A Guide to Good Adventures

Today marks six months since Wesley and I promised to have and to hold until we kicked the bucket. I thought to mark the occasion I would offer my list of ten helpful survival tips for road trips, errands, or pretty much anytime we get in the car on a weekend.

  1. Make sure your phone is charged. One car charger is all very well, but if you set off somewhere on foot, you’ll want healthy battery life in case of posting on Instagram emergency.
  2. In a similar vein, take the camera. That way you can fight over who gets to take the pictures and get video footage of anything that moves.
  3. Follow the GPS. Even if it appears to be taking you the wrong way, it actually knows what it is talking about 99.99% of the time. Wagnon Mountain Rd. might sound innocent enough, but after dark?  (Click to 6:02)
  4. Bring a book. Always, always, always. In fact, I often bring two. A book and a blanket can make the car a private little library retreat when you’re waiting in the Auto-zone parking lot.
  5. Nothing will make everyone crankier than being hungry. Correction. Nothing will make me crankier than being hungry. For everyone’s safety, bring snacks. (So many snacks.)
  6. And for the husband, bring an entire thermos or two of water. This is not a joke. It will all get gulped down and eliminates the small bottles kicking around underfoot.
  7. Since this is Alabama, I’ve also learned to bring an extra coat, sweater, shorts, hat, rubber boots and honestly, a bathing suit would also be wise. You may never know what will become weather appropriate before the day is done.
  8.  Add two extra hours onto the GPS estimated time of arrival. This machine generated guess does not include stopping at friend’s houses to look at lawn machinery, long conversations with various old men, or retracing your steps to take a picture.
  9. Pandora. Playlists are life when you’re stuck in the car. This also provides an appropriate context in which to disagree on the musical tastes of your spouse. Fight fair though and take turns in choosing the artist.
  10. Buckle up and be prepared to commentate on anything, everyone and everywhere you pass, explore, walk under, or listen to. Sharing new things is one of the sweetest perks of marrying your friend. In these first months together we’ve started our own repertoire of family stories and as the future unrolls we already find ourselves saying, do you remember when?

It’s been a wild ride so far, Wesley. Here’s to 6 months times 120 more!

 

Speechless

I’ve had a whole lot of nothing floating around in my head these days.

Or at least, there are things…but they won’t hold together into a whole blog post.

It’s been a jumble of pool floating, book quotes, eating more lettuce, watching Marvel movies and not judging someone with a selfie stick.

Sometimes change is a jump in the deep end, and sometimes you just look at yourself clubbing a cockroach or cooking squirrel and think – who am I?

I promise I’ll get back to writing more, friends. Until then, I’ll be over here with my head in the freezer eating watermelon.

xo

Where Did You Come From?

When I miss you most, I’m driving down a strange split road, where people drive 65 mph and stop at lights on a dime.

I miss you when I’m paralyzed with indecision about whether this store, an unfamiliar sign and front, will have what I actually want.

When I get in the car and just circle aimlessly, wishing I knew where to find the green space that I’m craving.

Where to find the friendliest librarians, the freshest produce, the cheapest thrift items.

All the things I took for granted when I knew every route like the back of my hand, when I could expect the rhythm of every restaurant and hiking trail.

I miss strangers knowing exactly who my parents are and the trust that extends from familiar face to familiar face.

A warm sweetness of blossom and asphalt hang around my door now, interrupting the crisp apple of a memory. Fresh bread greets my mind when I walk through the doors of my hometown and I’m hungry for it.

Hungry for the comfort of knowing and being known. Wherever we are, this is the human search in our food, our hobbies, the places we go. Doesn’t a baby know exactly where it belongs because that is where it finds comfort?

You can love something new, while still missing the old and that is my constant balancing act, my privilege, challenge and bitter sweet joy in this season.

And I have to ask. What do you miss the most about where you came from?

 

Tuesday Favourites

  1. I’m becoming probably too attached to iced mochas with whipped cream these days. But it makes me thankful for the weather which is starting to warm alarmingy and gives me a valid excuse. (Wesley tells me it’s not hot yet.)
  2. House plants are starting to be another indulgence, because (assuming you can keep it alive) $5 will buy you something that may last you forever.
  3. This book was a colourful, entertaining and ‘are you serious?!’ read that had me retelling stories to Wesley every couple minutes. I felt a companionship with the author as we agreed in the magic and weirdness of the South.
  4. I love when I upload camera pictures periodically and find shots from Wesley’s last jaunt around the yard. Exhibit A:

5. Curry is probably the most rewarding and simple thing to make at home. Now if only Naan bread was equally doable. Anyone have some tips?

6. If you are traveling the 84 between Dothan and Enterprise, Alabama, please do yourself a favour and shoot out to Working Cow Dairy. Put some cash in the can and get the creamiest chocolate milk you will ever taste out of the big refrigerator.

xo

A Little Phase

I know I usually decry ‘how to’ tutorials on this blog, but recently I’ve been slightly obsessed with multi-media/collage art. Surprisingly, Pinterest has failed me when it comes to breaking down the steps of this type of creative thing.

Maybe an inability to take pictures is part of the artistic process – who knows! It inspired me to  document what I did a few weeks ago, however. Some multi-media of my own!

So here you go…this is my experimentation with collage for a friend’s house warming present.

I used a mix of watercolours (for the sunflowers) and various acrylics to cover the old print and portions of the face and flowers.

I also wasn’t completely happy with the words in the background, so I cut out a new piece of paper that fit around the flower petals, rewrote the phrases, painted the paper white and then mod-podged it in place.

The bright black quote was written directly over everything with a fine point Sharpie. I practiced the spacing on a separate piece of paper, but honestly, the surest way to write crooked, is to over think it!

This is a different post than I usually pull together, but I hope it inspires you to do something creative today and not be afraid to make mistakes!

 

How We Roll

We don’t do speed in this family. When we try, it always ends badly.

So we stick to slow, curious, low expectation days of adventure.

It’s the reason we spend a day in the city, and use all seven hours to scour one block. First a city park, watching fish, and then a brewery.

We discovered mutual friends with the people around us and then ordered sushi burritos on the other side of the parking lot.

We heard about a food truck man’s cross country road trip and bought two alligator sausages.

At a coffee bar we learned that they’re inventing new brews all the time, and as the sun set we finally pulled out the GPS and found our way away.

Away from our little afternoon neighbourhood. We’ll miss you Avondale!

Stuff of Life

An early memory is eating a fresh made roll. Well, not exactly eating. I sucked all the melted butter off the top and then offered the rest to my brother.

I also remember my fresh bread rhapsodies, and my mom saying “man cannot live by bread alone” with exasperated amusement.

I can pinpoint the exact smell of bread baking. Even as a teenager, it was the happiest smell as we came back into the house. It was ordinary and special at the same time.

I didn’t know how I missed it, until on Valentine’s Day I found the recipe and sent various pictures to mom as I baked. “Is this right?”

Yeast and I have always had a troubled relationship, but there is nothing (it seems) that fridge bubbling and a hot oven can’t fix. A loaf, is the most sacred thing you can share, and Wesley and I ate it that night with a whole stick of butter.

Bread is timeless and magical. Comfort, beauty and love.

And so tradition continues.