Browsing Archives for July 2009


We are inching closer and closer to our departure date for our European vacation.  Our trip is divided into three legs.

1. The London Leg

2. The Paris Leg

3. The Mike and Liz Leg



During the Mike and Liz leg, we will be meeting up with our friends… uh Mike… and uh… Liz and spending time in the English countryside with them and their three sons and also Liz’s family as she is English born and bred.




Our friendship with Mike and Liz came about from a chance meeting at a park in Kansas City.  It has lasted through four moves, five pregnancies, seven children, and thousands of absurd memories.  Many of these memories have names.

1. The Pretzel Cone

2. The Public Pool

3.  The Potato Gun

4.  The Exploding Guy Fawkes

5.  The Drunk Pregnant Lady

6.  Eggplant Parmesan

7.  More Eggplant Parmesan

8.  Even More Eggplant Parmesan

9.  The Sunburn

10. Cup and Saucer

11. The Portabello mushroom

12.  The Shishkabob

The list goes on and on and on and I am looking forward to making many more absurd memories during this trip.  



I had a hard time finding a place to stay during the Mike and Liz leg of our trip.  The decision involved a moral dilemma, and I came very close to making a decision based on fantasy rather than reality, which is not always a bad thing, but in this case it probably was.





You see, I found an English manor.  The perfect English manor.  The exact kind of English manor that serves as the backdrop of Agatha Christie movies and Jane Austen books.  The exact kind of English country house where all my little English manor fantasies could finally come true.  In fact, the hotel that I was looking at was at one time the private home of Princess Alice, the granddaughter of Queen Victoria.  It was incredibly affordable and even had an available apartment that could sleep all six of us.  I was so excited about this place.  The only problem was the the grand old home was an hour away from where Mike and Liz would be staying.  I fought with myself for several days over this problem.  How big of a deal is it to be an hour away from our friends?  We could drive and see them every day!  We could meet for lunch and spend the day together flitting around the country side.  It is really not that big of a deal…  Besides, the English manor is so affordable!…  And it has room for all six of us to stay together!  



But in the end, I knew that it really wasn’t the best option.  The point was to be with Mike and Liz during the Mike and Liz leg of our trip.  The point was to hang out with them.  We had talked about taking this trip for years.  It made no sense to be an hour away from them after we had come so far to be together.  I reluctantly put away my English Manor dreams and began looking for places to stay that were closer to where Mike and Liz would be.  The first place that popped up on my search had the following description…

… A wonderful blend of Edwardian charm and radical 70s architecture with a quirky nautical theme throughout. 


a quirky nautical theme throughout. 

a quirky nautical theme throughout. 

a quirky nautical theme throughout. 


As soon as my eyeballs scanned the line about a quirky nautical theme, I hastily clicked on to the next hotel… and the next… and the next… and the next…

Because a quirky nautical theme is not exactly a selling point for me.  Quirky… yes… Nautical… no.  Quirky and nautical… big no.  Radical 70′s architecture blended with Edwardian charm… oh dear God no…


SO NO.  







So guess where we are staying?

That’s right.

I have booked rooms at The Quirky Nautical Inn.

After days of trying to find something else… anything else… the Quirky Nautical Inn simply could not be beat in price, location or of course… quirky nauticalness.

Nothing could beat this hotel in quirky nauticalness.

It is simply the very best quirky nautical hotel on the face of the earth.

And I am very pleased to call it home during the Mike and Liz leg of our trip.  

These tears running down my face?

These are tears of joy.

Pure, unadulterated joy.

One of the things I managed to accomplish during my recent blog hiatus, was to re-paint the center hall, and finally hang up some family photos!  I considered painting the above bench in one of the colors on the paint chips, but by the time I had painted the hall (in the same boring off white that it was before) and hung up all the photos, I was far too limp and pale and weak and exhausted to paint that bench.  





To hang the photos, I found a pleasing pattern by laying them out on the floor.  Some of these photos were taken by Mrs. Mama last Fall.  Some of them are wedding photos taken by Rick Mitchell in Lawrence, Kansas and a few I took myself.

I got the frames with the wide mats at Target.  I couldn’t decide which style of frame I liked the best, so I eventually bought a few of each variety.  The wedding photos were framed a long time ago in the cheapest frames I could find.  





I cut newspapers to the size of the frames and hung them up just like I had laid them out on the floor.  I quickly decided that the frames were going to go up too high on the wall and they seemed to draw my eye right to the ugly doorbell and the unsightly wall vent… so I trudged back to the drawing board and started all over again.  





