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When we arrived in Fayetteville, we beelined straight to lunch at Hammontree's Grilled Cheese. K. had briefly mentioned the restaurant to me, and I couldn't think of anything I'd like more than a restaurant with every combination of grilled cheese known to man. It was a beautiful day so we sat on the porch and shared a beer. I'd been momentarily horrified when I asked for sweet tea, and they told me they didn't serve it. Look, I get that northerners don't understand our southern dedication to tea with so much sugar it could double as hummingbird feed, but it's table wine here. I literally recoiled when the waiter told me they didn't serve sweet tea. "You're in Arkansas, man," I countered. It wasn't five minutes before I overheard another table have a similar conversation. I wonder how many times a day those poor waiters have to listen to that. It'd probably be easier to just suck it up and serve the sugar coma inducing syrup and get over it. I definitely deducted stars from their review on that, but then, the sandwiches were amazing. I had the Brie's Company which was grilled apple, Brie, Gouda, caramelized onions, and fig jam on sourdough. I love cheese, but I could probably be just as happy with caramelized onions and fig jam in all honesty.

Next, we held hands and walked through the alley to my favorite bookstore in the world,
Dickson St. Bookshop. The store is so cram packed that you have to let one person walk down an aisle at a time. It took me forever the first time I visited to find the fiction/literature section. It's just has books to the ceiling and random things taped to the walls, and it's heavenly. I'm so heartbroken that the pictures I took inside somehow were accidentally deleted because it's gorgeous if you're a bibliophile. Also, they specialize in rare and out of print books. One of my favorite authors is Colette, and she's hard to find in regular bookshops. The first time I went there, I had a religious experience when I found about six of her books I didn't own. This time, I actually put back a book of movie reviews and two screenplays by her! That's how good the other loot I found was. If you're interested, I bought Attilio Bertolucci's Selected Poems (Yes, Bernardo Bertolucci's Dad). I usually hate poetry, but I adore his stuff. Bernardo Bertolucci is an incredible writer too if you ever find any of his poetry. I also purchased: Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel, Djuana Barnes' Interviews, Elizabeth Bowen's Last September , Disraeli in Love by Maurice Edelman, La Bâtarde by Violette Leduc, Jean Cocteau's Round the World Again in 80 Days, The George Sand-Gustave Flaubert Letters, The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver, and The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani. I've read The Yonahlossee book before, and I liked it enough to add to my collection. I think I've read The Bean Trees too, but I couldn't remember. I know that I've loved several of Kingsolver's books that I read when I was in high school. I presented myself with books stacked in my arms right up to under my chin to K., and he was still sitting sifting through shelves and shelves of books on Arkansas history. By now, I think he could teach a class himself, and he must own all of them. It amused me when he told me that he most enjoys seeing books he owns on the shelves. He rarely buys anything there, but he likes to browse through them. I think that's fortunate for our wallets because I'll spend a ton of our money in there. I spent 56 bucks that time, but I got all of those books plus a postcard I found interesting. It's a great thing they're so reasonably priced. You couldn't even get half of those on Amazon for that price. Plus, it's supporting a magical bookstore. I miss bookstores. Stupid effing Kindle. I admonished K. to hurry up, but he continued singing Lucinda Williams, which was playing softly, and patted me on the cheek. I'm an impatient sort, but fortunately, he ignores me most of the time. He promised to never leave as long as they played Lucinda.

Then, were off to hunt through a
410 Vintage, a great local vintage shop in Fayetteville. Some of my photos from here disappeared, too. I guess I just deleted most from that day for some reason. I can't find them in my recently deleted file either so that's a bummer. I managed to only walk away with three French postcards which I will post a photo of later because A. I don't know what they say in French because I took Spanish, and B. I just think they're gorgeous and kinda funny, too.

 

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I found this photo I took inside 410 Vintage


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This monkey caught my eye, but then I was completely head over heels for the shell collection/diorama below him! See blown up photo of the shell shelf
here.

