Oh, the Places I’d Go

It’s Thursday! It’s Mama Kat’s blog meme day!! Woohoo!

This time, you voted on Facebook for the topic “8 Places I’d Go This Summer If Money Wasn’t an Object”. Easy enough, but a bittersweet topic for me because I work in travel. I get killer discounts on airfare – like you seriously would slap me for – but it comes at a price. I took an entry level job just to get in the front door with my company…so I make 50% less than what I can make somewhere else. That cuts into any travel budget we have pretty bad. And although I get discounts on airfare, I don’t get killer discounts on hotels – so I can afford to get there, I just can’t afford shelter. Kind of a problem. So if money wasn’t an object, these are the 8 places I’d go. (In no particular order because I couldn’t possibly decide.)

1. The United Kingdom: England, Ireland, Scotland.

In England?

The Tower of London…in fact, anything to do with the Tudor family. Henry VIII, Bloody Mary, Elizabeth I – they all fascinate me. I mean, c’mon…Henry VIII has a daughter (Bloody Mary) by his first wife, then invents a religion so he can get a divorce. He marries Anne Boleyn and they have Elizabeth…then he has Anne beheaded. Then he just goes nuts and starts marrying everyone. Bloody Mary grows up determined to return England to Catholicism and marries Prince Philip of Spain, ok? She dies childless…no heir…and almost has her 1/2 sister Elizabeth killed for treason, but doesn’t. While she’s dying, Philip proposes to his sister-in-law Elizabeth. What an ass munch! Elizabeth doesn’t accept his proposal – in fact, she never marries. Instead, she rules England and goes to war with her brother-in-law and kicks his ever love’in ASS all the way back to Spain. You can’t make this stuff up. (Apologies if I got some of that screwed up…I provided enough links for you to check it out, though…it’s amazing.)

I want to stand in the places where these people stood (especially Elizabeth) and I want to think about what happened right there…where my feet are planted.

I want to see the Moors, Stonehenge, and the white cliffs of Dover…all of it. And Nottinghamshire because I have ancestors buried there. And my friend Michael…because I haven’t seen the dude in ages.

In Ireland?

I want to see the countryside and kiss the Blarney Stone. I could just drive around the countryside the whole time and be happy.

Blarney Castle

Scotland?

I want to head specifically to Aberdeenshire and Dunnotar Castle. My 3rd great-grandmother is a Keith. Clan Keith has an amazing history. They lived at Dunnotar for a time. Mary Queen of Scots (Elizabeth I’s cousin…not even kidding) visited there. I want to go see it, touch it, feel it. Pretty much all of Scotland looks gorgeous and interesting, but this place in particular calls to me.

Dunnotar Castle

2. Australia & New Zealand

Everything. I want to see everything. And then I want to see every place where they shot the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit movies. Yes, I want to stay in a Hobbit hole. And I want to have dinner with my friend Bruce, the Kiwi, and his family.

3. Machu Picchu. How can you not want to go there? It’s really really old…and cool. And beautiful.

4. Switzerland. I hear they make Saint Bernards and chocolate there. Seriously…I want to go to the monastery where my favorite dog breed in the universe started…and I want to hug a couple hundred Saints. I want to get Swiss Saint drool and slobber all over my clothes. I don’t care if I get on the plane covered in dog hair. I want to go hug on these babies. And then I’ll go have some chocolate and see the rest of this gorgeous country.

5. Austria/Hungary/Germany. My mother’s family is from these countries – and some of HMH’s as well. I want to put flowers on the graves of my ancestors (is that gruesome? Sorry…) And the castles…oh, boy…the castles. I want to get allll up in those castles. Gorgeous.

6. France. Yeah, I hear a lot of stories of rude Frenchies – but I don’t care. Their country is gorgeous and I want to see it. Paris, certainly. The Louvre alone is enough to make me want to tolerate their pissyness. The Eiffel Tower. The countryside. If I have to wear ear buds to keep the nasty remarks away from my ears, I will…but I want to see France.

The Louvre

7. Italy. First on my list? Venice. Such a place is incredible to me. I have to experience that. Rome…Tuscany…the Amalfi Coast. Is there any place in Italy that’s not gorgeous? If so, I’ve never heard of it.

8. Easter Island. Yeah, you heard me. There’s only one flight in and out each week – so if you miss it, you’re there for another week. But I want to see those giant heads and sit and ponder who put them there and why. I’ve heard the people are absolutely lovely and that Easter Island is amazing even without the heads.

So…where would you go if you had all the money and time in the world? Tell me.

The Ass Turkey of 2012

Yeah, you read it right: it’s time for me to tell you about a culinary catastrophe that will go down in the Hot Mess Household Hall of Shame. I’m talking about the Ass Turkey of 2012.

Why am I writing about this? Because I recently purchased a book called “642 Things to Write About”. It was my intention to blog my way through it on my author website, but as luck would have it the second prompt is something I would never write about on my author website:

Describe the worst Thanksgiving dish you’ve ever had.

