Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Another Vacation

We wanted to take Kevin's folks to Tennessee in July, but money was looking like it would be too tight to pull it off.  His mom told him on Saturday that she'd pay for the fuel if we could make it happen.  Thanks to AirBnB and a very gracious friend in Nashville, we are going to be able to do it on the cheap.

So, we'll head to Carthage on the 4th, and leave early the next morning for our next adventure.  So far, the itinerary is as follows:

Tour the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City
Spend the night and part of the next day in Memphis
Go to Nashville and spend 2 nights and a day, including seeing the Grand Ole Opry
Drive home on Saturday.

We saw Memphis and just a bit of Nashville last year, so I know we'll love it.  The Grand Ole Opry has been on Kevin's mom's bucket list for years, so she'll get to cross that off.  I'll enjoy the history of it.

And I love Beale Street.  Even during the day, the street performers and history and culture are something to see.

Yup.  It's going to be a fun trip.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Visit, Day 4

On Sunday, we planned to stay home and chill out for the most part.  Oh, we did go to to Natural Grocers to find more food items that I couldn't pronounce, but that was it.  That afternoon, Simone and Monica came over to visit, and we just chilled out on the front porch, being thankful that the wind kept the 95° temps from melting us.

Everyone took turns in the hammock chair.  Since purchasing it, I have spent far too many hours on my back side.

It was another amazing day, although overshadowed for the two of us by the fact that she was leaving the next morning.  We both get pretty sappy when it's time to part company.  This time was no different.

Monday morning, we awoke early, loaded her bags, and headed to the airport.  After crying halfway from there to work, I came in, flipped to a new page in my notebook, and found this:


Not fair!  Now she's back in Mexico.  And I'm here.  Thank goodness for unlimited calls and texts!

My Trip to Houston

I went on a trip last weekend to help a customer with some workflow and organizational stuff, and stayed through Saturday to just hang out, since she and I get along so well.  I have a lot of customers that have become friends, and Lois is one of them.

I arrived on Thursday evening, after multiple delays and a missed connection caused by said delays.  Lois met me at the airport and we headed to dinner at a Mexican restaurant to meet up with her husband Gregg.  The food there was great and we had enough left that we had it for lunch on Saturday.

Friday was spent in their studio.

I won't bore you with the details of what we worked on, but it involved a lot of Excel formulas and work in the portrait ordering software.  We broke for lunch and found ourselves at a BBQ joint that they enjoy.  The food was quite good, and there was a non-stop line that wrapped around the building and parking lot.  They serve until they run out of food, then they close.

I saw a jar full of can koozies on the counter and inquired about how to purchase one.  The man who was busing tables grabbed one, handed it to me, and said, "It's on me."  I was very excited to add this one to my collection.

Then we finished the work that we had started at the studio.  I wasn't sure if we'd accomplish it all on Friday, but we did!  That meant Saturday got to be for fun.  We celebrated by visiting their favorite cocktail bar in downtown Houston.

This place was everything they had described to me.  Our bartender Tommy was so personable and talented.  I had a couple of really tasty concoctions.  There is a drink called the Prairie Oyster that Gregg always tries to trick people into trying.  Never one to back down from a dare, I drank one.



If you can't tell what I said at the end, it was "That tastes like liquid smoke!"  It was terrible.  But I did it.  Take THAT, Gregg!

By the end of the visit, we had also had some wonderful coal brick-oven pizza, visited a tiki bar  and spent many hours in their backyard pool.  Lois and I even climbed in fully clothed for a late-night float that found us talking about many subjects and enjoying music.  They really do have an oasis for a back yard.  I took many pictures, but none do it justice, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Oh.  I nearly forgot.  I spent an untold amount of time bonding with her dogs.  They are nearly as respectful of personal space as mine are.


I had an amazing trip and I hope to return.  It was my first time in Houston and there is so much to do.  I'm thinking that Kevin and I need to do a vacation there.  Lois and Gregg were amazing hosts, too!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Visit, Day Three

Saturday morning found us out the door by 7 in the morning.  Our first stop was QuikTrip.  Brooke loves QT and gets very few opportunities to visit them, so we darn near stop at every one we pass!  This time was for drinks and a couple of pretzels.  What?  You've never had soft pretzels for breakfast?

We arrived at City Market and started browsing, but not before being asked to sign a petition to legalize marijuana.  I think it was for medical, but I wasn't really paying attention.  The weather was already heating up quite a bit and we had a lot to cover.

