Friday, July 31, 2009

What else?

If we thought rain was bad enough, we didn't know what we had coming.
Yesterday, we decided to travel from Deal's Gap to Germantown, TN (right outside of Memphis). When we stopped to put on our rain gear (again!), we were told by locals that we were under a tornado warning.
We watched the local weather channel and decided that by the time we arrived at Germantown the threat would be past. We were right...just barely. We missed a tornado touching down in Germantown by about 30 minutes. The hotel we planned to stay in had no power. There were stores with smashed windows, street lights down, and lots and lots of confusion!
Our hotel sent us to another hotel about 8 miles down the road that still had power. The only problem was we received horrible directions and drove around what seemed like forever trying to find it. (Not something you want to do when you are wet and tired.)

By the time we checked in, all we wanted was a hot shower and something to eat. We ordered in Asian. When it arrived, NO utensils. Chopsticks? nada. Forks? nope. When we called, we were told, "Oh, you have to request those when you order." What??!! Since when do you have to request eating utensils with take-out?

The next morning, we got up, ate the continental breakfast, and made a quick stop in the hotel's hot tub. We headed back upstairs and started to pack. Spencer had gone down to the bike to move it around to the front. Then all of a sudden, the fire alarms were going off. I stepped out into the hall. A cleaning lady was there going on with business as normal. "Is this real?" I asked. "Nah. Our dryers set the alarm off all the time. Just ignore it." Okay. So I went back to packing. Two minutes later, a manager was banging on all the doors. "This is real! Get out!!Get out of the Hotel!!" she screamed.

Now instead of leaving and getting on the road early, we sat outside our hotel watching smoke billow out of the laundry room door. Unfortunately, I didn't grab my camera when I raced out of the hotel room. So... all you get is the last fire truck leaving.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Words can't describe

This was their first stop for hours. Even though her belly growled, food was the last thing on her mind. Wearily, she glanced up at him. Their eyes caught. The corner of his mouth curled upward. His eyes sparkled. She beamed. A wordless conversation of love. A connection...this one small moment... made this whole trip worthwhile.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A day to relax

Day 4 Motorcycle Trip to the Smokey Mtns
After our unbelievably long day yesterday, we decided to take it easy today. We went and rode Deal's Gap up and down once. I have become more confident and I was willing to film a little of what we rode.


We have become friends with several people we are repeatedly seeing. A couple from Quebec stayed at the same hotel as us on day 2 in Lenoir City and we have come across and talked to them several times. We have also met a young guy from Jersey who came down to drive his little sports car up and down the Gap.

We also rode down a new road. Spencer was gracious enough to stop whenever I saw something I wanted a picture of.
This is what he did while I lumbered around in my motorcycle boots trying to get good pictures. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

yes...I DO have something to prove!

Day 3 - Motorcycle Trip to the Smoky Mountains







We headed out early this morning. Deal's Gap was our destination. Deal's Gap is a motorcycle haven...it is called "The Dragon". It is 318 curves in 11 miles. THIS was our ultimate destination. We rode down the gap and I didn't have a panic attack...in fact, I really enjoyed it! I was ready to go again, but Spencer had other venues he wanted me to see.




We headed up the Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina. I hadn't ever been up in the Smokey Mountains before. The views are breathtaking. When we reached the crest, we stopped for some pictures...and this is what we saw.

Rolls of thunder bounced off of the outlying peaks. NOT something you want to see OR hear while riding a motorcycle. So, we donned our rain gear. Rain gear, I have to tell you, is like a fair-weather friend. (no pun intended) It will keep you dry, but it is not easy to put on and it is not comfortable.


But as we rode down the mountain, the rain was worth it for this is what we saw:
(THAT'S why they are called the Smoky Mountains!!)

But did we stop there?? Oh, no! (You see...there were some male friends of Spencer's that made a comment before we left about me not even making it out of Arkansas on the back of the bike...and I had something to prove) SO when Spencer asked me if I was done because of the rain or if I wanted to ride on to Gatlinburg...I said, "Let's go!"


I guess I should have asked "How far is that?" or even "In this rain?" but my brain was disoriented by the thrill of riding. (I don't have any pictures to even prove that I went to Gatlinburg ~you'll just have to take my word for it)

We did come across a shack of a house that was selling boiled peanuts... Over the years of traveling to S. Carolina I have grown to like them quite well ...and I have learned that the more rundown the place looks, for some reason, the better the boiled peanuts...and this place did not let me down. I do, however, think the guy that lived in that shack thought I was crazy because I had the headset in my helmet and I was holding a conversation with Spencer, but it went kinda like this:

Me: (to the shack guy) One thing of boiled peanuts.
Me:(to Spencer) Pork rines? No...I don't want pork rinds. Do you want pork rinds?
Me: (to the shack guy) How much?
Me: (to Spencer) What did you say? Jelly?
Me: (to the shack guy) What did you say?
Me: (to Spencer) What?? Just wait till I'm done.
Me: (to shack guy) What?? Oh. Okay...$2.75. Thanks.

