The scenic route

I went off on a tangent and forgot to show you our route home from Pennsylvania.  For shame!

We said goodbye to Mechanicsburg and hello to Maryland/DC/Virginia traffic.  Himself, at my insistence, picked up some speed so we didn’t wind up as someone else’s hood ornament.

“This is nuts!  How fast is the speed limit through here?  Surely not THIS fast?” he exclaimed.

Who cared?  We were bookin’ it like a local!  Vroom!!

Himself and His Awesomeness were thrilled beyond all reason to tour the shipyard at Norfolk.  Sorry, no photos were allowed, but let me see if I can do the ships justice with just words.  

They were big, gray, and metal.  🚢 😬.  I’ve never quite understood the salivating that goes on when men describe big hulking vessels as ‘she’ and wax poetic about ‘her’ beauty and lines, etc.  Whatever floats your boat, I suppose…pardon the pun.

The boys were also delighted to tour the USS Wisconsin.




His Awesomeness is contemplating a career in the Navy.  I hope today’s ships can accommodate taller people because he was ducking throughout the tour.

Our final stop was here…


We were a completely pooped bunch, but, oh, the scenery!


Totally ugly and completely disappointed…said no one ever.  His Awesomeness said he’d be moving here.  Funny, but I never saw a ship.  🤔

The weather was fine, the temperature in the 60s and the hot flashes kept at bay.  It was almost a shame to come back down into the heat and humidity.  My heart wants to go back.

We finally made it home to our own bed, Dr. Pepper, and a dachshund who growled at us.

Home sweet home 🏡 

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D.C. Bound 2017

During the planning stages of our Pennsylvania extravaganza, I mentioned to The Diva that we’d be super close to Washington DC and how about we spend a day there?  As soon as the words left my mouth, the holy crap what have I done feeling set in, but with her eyes lit up like I was the Mother of the Century, I wasn’t about to back out.  And so began my planning of our one day in DC.  Yep, one day.  I had lost my mind.

After what turned out to be a less than harrowing drive to the Shady Grove metro station (Dallas drivers take note: East Coast folks could teach y’all everything you need to know about driving like a badass and NOT wrecking), we bought our passes and took a seat.

Do you think we were excited?

We learned several things while riding.  No one makes eye contact.  Why?  Y’all don’t like one another?  And there’s an etiquette to riding an escalator.  Who knew?  We didn’t , but after someone schooled His Awesomeness you can bet it’s a lesson we’ll never forget.


His Awesomeness lagged behind to get a shot with one of the metro guys.  Best decision ever to ride instead of driving a huge honkin’ truck into the nation’s capital!


Once up at street level, we fell in with the rest of the gawking out of towners.  Holy crap, we’re in the nation’s capital!




The Codefendants and I had already plotted our strategy and what we wanted to see in the museums we’d chosen.




Because we’d cherry picked the exhibits, we made good time and no one had a meltdown because they were overwhelmed.  Huzzah, for bright ideas!  There were things we wanted to see that, once seen, left us feeling a little let down.  Can you say big whoop to the Hope diamond?  


The Air and Space Museum was the most packed of the museums we toured, but (don’t tell His Awesomeness) it was the one I probably enjoyed the most.  Shhh!


We couldn’t get over how hot it was there…like Texas only 1000 times more humid and hot.  So when we came out of the Air and Space museum, we hailed what His Awesomeness called a bikeshaw and took a ride to the opposite end of The Mall for our final tour.

Meet Alex.


Poor guy, it’s a wonder he didn’t expire from the heat and the strain of transporting all three of us.  Totally worth every penny!  Check out his calf muscles… holy cow!

Our final stop was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  


Several years back, His Awesomeness and I got the chance to see “Schindler’s List”.  He sat through it with his mouth hanging open and I wept.  At the end, he turned to me and said it’s only a movie, right Mom?  It didn’t really happen like that, right?  It was an understandable question given that most all the movies he’d seen up until then had been make believe.  I told him no, it was true, all of it.  

We have a responsibility to teach our children history whether we like it or not, no matter how difficult the subject.  Whitewashing history, censoring it, pretending like ‘some day’ will be a better time to discuss these events is a disservice to the people who suffered through it, the ones who didn’t come through it, and to the children we are raising.