We stumbled across some yellow zucchini, which none of us had ever seen.  Brooke bought one yellow and one green for us to compare, and one yellow for my mom.  They are the prettiest color of yellow.  A lot deeper yellow than the yellow squash I'm used to seeing.


We tasted some new things, had a lemonade, tipped a street performer, and watched Kevin have a conversation with a meth head.

Upon leaving there, we went across the street to the Chinatown Food Market.  I'm not sure I would have ever found myself in an Asian market if I hadn't met Brooke. There are very few things in there that I can pronounce or recognize.  Let's just say that I'm pretty naive about the foods eaten in our world.  Of course, there were things she needed there, too.

Monica and Simone wanted to see Brooke and to have her see their apartment, so we stopped by for a bit, then headed back home.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Visit, Day Two

On Friday Kevin had an appointment first thing in the morning, so Brooke and I spent the majority of the morning relaxing and drinking coffee.  This time, Natalie joined us on our adventures.

We hit Home Depot, WalMart, and a few other places for some specific needs that Brooke had.  She starts her shopping list long before she heads to the states.  There are certain things you simply cannot find on Cozumel.  And because she ferments and makes so many interesting things, most of the ingredients she's searching for are things I've never heard of.  This is a picture of her refrigerator that my mom captured on our trip in March.


When hunger took over, we had our lunch at the Hy-Vee Market Grille.  We've eaten there several times before and the food has always been good.  The service this time, though, was horrible.  We couldn't even get drinks refilled.  Needless to say, she didn't get much of a tip.

We got home that afternoon and just hung out together.  That evening, Brooke and I relaxed on the front porch (which is cooler than inside my house,) and had some almond cheeses and a Cosmo (or 2.)

This is also the night that Brooke dyed her hair.  Blue and purple, to be exact.  And it turned out wonderfully.

And yes, we spent a lot of time lazing around in our pajamas.  Don't judge!

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Visit, Day One

Brooke arrived on Wednesday, and I left work early to pick her up.  I was SO overjoyed to see her again.  We chatted all the way home, where a pot roast dinner was waiting in the crock pot.  My dogs always go crazy when she shows up.  They can tell a dog lover when they see one!  They wouldn't leave her alone for a minute.

On Thursday Kevin, Brooke, and I got an early start and ran some errands, hitting a couple of thrift stores, getting groceries, and just having fun enjoying one another's company.  After dropping everything off at the house, we grabbed Natalie and headed to lunch at Toscano's Italian restaurant. .



The food is always amazing there, and we all ate way too much.  Fortunately, we ate lunch early that day, because we had moved our dinner with my parents night to Thursday instead of Tuesday in order to include Brooke.  Since mom visited her in Cozumel with us, they know each other a lot better than before.  Brooke cannot get good beef on the island, so we had steaks on the grill.  Two HUGE meals in one day!

After dinner, we spent some time talking and laughing with my niece Heather added into the mix.  It was an amazing evening.  Those of us who live here were laughing at how cold Brooke was when the air conditioner was on.  She thinks anything under 75 is cold.


Finally, we headed home with full bellies and happy hearts, knowing that her visit was only 1/4 over.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Caffeine as a Drug

Brooke is in Phoenix this morning and will be in Kansas City this afternoon.  I just found out that she's sitting in a Starbucks with a friend.  Uh oh.  Brooke has a special reaction to caffeine.  She doesn't have it very often, and when she does, it affects her quite extremely.  She's likely going to be awake most of the night talking 90 mph.

And that is fine with me.  I like caffeinated Brooke.  She's fun.  And crazy.  And mildly dangerous.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

My Person is Coming!

Brooke is my person.  I love her as if we have known each other since birth.  Or before!  She lived in central Texas when I met her in 2008.  She now lives on the island of Cozumel in Mexico.  Tomorrow, I will pick her up at the airport and spend FOUR WHOLE DAYS with her!  I'm so excited I'm nearly wagging my tail.  Figuratively, of course.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Moving In

I had a blog for several years, and enjoyed the experience.  When I was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer, it turned into a medical journal and chronicled my struggles with treatment and reconstruction and lymphedema.

It's been five years now, and I decided to start a fresh new blog.  The Nest is going to chronicle fun things.  After raising four kids, we're down to only one at home, and she's pretty darn close to moving out on her own.  We're close to an empty nest, and it's changing what goes on between me and my husband Kevin.

Stay tuned.