We rode on in the horrible rain. By the time we arrived at Gatlinburg, our feet were wet (the waterproof boots turned out to NOT be waterproof) and EVERY inch of us was dripping. We ate a horrible steak dinner at a pub that said "Motorcyclists welcome". The folks there were very accommodating, however, considering we walked in like dripping rats. As soon as we were done eating, we rode back in the horrible rain.

So what did I learn? If you are on a motorcycle and it is raining and you are given the option of NOT being in the rain ~ STOP!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Did I mention the highway is NOT the way to go?

Day 2 ~Motorcycle Trip to the Smokey Mtns.
My stay in Aunt Liz's most comfortable bed was short lived. Spencer told her that a 7 am wake up would be fine... Doesn't anyone know the joys of sleeping in anymore??

Since we were already up early...I had a problem to fix. My knee armor in my motorcycle pants was not made for people with long legs... and I was bound and determined to fix that problem. We headed into town to buy some material for me to sew into the pant leg to make a new pocket for the armor. (Aunt Liz was kind enough to allow me to use her sewing machine)

But, you know me, I couldn't drive through the town of Hardy and NOT find something to take a picture of. Here is the town's history painted on a fence.


Us in a garden in the center of town.

I worked on those stupid pockets for almost an hour and a half. (Did I forget to mention that I am sort of a perfectionist when it comes to sewing???) By 10:30, I was tired, frustrated, and still did not have the new pockets in place. I gave up in defeat. I knew we needed to get on the road. All of this, of course, had put us behind schedule. So instead of taking it easy...we got on the road, nixed our plans of stopping in Nashville, and rode onto Lenoir City right outside of Knoxville (doubling our planned miles for the day.) Who said we were supposed to make any sense on this trip?

The riding on day 2 was completely different from day 1. Day 1 was all about the scenery. Day 2 was all about getting there. I seriously think I could have fallen asleep sitting up and been fine... but not something I would want to learn the hard way.



Sunday, July 26, 2009

I will survive! ~or~ Since when do I become bird bait?

Day 1 - Trip to the Smokey Mountains
We started out not in a rush. (I think it was Spencer's way of slowly breaking me in.)


We stayed off major roads and took as many back curvy roads from Alma, AR to Hardy, AR as Spencer could locate. We rode through the Boston Mountains (for those of you that don't know...those are in Arkansas.)

I quickly learned how much I could affect what the bike was doing... and I kept from doing that as much as possible!
During one stretch of road, two buzzards sat in the road eating their afternoon meal. As we came upon them, they both took flight ~ one flew off to the left, the other flew straight for us. Even though we had our communicators on, Spencer didn't say anything; he just ducked his head. At the last second, I saw buzzard claws coming right at me! I ducked right behind Spencer. I don't think being decapitated on day one would have been a fun way to start out the trip!

There were some curves that we came around that you could come back and kiss yourself . (Yes, they were that tight!)

By 2pm, we were out of gas and hungry. We stopped in the little town of Mt. Judea, AR. This was the gas station in the "center" of town.

When we asked to use their restroom, we were sent across the street to this house. Inside (of all things) was a tanning bed... and an "out of order" restroom sign.

But we did enjoy a nice lunch at the cafe there. It was a quaint little place where they don't write you a ticket, they just expect you to be honest and tell them what you ate when you come up to pay and where all the local hometown kids are allowed to make their own sundaes.
After watching everyone in this town come and go on their 4-wheelers we decided to head on our way.


We stopped for the day in Hardy, AR at Spencer's Aunt Liz's house. Liz & Denny were very hospitable and allowed us to sleep in the most comfortable bed ever made! Along with that, they had the most gorgeous view of the lake off their back porch. What a great ending to a first day!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Does this bike make my butt look fast?

The trip has been planned ~time just for the two of us to enjoy the each other and the open road. I mean I love to travel cross-country...just didn't know I would ever be doing it from the back of a motorcycle.

The gear has been purchased ~more money than I have ever spent on someone else's hobby. It will keep me safe. It will keep me safe. It will keep me safe. (Yes, I am trying to convince myself.)