It’s an experience we’ll never forget.

Pennsylvania 2017: part 2

I owe quite a bit to Himself’s love of car shows in far-flung parts of the country and his outright refusal to board any type of aircraft.  Because of him, I’ve seen states I’d probably never otherwise see.  Gorgeous vistas, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.  And peed in gas station bathrooms I’d just as soon forget.  He nailed it when he said he can always gauge the cleanliness of the bathrooms by which sex tends the counter.  Men: it’s nasty.  Women: you could eat off the seat.

As we trekked our way east, we settled into the routine for which Himself is famous.  Out the hotel doors by 6 am and a commitment to driving as far as humanly possible while still maintaining some semblance of a good mood and maybe stopping to eat.  Well, at least driving as far as humanly possible.

Seth played copilot while Paige and I got our reading on in the backseat.



We finally pulled into Carlisle the afternoon of Thursday, July 13th.  The boys quickly abandoned us girls in a parking lot to start hunting up their friends while Paige and I sat and sweated.  Isn’t it supposed to be cooler back east?  I guess the joke was on us because it was just as hot, if not hotter, than back home.  

Paige and I strolled toward downtown and scoped out Whistlestop Bookshop on High Street and found this little bit of history.


The next day, while the boys battled Mother Nature and the thunderstorms she unleashed, Paige and I headed to Gettysburg to get pictures of the battlefield for my Dad who is a huge Civil War buff.  





It was hot.  Have I mentioned that before?  It was really freakin’ hawt!  

I cannot imagine the chaos, the bloodshed, the fear that is war.  To walk where you know men have fallen was eerie…and it was hushed.  All this gorgeous scenery that hosted so much death.



Being the nerds we are, we scooped up a couple of books in the gift shop and a t-shirt for Papa.  Then it was time to hit the road again.

On the home front, we’d phone my folks who were dog-sitting their granddog for us.  My Dad said he’d never known a more neurotic animal than our Ziva.  But she found happiness in Gramma’s sewing scraps and settled in to dig her way to dachshund nirvana.


Paige and I headed back to the hotel, gearing up for the main event that was to come.

Stay tuned!

Pennsylvania 2017: Part 1

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of August.  

The kids are back in school (can I get a hallelujah?) and Himself and I are staring at the last year of middle school for one Codefendant and senior year for the other.  In an act of parental civil disobedience, I informed The Diva that I wasn’t going to orientation; I wasn’t going to meet the teacher; and, in fact, I didn’t want to even know who her teachers were this year.  Frankly, I’m at the point where the less I know, the happier I am.  My folks, to the best of my knowledge, didn’t spend a significant amount of personal time up at my schools and I turned out just fine.  Stop laughing.

Where’s the time gone, I think.  One day, one’s ripping down my wallpaper after completely covering himself with magic marker; the other is helping herself to a midnight snack after scaling my sewing cabinet and opening the pack with my surgical-sharp Gingher scissors.  And far be it for me to pass up ratting them out for peeing against the bedroom dresser or dropping britches in the yard to take care of business.  Then there’s the nose goblins someone wiped on the walls.  Did you know snot strips paint?  👃🏻  I can’t make this stuff up, y’all. 

So many memories.  A newly minted teenager with all the accompanying pains, sighs and eyeball rolls; another with a permanent driver’s license and, just seven short days after receiving aforementioned license, got his first speeding ticket and lots of talk about enlisting in the navy after graduation. 🚢 

So our summer 2017 road trip was especially meaningful to me.  And it was going to be EPIC.  

Now my husband, Himself, is the original car nut.  Our home is filled with car crap, I mean treasures.  I even have to share the garage with a ’68 Plymouth Roadrunner.  Meep-meep!  So you know a vacation almost always involves cars.  This year was no different.

So we set out from Texas in a pickup truck that rode like a covered wagon: Himself, two unmedicated Codefendants (they have ADHD) and a newly medicated me.  Let me just say long-assed road trips aren’t the time to start an anti-anxiety/depression med, but it beats the hell outta wearing neon and leg shackles, amiright?!

