Archive for August, 2011

August 19, 2011

Adventuring: Into the Storm

So. Kayaking. Sounds like fun, yah? Especially when you’ll be launching from here:

Pretty picturesque, hmm?

Suzann told us Fishing Creek (pictured above) was a little dry … and that we’d have to lift the kayaks over logs in the creek. Um … ok? She said the kayaks were super light, so not to worry.  So we didn’t.

Well, the morning dawned bright and clear, but by the time we were going to head out, it was dripping. We get to the mill and see that they have bright red single rider kayaks, with mostly open tops. Perfect. But now it’s raining harder. Uh oh.

The three boys jump out to unload, and discuss if they can convince their respective girls to brave the rain. I have to confess, guys … I ALMOST wimped out. The rain, plus the idea of being in a single-seater that I would have to lug over logs did not sound like my idea of fun. But both of the other girls were game, so I said sure.

I AM SO GLAD I DID.

Within 10 minutes of being on the water, the rain stopped … we floated along, laughing as one or the other of us got stuck every few minutes in the lower-than-normal water level, and basically just having a good time. The rain kicked back up now and then, but lightly, so all was well.

An hour and a half into it we hit the 2nd place where we’d need to get out and haul our kayaks over the logs. The first trip had resulted in screaming and running from the gigantic spiders that had made the unusually dry spot their home, and a snake that no one could identify as non-poisonious. Faced with the idea of finding a few other “friends” … and based on the fact that I could see a third blockage less than 50 yards away … I decided to turn back. *

Half way back, with the husband tagging along to “make sure (I) got back safe” **, it began to rain again. And then picked up. And THEN picked up some more. Half a mile from the cars the storm hit us full force … complete with rain so hard you could barely see, thunder, lightning, and wind strong enough that no matter how hard you paddled, you were NOT going to move.

Paddle paddle paddle paddle …. nothing.

Finally I said “Eff THIS!” and jumped out. *** The water was only four feet deep there, but dang it, I used to do SWIM MEETS in pools 3.5 feet deep (we did NOT like swimming against that team when they hosted. Talk about home court advantage!). So I grabbed the handle of the kayak and swam that last bit. Against the wind. Hellooooooo workout!

A couple of the mill workers took pity on me as I was trying to figure out how to get in the car and dried off without soaking the interior, and let me take shelter in the mill. The husband headed back out to help anyone else who was stuck. Meanwhile, the storm just kept getting worse.

Half an hour later everyone shows up. Apparently the storm had knocked over a few MORE trees, and they had a hard time getting back. We packed up and headed back to the b&b … jumping into warm showers as soon as possible. Naturally.

No one could have predicted the dangers of what was supposed to be a lazy 3-hour paddle. Heck, we hadn’t even signed the waivers! But in the end we were all unharmed … if a bit exhausted.

And I want to do it again. ::grins::

 

* Apparently, I turned back right at the boat landing where the creek joins with another, faster moving, creek-river hybrid (too small to consider a river, but bigger than most creeks). That was almost 2 miles out. Beyond that point, you would normally hit rapids … it turns out the blockages I’d seen that turned me around were those rapids, exposed due to the low water level. The group that had continued was getting out of their kayaks every couple of minutes. I CHOSE WELL.

** Because I’m going to take a wrong turn on the creek?

*** Note to self … buy a pair of water shoes for next time. I don’t even want to THINK about what I was stepping in. ::shivers::

August 17, 2011

Just a Small Town Girl

… um, yah, not exactly.

I grew up in the “suburbs of LA” (if you count 60 miles out as a suburb … but considering our local airport is now LA-Ontario International, I’m guessing THEY do). All of my family lived in urban and suburban areas. I went to school is a densely populated area, and now live in a city center. Spending time in rural areas is not exactly something I’m familiar with.

Enter Enfield, North Carolina.

With the anniversary a few weeks off, I’d begun looking around for a place we could escape for a weekend. I found Bellamy Manor & Gardens.

A bed and breakfast in the small town of Enfield, offering a package including wine, chocolate, a yoga lesson (something the boy and I both enjoy), and a canoe or kayak rental? I was sold.

A couple of days before we left, I began looking up food in the area … to, you know, eat more than just breakfast. A quick google search revealed a Subway, Hardee’s, Vito’s Italian, and a chinese take out place.  Surely that couldn’t be it. I assumed there were places that the search didn’t find, and moved on.

On the way down, we looked up the town. Turns out … it’s all of 1 mile square. A farming community. Awesome. Their crops are cotton, peanuts, and tobacco. Uh oh. (The boy works for a tobacco control organization, hence the uh oh.) Getting there required driving several miles without seeing so much as a barn, the fields were so plentiful.