 
Finally, we were off to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. We are so fortunate to have this museum in Arkansas. It's free, and they've got an incredible collection. Kelly and I have been before, and we didn't have a ton of time so we just wanted to hit up some of their new pieces. First, on the list was their recently acquired Frank Lloyd Wright house--the Bachman-Wilson House. It's also free to tour, but you have to get tickets to go through. I really enjoyed it. They have a little self guided tour, and you can't go to the 2nd floor but you can view photos of it online. It's not sturdy enough to have people tromping up and down on the stairs all day.

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Behind the Bachman-Wilson House. I would've taken a photo of the front, but the way the sun was hitting, you couldn't see shit.

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Crystal Bridges itself is beautiful. The architect was Moshe Safdie. I should've taken more photos of the outside of the museum, but Google it. It's stunning.


As you can see in the photo above, the museum also acquired the Louise Bourgeois sculpture Maman. I was so excited to see . I always found her her spider sculptures to be so beautiful and just truly marveled at their construction. I became even more enamored when I read about how she associated spiders with her mother--clever, helpful (eating mosquitoes), and protective. Plus, the artist was 88 when she created the sculpture. I adored it. I loved hiding beneath her and taking photos from different angels. I even liked capturing Maman in a reflection with a "twin" spider.

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Twin Mamans


On the way to the museum coffee shop, one of the docents stopped me and whispered in a beautifully accented voice, "Did you know your glasses make you an artist?" K. and I both remembered chatting with him the last time we visited the museum, and it was nice to meet up with him again. He likes to chat with guests about pieces throughout the museum, and he's warm and funny. He strives to make art accessible to the hundreds that walk through Crystal Bridges every day.

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Karen LaMonte's Dress Impression with Wrinkled Cowl as the sun goes down

Kelly is always teaching me something, and for once, I relished getting to tell him about Keith Haring and the Eames chair while I sipped a Lavender Limeade, and we waited for it to get dark to view Leo Villareal's Buckyball. Buckyball has these comfortable wooden seats for two that are in the shape of a reclining body and allow you to look up comfortably. While we settled in and watched the lights begin to change as the sun went down, people jogged by and talked about the light sculpture and other people joined us in gazing up in chairs. You can see it from the road as you drive by, but it's much more special to take the time to gaze up and watch it cycle through several different colors while tucked in next to someone you love.



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Kelly in front of Buckyball

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K. heading back to our car in the fading light 
 
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Gas Station Roses


I took notes from our trip so I could tell you about it.  I typed them out on my phone along the way, and they make no sense to anyone but me. I've done this before on trips, and then forgot about the notes.  Then I've went back later and reread them.  Some things I recognize right away and others confuse me.  I had good intentions to start telling you about the trip yesterday and to do things around the house, but instead, I drank two beers and listened to music and worked on recreating my "Night Music" playlist that I accidentally deleted.  I laughed and kissed my husband, and I yelled at our bad dog.  I love her in spite of her being so terrible.  She's not been raised properly, and pugs are number 4 on the list of the top ten naughtiest dogs Kelly tells me.  

Oh, but first on Valentine's Day we went to Thai Taste for dinner with our gift certificate Kelly had managed to save from my weekly prying.  There was nobody there, and it was nice to have the whole restaurant to ourselves.  I had Thai Iced Tea and Tom Kha Soup with veggies and tofu.  I never want any meat.  For dessert, I scalded my tongue on the Tapioca Pudding with Coconut Milk.  I just slurped it down because I'd had it before at other restaurants, and it was usually lukewarm.  Anyway, I overheard our waitress chatting with a customer waiting for a pick up order at the front, and I briefly understood life coaches.  She said that she'd come to the restaurant when it first opened and that she liked the food so much she ate there for three days straight, begging for a job each day.  She told the customer that she loved the food, and she just worked there because of her love of Thai food.  She said she was a Christian, and she looked at it as another form of service.  She really enjoyed getting to know the different people who eat Thai food, and that "even if it was a bad day at work, most people view Thai food as a comfort.  Plus, when she was having a bad day, it wasn't like someone would die like at the ER."  She told him she believed in carrying this into any job she worked in, and she was really happy working at Thai Taste.  I told Kelly I wanted to hire her so she could teach me how to live my life.  She sounded so happy as if money just took care of itself and that it was better to be satisfied with what you are doing every day.  I'm not currently into what I do everyday, but at 35, I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up.  I'm most passionate about books and coffee, and I think I'd love to work in one of those fields but I'm terrified about having no money and no health insurance.  I don't know, though.  She almost convinced me to ask for a job there.  I admire people who just know, without  a doubt, what they want out of life.  I've never been that sort.  People with decisive walks make me swoon because I've always been a meandering sort.  