I re-organized the photos to have less height and more width.





I re-hung the newspapers….

And I re-hung them

and re-hung them

and re-hung them…

Until my freshly painted walls were covered in enough newspaper ink to completely disguise the fact that they ever were freshly painted walls.






I eventually found something that I thought I could live with and I started hanging photos.





I started in the center, screwing the wall mounts right through the ‘x’ I had marked on the newspapers.





I kept going…





And kept going…






I am not much of a perfectionist, so I was relying heavily on gestalt and luck and an innate reckless abandon that has guided me throughout my entire life.  














I think it turned out pretty good!  The hallway is not nearly as bleak and soul-less as it was.  Did you know that I did this exact same project once before?  The problem with family photos is that they just keep changing.  How many more times will I re-do this wall?  And what about that bench?  Do you think it could use some color?








And how long until I find a spot for all the left-overs?

A few weeks ago I noticed that some daisies were emerging on the small hillside behind our house.  I was both surprised and relieved to see them appear.  Last Fall, B.J., a fellow member of my church mentioned that he was digging up a bunch of his daisies to make room for a water feature in his back yard.  He asked me if I wanted them.  ”Hell yes!’  I said, and then I remembered I was in church and said, “I mean Heck yes… Heck!  Heck!  I meant to say Heck!”  B.J. just looked at me the same way a lot of people look at me which is sort of a sideways glance with more than a small glint of concern and fear and said he would bring the daisies over soon.

A few days later, I came home from work to find my driveway filled with daisies.  B.J. had dropped off buckets and buckets and buckets of daisies.  I took one look at all those daisies and collapsed in a broken heap of lost humanity never to rise again.  There was no way I was going to get all those daisies in the ground.

No. Way.



What’s worse is that in just a few days the entire church was scheduled to appear at our house for an annual cook-out and hayride.  I couldn’t just let those daisies die a slow death in my driveway and then toss them in the north forty.  I had to make it look like a natural death… like an act of God… like mother nature had killed all those buckets full of daisies and not me!

I told the Country Doctor about my dilema,  ”Do you have a drug or a serum?” I asked him, “Or maybe you could just back over the daisies with the tractor and I could say that you killed them and not me…. It is no big deal if you kill off a driveway full of daisies… you’re a DOCTOR… people expect you to be heartless and robotic and kill things occasionally!  It fits your character!  But I work at a Garden Center!  I am supposed to bring things to life and fill the world with flowers!”

The Country Doctor just looked at me the way a lot of people look at me which is with a great deal of despair mixed with large dollops of horror.  

It is at this point in the story that I must have suffered a long black-out that lasted approximately twelve months because when I saw those daisies emerging from the hillside behind my house, I ran and found the Country Doctor and said,”Honey!  HONEY!  HONEY!!!  Remember those daisies?  Remember!  The Daisies that B.J. brought over and that I asked you to pretend to accidentally kill?”  

I think you can imagine how he was looking at me at this point.

“Well guess what!”  I continued, ” I planted them and they are all coming up!”

At this point, the Country Doctor’s normal pitying look turned a little icy around the edges.  ”You didn’t plant those daisies,” he said, “I planted those daisies… I broke my back to plant those daisies before the church cookout last year.”


“And it was a hundred degrees outside and that dirt on that hillside was as hard as stone.”

“Oh… well I guess daisies do well without any care.” I shakily replied.

“What do you mean without any care?”  he demanded.  ”I planted them, I watered them, I treated them better than I treat my trees!”

“Oh….  I just didn’t remember that… probably because of uh… the heat… and uh… the blackout…” I shakily replied

“What blackout?”

“You know… the blackout.  The blackout!  THE BLACK OUT!!!  

“What are you talking about?” he asked.

The blackouts I have when I feel all weak and shaky and then people dump a boat load of daisies in the driveway!” 

“Oh yeah… those black outs.”

“Oh… don’t those blackouts me!” I hissed.  ”You know very well that I am practically at death’s door at all times and I only struggle on for the sake of you and your children.

“Right.” he replied.

“No one on the face of the earth is more heroic than I am.” I announced.

“I’ll remember that.” he sighed.

“Good!” I exclaimed, “And I’ll try to remember that it was you who planted all those daisies!”


“And… your daisies… they look nice.”


Special note to self…

Please try and remember that someone at work gave the Country Doctor some Canna bulbs and HE planted them… not YOU… HE!!!