It took two days to get there.  So many states, I’ve lost track, but each one prettier than the last.

Kentucky…the state where you can smell the color green

And this little diversion…


I kinda promised not to stop at any quilt shops.  I mean, I’ve got plenty and didn’t need anything, but Himself uttered ‘Paducah’ and all was lost.

West Virginia, we love you despite the fact you are Dr. Pepper-less.  And no, sorry, Mr. Pibb isn’t the same thing.  Remember my comparison of Tom Selleck and Peewee Herman? Yes, that.  And to our Bob Evans waitress, we’re sorry you got a little miffed when we scoffed about Pepsi products.  In hindsight, we should’ve kept our mouths shut, but bless your heart, Pepsi sucks. 

Where was I?

West Virginia…is for lovers of sunsets and Pepsi drinkers

Needless to say, all the scenery was gorgeous.  
Maryland (I think)
 

The Diva and I sat in the back, content to read and rubberneck at the gorgeous vistas.  His Awesomeness sat up front, Himself’s copilot because apparently screaming this exit! that’s what I said,! yes!  move over!  now! gogogogogogogo!! is frowned upon by Himself.  Full disclosure: I was allowed to drive with all of us in the truck for a grand total of…one hour.  No one and I do mean no one likes my driving.  

Between the two of us, The Diva and I finished seven books during our trip. 📚 

Pennsylvania

We made it…finally, on Thursday, July 13th.   Just in time for several days worth of thunderstorms and incomparable humidity.  

But there was fun to come.

Stay tuned.

While the Cat’s Away 

The bards were right on the money about distance and hearts and fondness.  I for one am an advocate of getting away for a bit from the spouse.  Isn’t that why quilt retreats were invented?  Himself gets to do his thing: cars, beer, scratching without nagging. And I get to do mine: shop, read, quilt.

Such was life at ye olde homestead this past weekend.  The Testosterone Twins hied off to Louisiana for the Power Tour (cars and, most assuredly, questionably clad female folks) while The Diva and I stayed behind.  

All alone.  On a payday weekend.  Heehee.

I’ve had some experience with being left to my own devices while my better half attends one of his car events and, I must say, for a brief time it is divine.

For one thing, I didn’t cook all weekend long.  Can I get a hallelujah?! 

I introduced The Diva to the wonders of Double Dave’s peproni rolls.  Yes, that’s how they spell it.


I’d already told Himself that I wanted new dishes.  It’s been almost twenty years and I’ve tired of them.  He looked a bit nervous until I assured him I’d keep him.  Unless Tom Selleck called and then I’d have to weigh my options.


Yep, that’s turquoise and avocado green.  They’re fun and funky and practically indestructible.  And they play nicely against my Lustro ware circa 1950s kitchen canisters.

We started our weekend with a lively discussion of fashion do-s and don’ts. Apparently, this is okay…


Camel toe, is not.  No pictures.  You’re welcome.

Saturday morning we set out for local antiques shops, on the hunt for vintage Pyrex and linens. Let me say up front: The Diva was a trooper.  Sure, we only made it to three places, but when they aren’t air conditioned, that’s the equivalent of ten.

Our first stop was to downtown Lorena and Just for You, which is in an old bank/post office building.

Check out the ceiling tin!




Funny how peeling paint lends ambiance in someone else’s place.  In mine it just looks redneck.

And look at the view into the courtyard.


Alas, no Pyrex, but The Diva just had to have this miniature.


As if one real live miniature isn’t enough. 🙄 

Then we crossed the street to Center Street Antiques Mall.  If I were one of those folks who takes pictures instead of standing in the aisles slack-jawed, I’d have something to show you.  But, no.  They had everything and then some as my grandmother would’ve said.  And they had these.


My covetous little heart spied a nearly perfect set of four mixing bowls, but my stomach dropped at the asking price.  What would it take to own them?  Could I hawk a body part, sell a child? 

I guess some of my Nana rubbed off because I talked him down and brought these home.  Along with all my parts.  Oh, and the kid.



Don’t they look right purty in my cabinet?


It’s the little things, y’all.

I’d scored the blue bowls a few days before the boys’ departure.


