I’ve spent July 4th in plenty of different places. One of my favorite memories is the summer of 2002. This sun lover was lying on the warm French riviera sand. I was shocked out of my college-aged daze when a blast of patriotic music roared through the street behind me. I’d been over there a month. I didn’t expect my patriotic songs! Could it be? It sure was with our beautiful red white and blue flag whipping in the wind. My right hand flew to connect with my heart. I felt so proud. So thankful these Americans or fans of our beautiful country put on a show for us.
This was another amazing fourth celebration weekend.
Matt and I loaded up the car drove across the state line into Northern Wisconsin. Living all the way up here in Minnesota has been a strong lesson that our country is vast and complex. We’re a long way from home, but on the 4th it didn’t matter that we’ll always call Georgia and Mississippi home, this is too is our home.
We are thrilled to have found our “home away from home” at Stout’s Island Lodge about two hours away from the cities. It’s only open from spring to fall because it’s on a small island in the middle of a lake. It feels wild there. The flora and fauna are unlike anything on main land. Bright color in every direction. The grass as green as could be. It was built in the early 1900’s by a family with a lumber fortune. Pictures show me it was just as magical then as it is now. Landscaping that looks like it just grew up looking wild, colorful and exotic. The rooms are decorated with period furniture with wood burning fireplaces. The lodge has looked just about the same since 1915, and smells like thousands of roaring fires it has hosted through the decades. Thank goodness at least some things can stay the same. Fingers crossed we can make one more visit before the season ends.
It’s the Friday after a full week of work following an amazing seven work day vacation.
Just by reading that, can’t you feel it? I know you can. It hurts. A little physical, but mostly mentally. Actually, I’ll go so far as to say emotionally. I love traveling. I’m better at nothing more.
As blessed as we all are who have jobs, especially ones we love – as I very much do, it is still hard to return to a day of constant concentration and routine when you’ve enjoyed the opposite. In fact, for me I first spent six days in San Fran and Wine Country for my bachelorette weekend. (I’m drinking a glass of the red I stashed in my bag right now) After that Matt and I flew down and celebrated our engagement with our friends and family in Griffin, Georgia. A fantastic party. What a dream week.
(Just look at my handsome fiance. I’m posting more about the party soon)
Monday instead of heading to a perfectly manicured eco-vinyard in lovely Sonoma I was on the train to work. It’s not the idea of work that was painful. I think it’s the lack of immediate inspiration. When you travel everything is new, different and thought provoking. Plus, in tourist destinations everything is perfectly attended to that one is constantly absorbing beauty.
Trying to put a positive twist on my attitude I tried to use my vacation glasses during my normal day. Within minutes I saw these flowers on my less than exotic walk to my corner gas station by the station for my tall-boy diet coke. The yellow and purple/pink flowers had taken over what could have been an ugly concrete expanse. I smiled. It had worked. The mind is a powerful tool.
Matt is marking his last few months as a single man with his friends in the North Carolina mountains. His favorite place. One of mine as well. I’m alone this weekend in the Twin Cities. Just saw My Morning Jacket is playing here tomorrow night. Ironic. I’ve had Steam Engine on the mind for the last month. Around 1:03 the guitar takes me come close to tears each time. I like to think if I was able to make music, I would want it to have the same haunting mix of beauty and energy. It’s something special.
I can’t believe that song came out in 2003. As good as the first time I heard it. Real music. His voice. I’ll be there. With the college kids. Invisible. Just how I like it.
Listening to it always reminds me of the last time I saw them. In Memphis. At Memphis in May. It was hot as hell right there on my favorite river. Had no idea I was standing next to people who would eventually not be strangers. What makes life fun.
It’s in my possession and it’s kinda scary! My wedding dress is hanging in my closet. In fact, our closet is so small that it’s taking up the entire space. Fitting for such an important garment.
I’m at work and I sure hope Matt doesn’t lose his cool and go look at it. I made him promise not to, but still I worry. He doesn’t seem to understand the idea of waiting until wedding day to see it. How did he not get that memo?