After the trauma of dropping off the dog at the vet to be boarded, Kelly and I hit the road on Friday morning to head to the Northwest Arkansas.  It was a nice and sunny drive, and I drank lots of iced coffee on the way. We split different flavored "beef sticks" which I got a kick out of calling them in a pervy way.  Being overly caffeinated made me leer at him, and say, "Gimme some of that beef stick," and then I would laugh wildly because I'm rarely mature when it's just the two of us.  That's the fun of married life for me--being a complete bizarro day in and day out with the one you love.  Anyway, there was a pork and ostrich beef stick, and I screeched, "Who in the hell would think would think of putting pork and ostrich together?"  Seriously, it's obscene. When I ate it, it just tasted like the spices and like every other beef stick in the package.  Just the idea of pork and poultry mixed up weirded me out, I guess.  

We finally stopped at a gas station after several hours in the car and did the stiff walk like zombies.  They had all their Easter candy out already, and I bought two of the Reese's White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup King Sized eggs.  The eggs are the best because I hate the crinkly edges on peanut butter cups.  When I was younger, I told Mom once before I properly though it out, "Ahhh, the reason for the season," while clutching a Cadbury Creme Egg.  She almost slapped my face, but then I thought about it and realized what I was saying.  The man in front of Kelly and I at the gas station joked with the employees.  He was a regular, and he scolded them by name when couldn't remember what brand of cigarettes he liked.  He gave them three chances to get it right, and finally, one did.  When we were walking across the parking lot, I heard the intercom, "Customer #47, your shower is now ready." 

I will tell you more about our trip soon and show you photos.  It's a day by day retelling because we saw so much.  In other news, we've decided to drive instead of fly to New Mexico.  I'm okay with that because while I hate the drive through Oklahoma, I do love driving across that barren part of Texas.  There's this one part where they warn you by sign about 20 times to get gas before entering no man's land.  Last time when we drove through, we stopped at the gas station everyone stops at, and I checked in on Facebook out of boredom, and someone had labeled it as "Gas Station in the Middle of Nowhere."  That made me laugh, but that's really what it is.  I can't remember if the scrub brush barren zone was actually in Texas or New Mexico.  It rides that border so maybe it's in both.  

Kelly stopped by our office today, and I called him "Baby" in the workplace. It slipped out fast as a mouse before I could catch it.  One of the students leaned around the column to see who was with me. 


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I had lunch out with my dear friend Natalie and my Mama today. Nat said she thought I was feeling sassy, and I was because it's my Friday today. I don't work again until next Wednesday because Kelly and I are going on a little weekend trip for his birthday/Valentine's Day. I kicked up little tantrums here and there until I sat, back to the wall, in the center of the rounded corner booth and surveyed the entire restaurant like a queen and ate Loaded Baked Potato Soup and was finally satisfied. I'm only friends with people who will humor and spoil me, and my promise is to provide entertainment with my neuroses and flair for the dramatic in return. Nat's so nice she'll make you defensive as hell about her. She's humble even though she's incredibly talented and it's admirable, and half the time I spend wishing I were more like her. The other half the time, I think about beating to a pulp anyone who has crossed her. After lunch, Mama kidnapped her pug-grandchild and Facetimed me at the office. I answered from the front desk. Everyone in the office could probably hear the conversation, but I was feeling free and didn't care. "Look who I've got," she said, and I could see Mearl happily between Mom and Dad on the couch. She's probably getting fed so much she won't eat dinner, but that's what pug grandparents are for. We're those people. We don't have kids, and my parents were always like, "Don't have them. We don't care about grandkids." Thank God.

