Saturday, June 28, 2008

things i've accomplished today

-made improvised lemon/blueberry muffins.  none of the recipes i looked at satisfied me, so i made up my own.  they were okay, although not good enough to transcribe the recipe and encourage you to try them for yourself.  it was the first time i made up a (baking) recipe, and my lack of culinary knowledge reared its ugly head when i put the butter into the cold liquid ingredients (duh.  butter did not incorporate).  they looked pretty though!

-watched "goonies" on tv.

-yelled at a couple neighborhood seven-year-olds who threw a firecracker that detonated about a foot in front of my face.  i said the f-word and "jesus" a few times.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

we all scream for...

the ice cream man was in the neighborhood today, and i got a good humor cookie sandwich. 
now i am debating going to the Y.  my mind is telling me no, the ice cream sandwich is telling me yes. 
what kind of ice cream do you get from the ice cream man?  when was the last time you purchased something from the ice cream man?  do you call it "ice cream man" or "ice cream truck" ?  R & I had this conversation the other day.  He'd get one of those baseball mitt popsicle things.  

Saturday, June 7, 2008

forgetting and dreams

last night, a friend and i were talking about r.e.m and he brought up the show at the ryman. i had absolutely no recollection of the concert. i knew i had to have gone, but i remembered nothing of it.  then  i realized it must've been when my mom was first sick.  when i got home, i looked in my bedside drawer and found a journal i had written in around that time.  just a few entries, maybe about 8 pages worth.  i have a really hard time keeping journals.  i write a few pages, and then stop. or i write, and throw it away. what's stopping me?  the embarrassment of someone else possibily reading it one day? i don't know. but as i read through these entries, i realized it was probably the one and only time i was ever really open and honest in a journal (not in the "not lying" sense, but you know, honest with yourself). it was the first time i re-read something and did not want throw it in the trash.  after she passed, i started a list of things i didn't want to forget about her. i wrote 8 things down.  3 years later, and i am afraid i'm forgetting things about her every day.  which brings me back to the r.e.m. show at the ryman. i checked this morning, and the concert was a week after we took my mom to the hospital & received the diagnosis.  i really have blocked a lot of stuff in my mind.  my memory is not what it used to be. and with those thoughts, i fell asleep.

a few nights ago before bed, i looked for mid-century modern furniture on nashville craigslist.   that night, i dreamt i found a vintage glass-and-wood cabinet.  it had a small tv inside.  and  a printer that printed everything in pink ink (?).  i bought it for $40.  the next morning i was suprised at such a quick action-to-dream repsonse.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Barbados - Wednesday May 28

We’re back from our Barbados holiday adventure.   What follows is a day-by-day breakdown of what we did.  It’s pretty boring, but I just spent about an hour typing this all out, so you’d better read it. 

Wednesday May 28
Our journey began at 3:30 am. We drove to my dad’s house & he took us to the airport.  We were cutting it really close after getting through security…last ones on the plane.  Phew!   Had a quick changeover in Miami, no time to spare.  Only had time to grab a quick wrap sandwich from an Au Bon Pain cart.  Worst sandwich EVER.  The tortilla disintegrated and I hardly ate the thing, even though I was starving.  We dozed a little on the plane.  Landed in Barbados on schedule & hired a car to take us to the hotel, which was in Holetown in the St James provence. 
We stayed at Settlers Beach Hotel in the only 1-bedroom apartment unit on the property.  There are 23 other villa-type units and mostly (British) families occupied the other villas.  We had a small living room, no tv (fine by me), a full kitchen with stove, oven, fridge, cookware, etc, small bedroom with king size bed, bathroom.  Nothing fancy or frilly, but we didn’t want (or need) {and couldn’t afford} such luxuries!  We were tired and hungry and made our way into the town (a five minute walk) to the supermarket.  We like foreign grocery stores and markets.  This place seemed to cater to the locals and British tourists.  Bought a few necessities, so we could fix breakfast and lunch at the room every day: Cinna Minis (cinnamon toast crunch, with a different name), bread, peanut butter, jelly {bought local jam because smuckers and decent preserves would’ve cost $8-10 US per jar.  Big mistake. Shitty jam!}, spaghetti, sauce, eggs, milk, butter, Hob Nobs, water. Went back and made peanut butter and shitty jam sandwiches and went to the beach for a quick swim.  Rollum saw some mongooses (mongeese?) scurrying about the grounds, kinda like the way you’d see squirrels in America.  My dad told us they brought in a bunch of mongooses to rid the island of snakes.