Can you tell I put extra layers of plastic garment bags over the actual dress bag? Matt and I walked in to pick it up and before he even knew which direction to look towards, I noticed you could slightly see through the top portion of the cloth bag. It gave it away!! Can you imagine. After all this work to keep it a surprise, the bag is essentially sheer. Hated to put plastic over it, but it saved the occasion.
While we were out picking up the dress we went through one of my favorite places in Minnesota. Stillwater is right on the St. Croix River and just outside the metro. It reminds me of home. A mixture of Mississippi, Arkansas, and North Carolina. It feels peaceful and wholesome. Turns out Matt feels the same way. We both enjoy living downtown, but sometimes you just want to be out of the city. Last time I was there the top layer of the river was frozen. This time you couldn’t go a minute without seeing a boat speed through the water. Id’ never seen a lift bridge like this before. I posted a picture below. The vertical lift was fascinating to watch, but can you imagine being one of the cars waiting on either side? It was a long wait, but at least the view was stunning. The winter was very cold here (no surprise) and now that the weather is warm and sunny, I almost feel manic. I want to be outside and doing something non-stop! Waiting for me at home right now are dozens of plants. Matt and I may live in an urban apartment, but with all the green I’m about to put on our porch in pots and hanging baskets, we’ll both feel right at home.
It’s been one of those simple tasks that shouldn’t be this hard!! I know you know what I’m talking about. It can be mind blowing.
I started a free (yes, nothing is ever free) wedding website through “The Knot”. I just needed a place that our wedding guests could visit to see information about the church and venue, places to stay and fun things to do while visiting the Mississippi Coast.
Clearly I’m mildly web capable. I have this blog. I know how to buy things on the web, no doubt. However, Matt and I have had problem after problem with The Knot. It’s been CRAZY. Store registries disappearing from the site and not allowing me to attach them back, getting locked out of the site, then not being able to get anyone on the phone. It’s not that it would just ring and ring and ring, but it would pick up with immediate sales messages, giving us a chance to win a honeymoon or something I didn’t want, and then you’d have to punch a number on the phone to speak to a representative, but it’s all so confusing, I spent 30 minutes trying to get through and never did! I don’t think it’s possible to reach a human on the other line. I seriously think their wedding websites are just a ploy to gather sales information through your registries added to the site and then sell it. That’s fine, but at least answer your phones and offer properly functioning website – then I gladly give you my information. I should have researched all of my options more.
Who has time to write real blogs when you are fighting with all this!
Get how I finally was able to get my website fixed – Facebook! I messaged the company. It took a couple of messages, but it went a lot faster than the phone and email. Social media is nuts. I wouldn’t use “The Knot” for your wedding website. Look for an updated blog eventually when I find a better company. I’m researching it. Will definitely be one of those “wish I’d known” lessons from the wedding planning experience. Oh well. It’s up and working now in enough time for our guests to get the information they need to make for a fun weekend.
First of all singer Katie Crutchfield is from Alabama. The name Waxahatchee is a tribute to her home state. (my state of birth) It’s apparently a river or lake there.
The song “Air” with her vocals and the constant drum beat pull out an emotion few songs have since the 90’s.
The delivery of the lines below is perfect.
“You were patiently giving me every answer as I roamed free”
“You were patiently giving me everything that I will ever need”
Whole Foods makes great food. It’s pricey, but tasty. No denying it. I wish it was terrible. There’s one just down the street from us and even though it almost makes my credit card spontaneously combust, we still walk there several times a week. Usually we go for ready-made food that we can easily take home and transfer to plates. You know, at least feel as if we played role in it.
Their cornbread, though. I’m sure it’s very good, but am I the only person who thinks it looks terrible and just weird? When was the last time your mom made cornbread that looked like this? It’s a Texas company!! Don’t get me started on the $4.39 per chunk of it.
On my way to the airport to pick up Matt, I realized it was going to be one of the more interesting days of my/our life.
I always thought our wedding day would create the feel of never being the same again, but instead I think the day he moved in will go down as the craziest!!! I remember telling my mom on the phone that I was a getting a house guest that was never going home. OMG. On the other hand, Matt was thinking, “I’m visiting my girlfriend….forever.”