I went to bed last night wondering whether I should skip the topic all together or write about it here. When I mentioned this to HMH last night, he said “You’re gonna write about the Ass Turkey, aren’t you…”

See? There’s only one serious candidate when it comes to the worst Thanksgiving dish ever…and that’s the Ass Turkey.

HMH’s grilling and smoking skills are legendary in our family. We were living in California when he bought our first smoker and introduced me to the wonder of smoked meats…particularly turkey. One year he smoked the turkey for our big family dinner and there wasn’t any leftover turkey…that’s how good it was. From that point on, we bought and smoked multiple turkeys to ensure that there would be plenty for leftover sandwiches and tryptophan hangovers.

When I was younger, I used to fantasize about roasting the perfect turkey for my husband and children. Kind of like a Norman Rockwell painting but with less gray hair and suspenders. One bite of HMH’s smoked turkey and those dreams went willingly flying out the window. Screw that! HMH can do the turkey every year…I’ll spend my time on the side dishes. And that’s exactly how we’ve spent every delectable Thanksgiving since. Except last year.

The problem with HMH’s cooking skills is that he thinks it’s fun to experiment – whereas I’m more a creature of habit who lives by the motto “don’t fuck with perfection”. There’s just no reasoning with HMH, though, so last year he decided to use a marinade injection on our turkey.

Other than the pickle flavored potato chip he tricked me into eating once, it’s quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever tasted in my life. Even now…if I close my eyes I can still hear the screaming. Why, God! Why!!!!

How can I adequately describe it? Think of the turkey they served in the cafeteria at your elementary school. Now put it in a dirty sock and throw in the dryer for an hour. Then take it over to the dog dish and use it to mop up the kibble encrusted drool from the side of the bowl. Now fart on it.

Ass turkey.

It was so bad that I couldn’t even eat the portion that was on my plate, let alone have seconds. The dogs got most of the turkey last year. I posted this picture on Facebook later that night…with the caption “Guilty of crimes against Thanksgiving!”

I'd rather eat a hair sandwich
I’d rather eat a hair sandwich

At least my festively fabulous cornbread acorns were a hit…

I don’t know who that Mr. Stubbs guy is but he needs to stop hurting turkies. Bunghole.

Nordic Ware Platinum Acorn Cakelet Pan

Hello, Arlington

It’s Thursday…and that means it’s time for Mama Kat’s blog meme!  You voted on Facebook, so today I’m writing about my city. I’m entirely the wrong person to write a post about my city. I find amusement in the weirdest things…especially in Texas. I managed to come up with 3 of my favorite things about the area where I live. We’ll start with Arlington, Texas where I live.

A thousand hundred years ago before the cowboy pilgrims settled this unruly land, there were many trees. There are still many trees, but there was a very old tree. It was special because it was the oldest tree in Arlington. Some say its roots go all the way back to a time when the Dallas Cowboys were actually a good team – but there’s no one alive who can remember that far back.

Alas, modern times came upon Arlington and some jackhole thought it would be a good idea to move the tree so it didn’t get in the way of progress. So they moved it. And it died. Other towns might consider that the end. Perhaps they would make limited edition salad bowls from the wood and sell them to commemorate the killing of the mighty tree…but not Arlington. No, we cut a giant piece of the trunk off and slapped it up on a stand and built a memorial park around it to commemorate the death of the tree. And then we moved it behind Hobby Lobby so it wouldn’t get in the way of another strip mall.

For whatever reason, I love the idea that this is here. HMH and I have walked through this little park. We’ve paid our homage to the dead tree. After growing up in a state where they develop the ever-love’in-shit out of every spare inch of grass, I hate to hear that people can’t just leave some green in the world…but at least they built a park and put the dead tree on display. We’re trying to learn from our mistakes.

Rest in peace, mighty tree
Rest in peace, mighty tree…underneath trees that we didn’t actually murder

Next, I’m going to take you a little farther down I-20 into the magical land called Grand Prairie, Texas…to a place called Paragon Outlet Mall – because, after all, I am a handbag ho. Girlfriends, let me just say a few random words: Coach, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Guess, Fossil, Bloomingdales, and Auntie Anne’s Frigg’in Orgasmo Pretzels!!!

It hasn’t even been open a year and I’ve already snagged 3 bags and a wallet from the Kate Spade store…a new wallet for HMH from Fossil…and I’ve got my eyes on a gorgeous leather bag from Fossil for me. And another one on the clearance rack at the Coach outlet. Seriously…a clearance rack…in an outlet mall. I love it when rich people get tired of stylish shit and they have to mark it down. LOVE!

Handbag Porn Central

Last, but not least, let’s venture a little farther east up I-20 to the land of corrupt city councils and just plain crazy shit: Dallas. Actually, this doesn’t even really qualify as Dallas because it’s only 10 minutes from my house. It’s Dallas County. I have no idea what city this is in. Probably the city of More Awesome Than Anything.

On any given day, as you’re driving along I-20, you’ll see cars pulled over to the side of the road and people milling about in the green expanse at the bottom of something I call “Mountain Creek Mountain”. It’s really just a foothill with kick-ass landscaping. Texas pride is everywhere here…especially on Mountain Creek Mountain. People pull over to get their pictures taken in front of this awesome piece of Texas landscaping. Here it is from Google Earth.