The beach was really nice – not too much sand, the beach chairs were put away for the day – but the water was really clear and it wasn’t crowded at all. We showered and went down to the hotel restaurant to redeem our free drink coupons, and were surprised that a little welcome reception was taking place (they had given us a little invite to it, but we didn’t notice it in our welcome packet).  As a result, we only got 1 drink each before the reception ended. Damn!  The owner lady and another worker came by to talk to us and they were both really nice.  The reception lady was kinda shy and we asked her about the alleged green monkeys that roam around Barbados.  They had a monkey family on the grounds but they chased them away because they were menacing and bothersome.  We never saw any monkeys. 
We walked back into town for dinner.  There were two small alleyways that contained several restaurants – Indian, Thai, local fare, etc – and we quickly discovered that it was going to be quite expensive to eat in Barbados (kinda figured that,  judging by the prices at the grocery and realizing how much it must cost to import all the food onto the island).  Some of the restaurant proprietors stood outside and tried to get us to come into their restaurants (they post their menus outside).  We tried the Indian place first.  Rollum had his first of many Banks beers of the trip (local brewery).  It’s cheap and good (the beer, not the Indian restaurant).  Retired early and slept long and well.  I was glad to have a sort-of full day there, to get settled and adjusted.

Barbados - Thursday May 29

Thursday May 29
Sunbathed a bit, then snorkeling.
We snorkeled a lot on the trip.  Dubbed it “snorkin’” because it’s easier and more fun to say than “snorkeling.”  The reef areas at our beach were awesome.  I don’t know the names of most fish we encountered.   We saw blue ones, bright electric blue mini ones, some yellow and blue stripy ones, clear ones, grumpy brown ones that blended with the reefs and sand, rainbowy big guys, ones with huge brown and white scales, little ones that did synchronized dances and then kissed, some angel fish, and lastly: EELS.  They slithered around the reefs and totally freaked me out.  I don’t think rollum saw any the first day, but I saw 3 of the snakey bastards.  Hate em.  Cereal for breakfast.  Spaghetti for lunch. Ate dinner at a place called Ragamuffins.  They were playing Elvis Costello when we walked in.  Rollum had the “catch of the day” (which was the same “catch of the day” as the day before.  Yellow tuna, I think?)  I had Caribbean stir fry with chicken and “veg”.  Rollum’s fish came with “chips and veg”  (silly Brits!)   Meal was pretty good!  

Barbados - Friday May 30

Friday May 30
More sunbathing and snorkin. I woke up early and went down to the beach and started reading “Life of Pi”.  Thankfully, I got into it right away and managed to finish the whole thing on the trip.  Isn’t it a bummer when you take a new book along on a trip and you don’t get into it?  Grilled cheese and soup for lunch. 
After showering we went to sit at the beach for a minute.  Rollum put his feet in the water and ended up swimming in his pants because he couldn’t resist it.  He put a bunch of seaweed on his head, too.  I had my camera with me and captured it all. 

We asked the guy at reception about cheaper places to eat and ended up taking the bus into the “St Lawrence Gap” area.  We didn’t have change for a US $10, and one of the guys at reception gave us money for the bus fare.  $3 Barbados, which is $1.50 US.  Oh, I guess I didn’t explain how the currency situation works.  So as you can surmise, ½ US = 1 Barbados.  All the shops and restaurants accept US$, but you get the change back in Barbados dollars. 
The bus system is primarily used by locals.  The trip to St Lawrence Gap was about 45 minutes long.  As we rode through other parts of the island, we realized we were glad to be staying in Holetown.  We got off the bus and decided it was stupid to blindly go into another town without knowing where to go and what to do.   We went to another grocery store for some snacks (and mainly so I could make change for the bus ride home).  Ate pizza that was pretty good, waited a good 30 minutes for a return bus, and stopped at a gas station in Holetown for a 6-pack of Banks and a bottle of wine.  The gas station was really expensive and I grumbled the whole walk back about the $40 US we just spent on alcohol.  We went in the same place for a bottle of water a few days later and spent $8.  