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Mearl-Purvis Ponder with My Mom Getting Spoiled.  She's a lady even though everyone thinks she's a boy because of her blue collar.

 
Today, a student walking by said: "You are so pretty," and I batted my eyes and lit up like a Christmas tree. Later, two other girls came in giggling and said, "We're looking at boobs." "Enjoy," I responded. I know they're adult women, but when you're 35, and they're 21, in my mind, they're girls. They have been listening to 80s music in their office and dancing. Everyone is a bit lighter because of the sunshine and almost crawling into Friday. They have been plying me with sugary coffee drinks and bossing me about what shows to watch on Netflix. They're right though, The OA
is great! They're obsessed recently with the OJ trial and Monica Lewinsky because they were wee when that was going on, and I enjoy being the expert.

This morning, K. and I deflated the air mattress because our new bed has arrived! As we rolled this way and that, pushing the air out with our weight, I confessed, "I had a sex dream with Todd Clever last night. That's what happens when you make me watch rugby before bed." Fortunately, K.'s not a stupid, jealous sort and knows he has nothing to worry about ever. He's mine for life, and besides, Todd was in a nudie shoot in ESPN magazine and his name is "TODD CLEVER", and who cares about a Viking beefcake? In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have said anything, but I'm always tell all. He's so muscly and beautiful that he's not even real. His middle name is Stanger. I give K. permission to look at boobs at a Hooters if he'd like in exchange and repentance for my dream dalliance.
Todd Clever
Photo from
here

On the agenda for our upcoming trip--Frank Lloyd Wright house, Giant Spider, maybe the 410 Vintage Market, flock of bluebirds of happiness, grilled cheese restaurant, heavenly used rare bookstore, and ancient ruins, an old brothel and a yurt.  Details when we return, I promise.  It'll be early next week before you hear from me.  

I read about a morning wedding on an old Livejournal recently, and I think that sounds so perfect now! Maybe I'll take Kelly up on renewing our vows someday, and we'll have a morning wedding and then eat beignets and have black coffee. I love the clean slate of morning. I've always been a morning person. I love the promise of the day. I can't think of anything more romantic than promising your eternal love and waffles.
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Wednesday on the ride home, I scramble quickly for my phone to capture him. He is mid laugh with the sun setting, his beard on fire, the copper red coming out that I adore. My Abe, his elegant fingers cradling his head.  He is the fruition of my mother's prayer.  He is everything I didn't know I needed.  I tell friends I have never ever seen him angry, and they think I'm joking or exaggerating.  It's true, though.  Not once since I met him.  He presents the gift to me, and I am all bravado as always.  "What's this," I sneer skeptically?  He has checked out a book for me from the library--Danielle Dutton's Margaret the First:  A Novel.  It is the perfect selection for me--heavy on whimsy with a thick froth of decadence. I've lost count of all the kind ways he shows his love to me, but this one is one of my favorites.  He said he'd read several reviews during his incessant periodical combing, and he thought of me.  A book, no less!  He whips up mashed potatoes for me for dinner because he knows they're my favorite.  Sometimes, he runs to the grocer, and his talent for always picking perfectly ripe avocados is frustrating but rewarding when a dinner of chips and guac is served.  We are spending the night with our animals babies in the new house for the first night.  We have a lot of unpacking to do, and we will for the next few weeks probably.  He promised to celebrate with Thai food soon.  