The emotions have begun. They include excitement, fear, anticipation... and others I know will show before the words have a chance to come out of my mouth.


(yeah...you can say it...I'm one hot biker chick!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Fruit of Knowledge ...or the Knowledge of Fruit

I haven't updated lately on Sam's skin condition mainly because it is no longer Sam's condition...it is now Colby's :(

We successfully froze off Sam's last bump at his last dermatologist appointment. Unfortunately Colby "caught" them from Sam before they were gone.

For those of you that don't know what I am talking about, read here and here.


Recently I had a friend talk to a doctor who is a friend of hers about Sam's condition. My friend described in detail all that I had told her and she had seen (of Sam's bumps). The doctor said that she knew exactly what she was describing...and that this condition is becoming more and more prevalent. She said that this condition is something that runs through the bloodstream but appears outwardly. (We already knew that...our dermatologist had told us that.)

But then she shared some info that we had NOT heard before. She said that not everyone (doctor-wise) believes this... (and it would scare the mass population) so it is not widely shared... but that it is the pesticides on fresh fruits and vegetables that is exposing itself outwardly from running through the bloodstream. She said this condition appears more in children than in adults because they have not had a chance to build up an immunity to the pesticides.

Now...I'm not a person that believes everything just because someone says it is true, but it did peek my interest...because these are my children we are talking about here. So I have been doing a little research (okay...which has included a LOT of reading). What I have found is that many pesticides that the US has banned are still being used in other countries... and guess what??...these are the countries that we import fruit from. Does this seem stupid to anyone else?

I mean they have gone as far as creating a "Dirty Dozen" list of fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of pesticides. At least 8 out of these 12, I feed my children weekly. Boy, do I feel stupid!

I guess, I grew up in a farming community where we grew all of our fruits and veggies that these things never concerned me growing up. My eyes are opening.

The doctor also told my friend to tell me that ALL fruits and vegetables should be washed with a vinegar and water wash whether you eat the peeling or not, especially fruits like bananas because people think..."I'm not eating the peeling, it will be fine." but it is not, it is NOT fine. Here is a list of 47 different fruits and vegetables and their pesticide "score".

I am still looking into this and researching it as much as possible and I will continue to attach any links that I find that might be helpful. I'm sure this is NOT new news to some of you...but it is a good reminder all the same. Just think... we could be lessening toxins entering our bodies with an easy fix like vinegar and water.

here are just some of the sites that I read:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What does THAT mean?

While I was down in Texas this last time, I had all kinds of really vivid dreams. I was telling my friend, Laura, about one of them and she looked it up on this dream website.

The dream I told her was about me living in a house with Spencer's ex wife. (which is weird...WHY would I want to live with my boyfriend's ex wife?) I was giving my mom a tour around the house (Which is also weird, since my mom died in 1997) and I was complaining to my mom that I didn't understand why my boys had to share a room in this HUGE house when there were several unused spare bedrooms... plus Spencer's kids each had a bedroom and a playroom each. One of the rooms I took my mom into was Jessica's study that was lined with books. I did this to show her that there was lots of extra room in the house.

From this dream analysis site, Laura told me that every aspect is part of yourself in one way or another.
Having a conversation with your mother means you are working on understanding a conflict.
A mate's ex means you are trying not to make the same mistakes that ended their relationship.
A house means your soul and yourself.
A new house means you are identifying new strengths or positions on something.
A bedroom means that you have an aspect that you want to keep private.
A bookshelf means you need to gain knowledge before making a decision.
So...basically I have a conflict that I am trying to work through but I need more knowledge before making a decision.
Weird how our psyche works...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Nothing funny going on here

When you hear "Here titty. Here titty-titty. Titty you have milk in your brains. Titty power! Titties Titties you are in the water. My brain is not a super power. Weeeeeeee! Yeah, High five!" coming from the other room where my two boys play, please think nothing of it.

I can't help it that my boys have crazy wild imaginations...oh and the Titty part is just because Sam can't say the K sound. All innocent I tell you.

Now...when they get quiet, that's when you should worry.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You know what "Assume" means?

With the world at our fingertips and Facebook always open, I feel at a loss when I haven't had a chance to login and see what mundane things my family and friends have been up to.

I mean do I really NEED to know when my friend that lives 3 states over has to go change out her laundry? No...but it makes us feel connected. So I go visit "the town gossip" (i.e. - Facebook) daily.

It's funny though when we post a vague status what things people can come up with as to what is going on in our lives. Assumptions...have you ever heard the saying "You know what Assume means??... it means you are making an Ass out of U and Me."