Pulling up, we were greeted by Suzann, the owner of the B&B and her cousin Celia. They were pleasant, engaging, and oh-so-southern. =) While Suzann and the boy chatted about where we were from, I checked out the “bible” (as she called it) … the binder giving us the low-down of the area. There really were only 4 restaurants. The recommended restaurants were all “a few towns over” … generally starting at 15 miles out.

Alright then, food may be difficult.* But let’s do this.

The house itself was GORGEOUS. You can really tell the owners have taken a huge amount of pride in restoring a house that, while it looks like a plantation home, was actually built after the depression by a local doctor who’d stored away his money. You can tell he wasn’t a popular man. Imagine the audacity of having enough money to build a 3 story home at the END of the depression!

Other than the other couples staying at the B&B (another anniversary couple, and a super young boyfriend-girlfriend pair) and the owners, I think I saw 10 people all weekend. The yoga instructor (we got a private lesson, as no one else showed up), the coffee shop owner, her patron, the two men helping with the kayaks, and the little girls doing a car wash.

It was surreal. And serene. And perfect.

The atmosphere was something I’ve never experienced before. And while I don’t think I could ever live there, it was wonderful to unplug and decompress. We walked the town after our yoga class … it took all of 30 minutes. It was lovely.

Oh, and did I mention on Saturday we got caught in the “worst storm these parts have seen in years”? Or, so said the locals.** More on that tomorrow.

 

* Yah, we broke down Saturday night and drove 18 miles to Logan’s Roadhouse. Two words: YEAST. ROLLS. Don’t judge me, you’d do it, too.

** So said the locals. Verbatim.

August 16, 2011

Guesting

Today I’m over at Bride Sans Tulle, guest posting for the lovely Sharon while she’s off exploring Italy.

Lucky, LUCKY girl.

::tries to control the jealousy::

We’re discussing the little decisions that lead to meetings that lead to community. Come join in!

August 15, 2011

One Year

A year ago, this happened:

 

It’s hard to believe a  year has passed already. It seems like we’re just getting started. And yet, at the same time, it’s hard to believe it’s ONLY been a year. It seems like so much has happened.

One thing is for sure, this year has brought out the best and the worst in us. It has given us the time and space to kick and scream and grow … both independently and together. We’ve been able to test out the promises we made, and fine-tune our plans for our future. There have been nasty fights, big miscommunications, and many tears. But there have also been moments of complete trust, amazing understanding, and total honesty. All in all … I think it’s been weighted on the good side.

Looking at the state of our marriage, I can honestly say we’re in an even better place now than we were on our wedding day. As it should be. It’s been a trial by fire (how much madness can you fit into one year?) but we are here, holding onto each other, and knowing we’ll make it. What more can you ask for?

To continuing to feel, today and forever, the pure joy we felt on this day last year.

 

August 11, 2011

Some Good Old Fashioned Outrage

My brain’s been fried today. No idea what I wanted to write about, I’ve been sitting here, attempting to do work, with this ridiculous song playing in my head:

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river, at dawn
Send me off with the words of a love song
The sharp knife of a short life

I’m sorry, what was that?

That SUPER HAPPY song is by The Band Perry … and while pretty enough is incredibly morbid. Especially  when you consider it’s played on the Top 40 stations listened to by pre-teens (and my husband). What in the world could inspire someone to write a song glamorizing and romanticizing a mother “as she buries her baby” … yep, that’s a lyric, too.

All this has gotten me thinking of how utterly brainless people can be when it comes to their lyrics. Liz and I recently had a Twitter discussion on how it is NOT appropriate to use rape and domestic abuse for entertainment. You’d THINK it would be common sense. But no, we keep getting things like this:

Last night I blacked out I think
What did you, what did you put in my drink?

 - Avril Lavigne, “Smile”

This, in the middle of a sugary pop song, where she talks about how this boy and his antics make her so damn happy.

Or how about:

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

- Katy Perry, “E.T.”

Yes, I understand this one’s a little far-reaching, but the idea of pre-teens (or anyone for that matter) going around singing “I wanna be a victim” just makes me sick to my stomach. Or better yet, posting it on their Facebooks.

::sighs::

During the Twitter convo, a friend said “It’s not ok to sing about something gritty from real life? Crap, we’re gonna have to go back and delete most of music history.” I’ve thought about this for a while, and I think … if it’s used in a realistic way? You’re writing from your experiences? Awesome. Look at “Love the Way You Lie” … both parts. TOTALLY real, and written from the horrific experiences of being on both ends of domestic violence. Education, wrapped up in a hit song? Do it.

But to use it in a flippant way? To make fun of it? To promote to young girls that it’s just a part flirting with the guy you like?

What happened to common sense?

 

And now for something USEFUL:

Rape, Abuse & Inscest National Network

National Domestic Violence Hotline

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

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