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Our three kitties lazing about: The black and white is Dimitri, the gray one leaning on him is Francis, and the one farthest from those two is Nickel

The Christmas break is over, and it was wonderful. It ended too soon, as usual. Mine was a mix of giving over to the depths of laziness and also packing and starting the move to our new house. The new house is just four houses down from our current house.  That can be both convenient or insulting depending on my mood and how heavy the boxes are that day. Besides the moving, I've been enjoying the gloomy, wet weather quite a bit.  Every morning when I go to take out Mearl, the stubborn pug, it feels as if I'm suddenly on some Welsh coast.  Trudging through piles of wet leaves with my ankles out.  The air is so damp, I look to make sure I didn't step in water.  I like to commiserate with people on nasty weather because, for an introvert like me, it's an easy way to not have to think of some mind numbing small talk everyone seems interested in exchanging. I must admit, however, it's all a blatant lie.  I love the rainy, wild days in the winter. I love avoiding puddles, and I love the sting of the wind. It makes me feel alive.  In summer, it's just awful and humid, but rain in winter is a dream,I confess!  We did the usual and made some trips to visit family over the break which we enjoyed. I gorged myself on literature, olives, and blue cheese.  I ate an ungodly amount of blue cheese.  When I talked to the pusher behind the cheese counter, I insisted, "I want some funky blue cheese.  I mean funky."  She raised an eyebrow, "You want something that kicks you in the teeth?"  "Perfect," I said.  I don't think it's healthy to eat an entire block of it no matter how much you're enjoying the creamy melt in your mouth texture and wrapping your tongue around the chunks of blue mold while reading.  That didn't stop me, but the dog wouldn't leave my side.  Every time she neared me, I'd see her little nose quiver wildly, and she looked eager to find the source of the putrid smell. I once went with my Mom to a wine tasting, and I was much more impressed with the cheese.  These Southern society wives kept droning on and on about the wine, and all I wanted to know was where the hell the cheese came from.  

In other expensive habits I have, I purchased three new samples from my favorite perfume site Luckyscent. I ordered Note Vanillee, Salome, and Confetto.  A lot of people said in the reviews of Confetto that it was really similar to Hypnotic Poison which is  my signature scent so I'm sure I'll like that one.  I hope I don't like them too much because the full size bottles cost a shit ton.  

Kelly won at gifts as he does on every occasion.  One gift from him I've been enjoying lately is our new subscription to FilmStruck.  I was heartbroken when The Criterion Collection moved off Hulu so of course, we had to pick this up.  He also booked a stay for us in February at Stonewind Retreat to stay in a yurt.  There's heat and wifi and an indoor bathroom so I can go.  I still have my fear of bears, and the deep dark secret wish that they would all become extinct, at least in the United States. I've never come across a bear in the wild, but I've had millions of nightmares involving them since I was young, and I try not to go anywhere where there is a potential to run into one hence the reason that I don't go hiking (one of many).  

Last night, I took myself back to childhood.  There was a pot of leftover rice on the stove, so I reheated it and added milk, butter, and a teeny bit of splenda, teeny bit of honey, and tons of cinnamon.  My Mom used to make this for me when I was little.  I basically find it to be a kheer knockoff, but it's still yummy and was as good as when I was a kid.  Not as good as kheer, mind you, but it'll do.  

I had a wonderful lunch with my Goldilocks friend today.  She is always a wonderful listener, a light to everyone, a curly haired perpetual sunshine.  It was so good to catch up with her.  We laughed a lot, as always.  There is never enough time to get everything out in a lunch break, though.  We'll have to meet up again soon.  One of my intentions this year is to try to be a better friend.  I have been blessed with friends who have the patience of saints and have never given up on me when I'm down in a hole.  The problem is, I'm always in the hole.  I owe them more.  They deserve better.  I am going to try.  I love them, but actions speak louder than words so I hope to do better this year.  I'm sorry for the many times I let everyone down in the last year.  It probably won't be the last time, but I strive to make it not as common in 2017.  

I'm really happy to be over here now.  For some reason my blog always made me feel like I  had to be more formal, and like I couldn't just ramble like in the old Livejournal days.  I have rambled my way through this, and it feels wonderfully familiar and comforting.  I hope you all will feel free to comment, and if you have an account on here and you stumble across this journal, please feel free to add me.  I look forward to making new online friends, too!   

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