, we took it easy, too. I perused the Sunday newspaper while Pmo ran some errands. He broke his shovel Saturday trying to dig up some plants. And we were out of doggie treats. By afternoon, it was storming. Which made it hard to watch TV because it affects the antenna. So we watched movies until “Celebrity Apprentice” was on, which we suffered through because of the wind. Plus the CMAs were on and I got to watch a little of that. But the TV just wouldn’t cooperate. We went to sleep early.

Today, I’m out of milk. And I have no desire to go get any. I also need some other things but I’m low on money this week and trying not to dip into savings. In fact, I’m going to put a little more in this week. I checked the status of my state tax refund check but it's still not on the way yet. I'm also not feeling very good. And it's Monday so that doesn't help. Oh well.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Good Things

Opening a Diet Coke
Leftover spaghetti
Friday night hugs
Freshly cut grass
Solid newscasts
Sleeping dogs
Surprise mail
Glass of wine
Old friends
Grilling out


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Something to Talk About

I've been trying to come up with something to blog about since Tuesday and nothing's really hit me. Yesterday, I spent way too much money on groceries and dwindled my checking account. I can always "borrow" from savings, but I'm going to try like hell to live off whatI have for the next week and a half. Today, I cleaned the house. Well, mostly tidying up and arranging things. We had a severe weather threat at work but that blew over with some flash flooding and lots of rain. There were several tornado warnings though. I only took one, maybe two hate calls complaining about why we were on TV so long. And hell, most of it covered our 5pm newscast and not some precious program so what are you bitching about?

Tomorrow, I think I can take it easy. I'll go over my menu for Saturday's cookout and get ready to host my friends. I have to remember to pull out the photo album I made awhile back of all of us. I also need to finish up laundry I started today. That's it. Not much excitement in my world right now.