God bless Texas!
God bless Texas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here it is from Google Street View if you’re standing on the highway…risking your life for no apparent reason:

google2

Texas pride is an awesome thing. It’s one of the first things I loved when I visited here the first time. Last week when I passed it, a bride and groom were getting their picture taken in front of it. It’s that important. It brings a huge smile to my face every time I pass it.

So even though I’m not the best tour guide, I hope I made it interesting for you.

I should warn you ahead of time that I’ve purchased a book called “642 Writing Prompts” in order to continue flexing the fiction writing side of my brain. My intent was to blog my way through the book over on my author website…which I started yesterday with “What can happen in a second”. However, the next prompt is “Tell us about the worst Thanksgiving dish you’ve ever had”…and that’s really a post for this blog. It’s much more appropriate for me to talk about the Ass Turkey of 2012 over here than on my semi-serious author website. So be prepared…it’s coming.

Feel free to comment about what makes your city great!


642 Things to Write Journal

Quitting Ambien. Maybe.

Did you ever think I’d write a blog post about this? Me? The infamous insomniac? Well…don’t applaud just yet, but there’s hope on the horizon.

For the last nine years or so, insomnia and I have been in an unhealthy relationship. At first, I used Tylenol PM to make me sleep – but that stuff put me in a restless coma. After awhile, it didn’t work and I needed something stronger so my doctor prescribed Ambien.

I don’t sleep well for two main reasons. First, I hear everything. A flea could fart on my front porch and I would hear it. Second, my brain won’t shut up. I go to bed and try to relax, but thoughts stream unchecked through my head. Here’s an example:

I have to remember to throw my top in the dryer in the morning. Tomorrow’s Wednesday…why is it only Wednesday? Crap, I don’t want to go to work in the morning. Ugh…I need to clean the bathroom – it’s gross. I have to make sure I go to the gym on the way home. I don’t want to. I don’t care, I have to. I hate this. That chicken was really good I made for dinner. Did I hear Dyson getting into something out in the living room? No, he was just stretching and his toes hit the wall. I wonder if that thing I ordered will come tomorrow. That would be cool. I should have done dishes before I went to bed…crap. That squirrel I saw on the way home was so cute. I miss living in the country. I wish we could move. 

You’re welcome for that brief, yet disturbing tour through my head. Over the past week or so, though, things are different.

 

I mentioned a few posts ago that I’m venturing back into fiction writing in addition to  writing this blog…and the most amazing thing has happened: when I go to bed at night, I’m so tired of thinking about what I want to say and how I want to say it that my brain actually shuts the hell up. Between this blog and the stories I’m writing for Kindle, my brain apparently has enough to do. It’s a miracle!

Now, it’s not safe or smart to quit Ambien cold turkey (so my doctor says)…but I think I’ll see if I’m right about this. So tonight, when I would normally be tucking myself into mandatory sleep, I’m staying up…writing. Writing this blog. Writing fiction. Letting my brain wear itself out for once.

Sweet dreams.

Randomly Hot Mess

Peeps!

It’s Thursday…and that means it’s time for Mama Kat’s awesome blog meme! This time, you voted for me to write six random facts about me & Hot Mess Hubby. Sometimes I think y’all are gluttons for punishment, but here it goes:

1. HMH and I met on the phone at work. I lived in California, he lived in Texas – and part of my job was to call him and request archived documents. We were friends on the phone for five years before we met in person.

2. Four years into our phone friendship, I told him we couldn’t be friends anymore and that I didn’t want to hear from him ever again (he hurt my feelings pretty bad). He called me for about a week before I picked up the phone so he could apologize…and then he drove to California to kiss me.

3. HMH and I have the same birthday – and yes, sometimes we forget. Just the other day he was telling me that the reason he likes to take showers when he gets too hot is because HE is a water sign and it’s soothing to him. I had to remind him that…uh…DUH…so am I.

4. If we’d met in high school, HMH and I never would have gotten along. I was a goody-two-shoes…and he was getting drunk and running wild with his buddies. I give credit to the Marines for making him respectable marriage material.

5. See that American flag pen up there in the banner image on my website? It’s made from wood, believe it or not, and I saw the kit for making it in one of HMH’s woodworking catalogs. I bought the kit and begged him to make it for me in his woodshop. That was five years ago. I’m still waiting for my pen. The picture above is from the internet. But he’s not a complete yutz, I promise. He made the accent table that my Dad’s helmet from World War II is displayed on…and he made the frame for this piece of needlework I stitched the first year we were married.

Maybe someday I'll get the damn pen...
Maybe someday I’ll get the damn pen…

6. Guilty pleasure from California: police chases. The media in southern California really makes a big deal about police chases. I remember loading the dishes in the dishwasher one night when HMH yelled “POLICE CHASE!!” We both ran in the bedroom, snuggled up and watched. There was always popcorn.

And there you have it: six random facts about HMH and me. Now it’s your turn…tell me a random fact about you!