Here was my Status yesterday ~"Dawn wishes she had the ability to blink her eyes and it all be done."
Here was Spencer's Status yesterday ~"I got to breathe....you can't take that from me"

You can make your own assumptions. LOL (*In fact, STOP READING NOW & POST your assumptions. I am always curious to know what ppl are thinking :) Also, don't read anyone else's guesses (yet) that would ruin all the fun :)






...but a friend of mine who is friends with both of us asked if something "serious" was going on between Spencer and I.
I literally laughed out loud when she explained "why".

You see, honestly, my status had to had to do with me getting ALL my packing done and my house cleaned before I left for Texas. (Sounds a little more mundane than what I posted right?)
and Spencer's status was the lyrics to a song he was listening to.
Neither status being "serious".

You know assume means???

Friday, July 10, 2009

Foggy Mirror

I think back to when I was a teenager... How I viewed myself and my life. That person is barely there...and in some instances that is a good thing...and in others it is not so great.

When I was younger, I was such a strong Christian. My faith back then could not be wavered by anyone! In Middle school and High school I loved that I was a Christian. I loved that I was surrounded by people that knew and loved the Lord. I guess I was so engulfed in it that I didn't realized how secular most of the world was.

This week I helped with VBS (Vacation Bible School). I was teaching third and fourth graders. Many of them did not know the stories of how Jesus' death came about. I was excited about sharing about God's love. But, somehow, my teaching these young ones was not what affected me this week. What affected me were the teenagers. Each group had a teenage helper. My helper, Logan, was one of those kids that didn't say much...but whenever I started to talk about the Bible stories, he found his voice. It amazed me how knowledgeable he was on ALL of these stories. He reminded me of facts that I once knew and had forgotten.

As the week went on, more of the teenagers came to sit by me and talk to me. Their enthusiasm for their Christian faith reminded me of someone I once knew...someone I hope to find again.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Something worth repeating??

Sam puked in McDonald's today.
He wasn't sick.
He was eating a french fry and drinking Gatorade at the same time.
He started to choke ~He has his dad's gag reflex.
I saw it coming.
I grabbed his Happy Meal sack to try to catch it.
I wasn't fast enough.
Blue liquid went EVERYWHERE!

That wasn't the worst of it.
The worst was when Sam kept repeating,
"Mom, I couldn't help that I puked. I puked all over. I have puke all over me and my clothes."

I swear my child said the word puke at least 50 times in the 60 seconds it took me to get him out of the restaurant.

gotta love the joys of parenthood!

Life is the first gift, Love is the second, and Understanding is the third" ~Marge Piercy

I understand now why my mother never remarried.

Dating is hard. Dating with children is even harder!

Not only do you have to be compatible with each other(which is hard enough), but then you have to be compatible with his kids and he has to be compatible with your kids. That's a BIG combination for potential disaster.

Even after you get through the "I like your kids, you like my kids" bit, then there are parenting styles. Ahhh... that will get you almost every time!

See, I'm around other people's children on a daily basis. I get that not every kid is going to react to every situation in the same way. I get that two kids from the same family can be night and day. I get it. I also get that I don't seek out the negative in kids....or in the parents that parent them. If I see where a suggestion needs to be given, I might offer it. But not very often.

This is where dating has become hard for me. I feel like I am an upstanding parent. That is one area my ex always praised me. So it is a hard pill to swallow when my parenting is the area that is currently being criticized~ a LOT!

I have currently started firing back. Noticing when his kids aren't being perfect (which kids never are) and calling them out. This is not who I normally am. It feels like tattling....and I hate tattletales!

But I also don't feel like I need to defend myself, my parenting style, or my children's actions on a daily basis.

...I understand why my mother never got remarried.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Fears

I have 2 main fears that affect me almost daily. I wouldn't go as far as saying they consume me and my every waking hour, but they are very much present.

Fear 1
Something terrible happening to my boys. This fear is greatest when I take them to a crowded place, whether it be a grocery store or a museum, or when I take them swimming. The thought of someone taking my child; them being scared and alone with a stranger wondering why the one person that should keep them safe is not OR them struggling in the water and me not being able to get to them grips me with tremendous anxiety.

Fear 2
Losing the love game again. I thought my first go around I had it right. I mean it lasted for a decade. But now, looking back, I see so many things that were wrong ~ they were wrong from the beginning. Unfortunately, hindsight is 20/20.
So, now, being in a new relationship any time I see a little problem, I want to run. I want to save myself from that hurt and heartache. I don't want to look back in another 10 years and think, "There were so many things wrong, wrong from the beginning..."