Next up: downtown Waco and Hey Sugar!

It’s the newest candy shop in town and a must stop for The Diva.  Retro music blaring, bright colors, and a hearty “hey, sugar!” as we walked through the door.  Whats not to love?!


It was packed to the gills with children who thought their grubby mitts were perfect devices for plucking unwrapped candies from their bins and harried parents.  I tried not to think of all the cooties.

The Diva was in heaven.



Here she is Saturday night, ripping the head off a gummy frog.  🐸


There are no words.  Ugh.

There was ice cream, too.


And an interesting door.


And this questionable photo angle.  Geesh.


There was the requisite visit (or two) to the bookstore; the pool; a viewing or ten of Zootopia (a kids’ movie that’s actually good); and a stop at the quilt shop.  We had a blast!

The boys have since made it home, complete with sunburns, tshirts and one cracked windshield.  Don’t ask.


We’re pooped, but what a weekend!

Gettin’ Busy at Retreat

Well, here I am again at Brazos House in Rainbow, TX.  Hallelujah!

This week is The Co-Defendants’ Spring Break.  Most parents (at least the ones my kids claim are the parental units of their school chums), take their curtain climbers on awesome ski or beach trips.  For the record, I’m firmly convinced most of these folks exist only in my kids’ dreams.  Anyway…

Smart parents (like quilting mothers), throw some dinners in the freezer, bribe the darlings with some bucks for books (my kids are geeks like that…two thumbs up!) and give a saucy sayanora as they burn rubber peeling out of the driveway.  Yes, that’s me, pumping my fist in the universal sign of ‘Hell, yes!’  Shield your eyes while I do my happy dance.  I got no rhythm.

Do I feel guilty for abandoning Himself to the occasional grunts that pass for communication from the sixteen year old or the mood swings of the tween girl?  Considering he didn’t suffer through hemorrhoids the size of Jupiter, bladder control that left the building with the first kid and stretch marks that could qualify as superhighways, I’d say he’s getting off pretty easy.

And what perfect weather for sewing it has been.  Dreary, overcast, gross.  I love it!  

Before I left, His Awesomeness declared the worst part of retreat was me coming home.  Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  Man, this chick must really suck as a parent.  What he meant was I always come home with more than I departed with.  Well, duh, I have to hit the quilt shops, don’t I?  Or it may just mean I suck as a parent.  Take your pick.

Frankly, I don’t think I brought enough to do.  

The Diva carried on like I was headed for a leper colony.  You’d think I was never coming home. 

And I’ve already finished a project.  Hot snot!  

I’m pretty pleased with it.  I think the star’s my favorite part.  

At this point, I’m pooped and figure it’s a pretty smart move for me to head on to bed.  Tomorrow is another day.  Night all.

Road Trip Miscellany 

As with any road trip, well, ours at least, there’re things, places and sights that don’t fit anywhere else.  Hence the post of Random Awesome Stuff. 

The Diva and me on the ferry ride to Dauphin Island, AL.

When The Co-Defendants were little we tried (read: Mom tried) the license plate game on all our road trips.  This game went over about as well as a turd in a punch bowl.  Not so with this trip!  Forty states and two Canadian provinces.  Not too shabby, y’all. 

His Awesomeness: the boy who’s given me plenty of pointers on how to maximize annoyingness.

There was Pig ‘n Whistle just outside Millington, TN that served the best BBQ ever to cross my lips.  Easy on the sauce with just the right amount of smokiness.  Potato salad with a little something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  Yes, even the brisket was better than Texas’.  Sorry, home state.
 
There was this bad-assed lady in Mobile Bay.  Hello, USS Alabama!  

There were ‘Quick, take the picture before they realize they’re touching!’ moments.

 
  

   

There was Himself talking me down from a panic attack.
 

Crab cakes over fried green tomatoes with corn and Lima bean succotash at Felix’s.   Somebody hold me; I miss it so.  Sniffle.  
And a shrimp po’ boy sammich that almost made me want to move to Alabama.   


The Memphis Zoo is now #1 on our family zoo list.  Seriously, everyone else can just pack it in and go on home now.  Outstanding!

   

     

 
We made it.  Six days of road tripping. 

