Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last Minute Trip

The Fiance and I have been talking about going kayaking for some time. We just never seem to make the plans and keep kind of busy. With what? I have no idea when I really sit down and think about bit...but we're some busy people.

Thursday, around 4 pm I called him to see if he could get away for a night. Since he said he could, I booked a cabin in Lesterville, Missouri at The Wilderness Lodge. I had no idea what the cabin was going to look like, but it seemed to be in a great location - and dinner and breakfast were included...quite the deal.

I have photos to post, but none of kayaking...I didn't want to flip and destroy my camera. As it turns out, I did not flip - but The Fiance did while trying to avoid some drunk canoers. It wasn't much of an emergency because we were in about 1 1/2 feet of water. It got deeper in parts, and we both came up with requirements for our next trip - he wants it to be longer, I want rapids.

The Cabin

From the outside. The cabin was partially built into the side of the hill. There are four cabins in that seemingly tiny building.

Our screened back porch. It was really nice when it was dark out (and it was really dark). They had candles in the cabin and we lit them back there and listened to the "night". Personally, if I were renting out a cabin I don't think I'd encourage candles - fires happen with less, especially in a small building entirely made of exposed wood.

The entry (to the right) and kitchen (sort of - a sink, refrigerator and coffee maker).

View from the back porch. The couch (with The Fiance napping), the beds, and the kitchen. The cabin could have slept 4 people.

View from the entry. You can see the windows by the back porch and fireplace (which I'm pretty sure would have asphyxiated us with smoke had we not put out the fire).

Weird cage-like thing on the playground.

The 5-mile stretch of river was supposed to take us 3-4 hours. Because we're absolute kayaking maniacs, we finished in two. We had several hours until dinner, so we did the only rational thing possible - we went to a Civil War Re-enactment in Pilot Knob. It was the most bizarre thing I think I'd ever seen (keep in mind, I've been to Burning Man...this was way stranger). I'll let the photos tell the story.

The Re-Enactment

Confederate soldiers hanging out proudly by their Confederate flag (which, strangely, still hangs outside houses in these parts).

A Yankee riding his fancy carriage around. In the world of Civil War Re-Enactments, you KNOW that carriage makes him one of the cool kids.

Union soldiers in formation. Too bad they had to have that cheesy flag string thing...kind of ruins the feeling of authenticity.

Union soldier camp. They seemed much more organized and uniform than the Confederates. I realize it may have been that way in real life, what with the South not really having money for the war and all, so that seemed very authentic to me.

Oh ho, a covered wagon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Daddy's Girl

My dad and I are exactly the same, right down to the dorky history books we read BY CHOICE for fun...and then exchange them with each other because we know that nobody else in the world cares to read about Germaine de Staels part in the French Revolution (he'll be getting that book when I go home at the end of the month). Because we're so similar, if there needs to be some sort of "come to your senses" talk from my parents to me, he is not the one. The two of us can needle, banter, argue, and fight with the ferocity of...well, with the ferocity of something strong and scary...like lions or something.

We are the same. We think in the same way, but have fundamentally different views on life. Who's right? Neither of us. We both have religious and political beliefs based on our life experiences. As I've gotten a little older I've seen our intense political discussions become less heated and more mature - an actual exchange of information that allows each of us to understand the other a little better. And yes, I realize that sentence started with "As I've gotten a little older", but I would rather believe that our discussions have gotten more mature because HE'S gotten older.

With that said, I have a TON of nostalgia about growing up with my dad. My mom always got the bad rap because she was home with us all day. She woke us up (I still have flashbacks of her making her voice high-pitched - "Time to get up, time to get up, TIME TO GET UP"), kept us organized, disciplined us, got us to school, got us home from school, drove us to dance, soccer, gymnastics, art, etc., and made us do our homework. That's not to say we didn't have great experiences with her, like following the garbage man around the block on our big wheels, playing on the kitchen floor while she cooked, or all three of us girls putting on nail polish as she got ready to go out to dinner. But seriously, the parent that's home is the one that's more familiar. It was an event when dad came home from work. We'd hide, usually in the same places, and he'd put on a big production of finding us.

As an adult, there are so many triggers that remind me of my dad - mostly music. He and I are both FREAKS about music. I can't help but believe that my passion for music is learned from him. I have a really clear image of my dad and I sitting against the green love seat and listening to 45's (for you kids - that's vinyl). More importantly, I got to pick out many of the records we listened to - usually my selections were based off the picture on the label. Paul and Linda McCartney got much more attention than they deserved because of the pretty green apple on their records.

As time went on, my sister arrived and she got involved with our music listening (she wasn't as committed though - she seemed to flit around more then me when it came to the record player). We heard Three Dog Night, Lovin' Spoonful, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, The Limelighters (my least favorite), the Beetles, and The Kingston Trio. T and I made up dances in the living room that are legendary - to us anyway, they usually involved pretending Ann Boleyn's head was underneath our arms after it was chopped off...The Kingston Trio taught us early what a tyrant Henry VIII was.

I think about those times quite a bit, especially when I hear "our songs". Sitting in front of my computer on a day when I go into work late, I've been looking up music from that time. I can almost smell what the record box smells like (and still does back at their house) and hear my mom bustling around the kitchen.

I've actually become kind of a music snob, and pride myself on having an eclectic collection of obscure tunes...and I've also got more Three Dog Night and Lovin' Spoonful in my music library than I care to admit.

(And yes, that is an actual picture of me with my parents during the "Golden Age", i.e., before the other two kids came along. I really loved that outfit I'm wearing in the picture - seriously, I really did. The second photo is my dad and sister a couple years ago at her wedding.) ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Scooter Etiquette

There's a particular way of recognizing fellow scooter enthusiasts while riding along.
  • The old man on the blue scooter in "The Hill" and I usually honk twice.
  • The woman on Sublette Ave. and I usually give a little wave.
  • The grizzled Harley guy at Arsenal and Hampton and I nod (for the record, I think it's against his Harley code of ethics to even acknowledge that I'm alive, but it definitely adds to my street cred that he does :)).
Anyway, I've gotten into greeting patterns with people I see regularly. When I pass someone I don't know, usually we greet each other in our own manner. I usually give a little wave over the top of my left hand grip while still holding on to it. You know, kind of "I can appreciate you as a fellow scooterist, but I'm not lifting my hand from the grip so as not to die on my death rocket". It's actually quite a friendly gesture, but more understated than a full-on wave in the air or a double honk.

Once one engages in scooter greeting etiquette, there's a certain responsibility, as well as guilt that arises when forgoing a greeting. For instance, yesterday as I cruised home from Schnucks with my ingredients to make fruit tarts for a girl party at Mary's, a small scooter came towards me. It was two kids (by kids, I mean two men in their early 20's) that looked a little too cool for school to wave at a female wearing a helmet. Sidenote: There are no laws in Missouri requiring scooter drivers/riders to wear helmets, but 99% that I see do wear them...hello - death rocket?!?!. Ok, so they're coming towards me and at the last minute they give me the double honk. DAMN - misread that one. I managed to get my breezy left-handed wave at the last minute.

The moral of this story is that I felt guilty that they may have thought I didn't acknowledge them. I realize they probably didn't lose any sleep over getting punked out by a chick on a scooter. Yesterday, I resolved that I don't need to wait for other drivers to respond, I can take the initiative and be friendly, realizing they may not reciprocate.

And seriously, this story says way more about my daily horrors of self-inflicted and completely unwarranted guilt than anything having to do with a two-wheeled vehicle.