Barbados - Saturday May 31

Saturday May 31
You guessed it: more sunbathing and snorkin. 
I think that’s the day we walked over to Folkestone, a national park that supposedly had some good snorkin’ conditions.  The water was particularly rough and wavy that day.  The water at the Folkstone beach was also pretty shallow, so on top of being tossed around by the waves, we were really close to the rocks and reef areas.  I had seen an eel but continued on further.  Then I saw another slithery thing, screamed through my snorkel, and swam quickly back to a rock-free zone.  Rollum laughed at the whole situation because he had never seen me swim so quickly, and it turned out it was only a little sea slug.  He did more danger snorkin’.  There was an incredible church there too – the St James Parish church, built in 1847.  I wanted to take some pictures but I didn’t have my camera with me & we never went back there. 
Lunch of leftover pizza.  Outdoor beach place for supper – we got burgers and fries and Rollum discovered Barbados hot sauce mixed with ketchup on the fries.  Walked into a mysterious place called “play 2 win” that had a few video poker and slot machines (maybe 10 or 12 in the whole place?  We spent 5 Barbados dollars in a matter of minutes.  Didn’t win anything).  We also went to a bar called JDs for happy hour and talked to the bartender (a lady from Denmark) and the owner (British lady who loves Jack Daniels).  Told them we were from Tennessee and had been to the Jack Daniels distillery.  Back to the hotel for some nighttime beach wandering and snuck onto another hotel’s property to lay in their beach chairs under the pretty trees and almost fell asleep.
I think that was the day rollum was offered drugs on the beach.  We had gone down early that evening after our showers – rollum was wearing khakis and an oxford shirt and smoking a cheap cigar, and this toothless fellow approached us and asked rollum about the cigar.  Rollum went up to the room for the extra cheap cigar and gave it to him.  Then he asked rollum if he wanted to buy some coke and showed him a waterproof container of the stuff and offered him a sample of his wares.  Rollum said he didn’t do that stuff.  So he offered him some “rock.”  Rollum said no.  Then he asked “ganja” and rollum said no to that too.  I think he offered the cocaine first because Rollum was dressed like a yuppie.  (the whole time this was happening, I was busy reading my book).   

Barbados - Sunday June 1

Sunday June 1
More snorkin and sunbathing. 
Aside from drug dealers, a few other people walk the beach to offer boat tours, jet ski rentals, etc.  We thought about doing a snork trip where you allegedly saw sea turtles, but it was just too expensive.  So we opted for a 2-person kayak, for only $20.  I was a little scared but Rollum promised we wouldn’t go too far out.  Once we got “out there” it was really peaceful and relaxing and we just drifted for awhile in the kayak.  I think we were out to sea for about 30-45 minutes? 

(see the boats? we kayaked past them.  also, notice the thing with the people.  it was a big, turf-covered floating square in the sea.  we'd snork out there, climb the ladder, and just chill for a bit). 

Spaghetti for lunch again.  Tried “New York Pizza” in Holetown for dinner.  It was like gas station pizza (St Lawrence pizza place was way better).  We went down to the hotel restaurant for some salads later that night, because we were both craving some real fresh food.  Played “War” (the card game.  We were bored). 

Barbados - Monday June 2

Monday June 2 – Day of departure
Shitty night’s sleep and woke up at 7:30 to catch some more rays and snorkin before our 2:45pm flight.  We avoided sunscreen that morning and I got a little burnt.  Quick lunch at the hotel restaurant and then the $50 US drive back to the airport.  Finished my book on the flight to Miami.  There were tons of people in matching Christian t-shirts on the flight – they were returning from a mission trip to Honduras.  Also, a few Eagle scouts on the flight as well.  I figured we wouldn’t crash because of all the Christians that undoubtedly prayed for a safe return home, but if we did, the eagle scouts would save us.   Back in Nashville at 11:45 pm.   Dad picked us up.  We were happy to see Helen, Schminkey and Baltimore but sad to be home.
A few observations:
-Despite the drug dealer on the beach, we felt relatively safe there. 
-Food was expensive
-Sad we didn’t see monkeys
-We love snorkin
-Me & Rollum are good travel companions.  We don’t get on each other’s nerves and we like to be around each other.  Good qualities to have in a spouse.
-Despite the above statements, Rollum gets really annoyed when I take pictures. 
-Life of Pi was a really good book, and I should really read more (instead of playing my Nintendo game boy)
-I love vacations and the fact that you don’t have to worry about anything. 
-Lots of British people there.  We hardly encountered other Americans.  A little British boy was running around singing “Hit me baby one more time” and later exclaimed, “My trousers are wet!”  
-Rum is sickeningly sweet and I don’t think I like it very much. 
-I love plantain chips, but I hate bananas.  Do plantains taste like bananas?  Never had a real plantain.  
-More pictures on flickr if you care to look (if you become a "contact" of mine on flickr, you'll have access to more shots.  ooh, enticing!)