 

Not once did the truck pull over for family counseling sessions.  

 

The Diva at Memphis Zoo
 
No one died.  

I only took one Xanax.   

It’s a library. Yes, I’m a geek.
 

And I tried scotch.  Did I mention that?  Nasty shit.  Skip it and go for the fruity drink with an umbrella.

  

Gorgeous architecture.   

   
Things that made me go ‘hmm’. 

That’s my girl.
 

And my 4 lb 1 oz baby who managed to turn 16 on the way home.  Waaaaah!  

What a ride!  

‘Scuse My FART

My husband, Himself, not only plans, maps out the route and makes reservations for all our family trips, he also makes sure there’ll be plenty of stops at quilt shops along the way.  

No, he doesn’t have any brothers and I’m not giving him up.  Sorry, girls.  

It’s fun to see what’s popular in other parts of the country and with one glaring exception, I enjoyed every single one of these shops.  I won’t be naming my less than favorite, but His Awesomeness described it as something from a horror movie involving serial killer quilting grandmas.  It was THAT bad.

First up was Quilts Bayou in Lake Charles.   

These are fabric panels, roughly 5×7, that I’ll be putting into a quilt to commemorate our trip.  I chose the Mardi Gras fabric as the border for the Louisiana panel.  The other border fabrics I’ll pull from my obnoxiously large stash.

This was also the shop I walked out of carrying only a small bag which prompted The Diva to ask if I was mentally ill.  Smart aleck.  

On a quilting friend’s suggestion, thank you, Cy, I scoped out Susan’s in Theodore, Alabama.    

I fell in love with this pattern.  

They offer a kit in whites and blues if you’re so inclined, but I found the gorgeous metallic Christmas fabrics and was hooked.

Tennessee offered up the jackpot of shops and I hit ’em all, much to The Diva’s dismay.

There’s Quilting Barn in Arlington.  

They’re one of several shops statewide participating in the Row by Row 2015.  As theirs lacked the dreaded a-word (appliqué), I jumped in.  I’m planning to put these in with the panels I bought in Lake Charles. 

I especially like the license plates that go with each kit.  The batik was just a bonus.  

And check out the cool mirror in the ladies room.  Hey, what else is there to do? 

There’s The Discerning Quilter in Brighton.  

Her row is Tennessee Tornadoes (paper-pieced, can I get a ‘hallelujah’?!?). And there’s that gentle reminder to quilt what you’ve pieced on her license plate.  Not that I know ANYONE who needs to be told that.  Ahem.

After spending the morning at Memphis Zoo, I dragged The Diva to two more shops.  Poor girl.  

I only bought at one of them, Klassy Katz.  By then, my daughter was certain I’d lost my marbles.  Me, not buy something?  Never! 

This was a nice shop, big and bright with something for everyone.

Their block incorporated everything that makes Memphis, well, Memphis.  

My literal thinking gray matter has a hard time with the abstract, but let’s see if I can remember the gist of this one.  The arches are a bridge, blue’s the water (duh), the orange and black have to do with traveling the road to racial harmony and the musical notes are for Memphis’ rich music heritage.  Whew.  There was a lot of thought put into this one.

Here are my fabrics for it, plus a little something extra.  

A little something from here, there and yonder made for a fun and successful F.A.R.T (that’s a fabric acquisition road trip).

I’m so ready to F.A.R.T. again.

The Magnolia State

As we continued our road trip to Memphis, we passed through Mississippi (twice as luck would have it).

The Magnolia state’s Gulf coast views made for a beautiful drive even with it being overcast and raining. 

  
  
With Himself on a mission to make Alabama by nightfall Wednesday, there was no stopping to take in the sights (or even a quilt shop).  Grrrr!  

The Co-Defendants and I marveled at how green and gorgeous the scenery was as we drove.  Which brings me to the second time we drove through Mississippi.  Don’t ask; Himself planned the route.

Holly Springs was by far my favorite part of the state as it’s where my great-grandfather, Jesse Mooney, was born.

 
   
  

Since 1857!
 
And then there’s the green.     

So much green!  Is it always this green?  I may have to move.


Until next time, Mississippi!