He’s been here almost three weeks now. We’ve been long distance from the start, so starting and ending every day together now is just CRAZY! I know he feels the same. I can see it on his face. Most of all finally being together is fun. The simple and easy things are fun.
We’ve been busy making my apartment feel like ours, with Bridget’s help, of course. Those two are slowly making friends.
While I’m at work right now, he’s busy hanging framed pictures and planning out a big gallery wall on our main wall behind our couch. Have I mentioned we are living in a one-bedroom / 700 square feet apartment. The lack of personal space really is quite funny. Poor fellow can’t really get away from me, not that he wants to, but still, there are moments that he would prefer some quiet. Nope. Only when I’m at work or sleeping.
There is so much to share about these last three weeks where I’ve essentially been blank on my blog, but I prefer to leave them for us and our memories. Too much to tell. Though, from here I’ll start sharing some of the funnier moments of learning to live as a couple together in the same city. A city that really is new for the both of us. So much to explore!! We’ve only started checking everything out here.
I snapped this picture of Matt at the Walker Art Museum. Modern art makes for such good conversations. He, however, doesn’t love taking pics, so I have to get creative. As you see here.
Lots of love to my hard working fiance. Today was his last day of work before he moves up to join me in Minneapolis. I know he’s going to love it up here, as I do, but he has a great group of friends, colleagues and family down in Griffin, Georgia who he is going to miss terribly. Sending all my love down south to him. All of our Griffin friends have been incredibly supportive as he makes this GIANT life change. We will be down there often, no doubt. Those folks know how to party. Plus, it’s home, just has he’s adopted Mississippi for me.
That’s the ice covered Mississippi River behind us. I’ll will always think it’s just one of the most incredible sights and so foreign to someone who grew up down river. We are standing at Saint Anthony Falls. It’s the only waterfall on the Mississippi.
This morning I’ve been moving incredibly slow. My alarm went off no less than 11 times. It started to get on my nerves which is the only reason I finally got out of bed. I’m working the night shift tonight, so I’m really in no hurry.
Still in a nice fog, I started singing in the shower. Nothing loud. Maybe not even out loud. When I realized what I was singing, I couldn’t believe it. Where did it come from? How did it get in my head? Had I been dreaming about 1995, when I was 12. Regardless, it was good. It was good in 1995. It’s good today. I immediately told Matt because he’s one of the only people who seems to be transported back in time by these mid 90’s songs like I am. Then I turned it on. The joy of the passing of 20 years is that Amazon Prime has it free now for Prime Users. Wow – talk about freaky time warp, considering I would have listened to this song over and over back then by recording it off the radio on a tape. Remember the rush to hit record after you had been waiting hours for it to play? That’s the first way I could listen to The Cure’s Mint Car. I recorded it off the radio, 97.9 WCPR to be exact, but because I hit record a second too early I caught the DJ give Mint Car a dramatic introduction. Now I listen to the song and in my head say Mint Car the same way he did that day. It happens every time. It’s beautiful.
Back to the shower. I was in a mild funk when I woke up. For no reason other than the fact that I never like waking up. I think my sleep is deeper than for others. It has to be. I never want to leave it. The song has turned me around 100 percent. I’m still in a slight haze, but it’s a good place in my mind. It’s full of creative angst.
Disclosure: I never listen to the words just the jazzy/electro mix. They might be considered “not for a younger audience”, though no one was too concerned when I was turning it up at 12. Still, I do not endorse the words/message. I’m usually the first to cry out against songs with violent undertones, but this has more of a historical context as in the listening habits of children from the 90’s.
Can you believe this crowd!
I’ve always considered myself a Mardi Gras veteran. No, not Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It’s a legit part of growing up down there. Going to a parade in every town and getting two days out of school to celebrate the annual party was AWESOME. There are so many memories: having play parades in school. We were fully dressed up as floats using elaborately decorated cardboard boxes while throwing beads to each other from the school auditorium stage, then getting down to Mardi Gras music, and eating cream cheese filled king cake that left your teeth stained from the purple and green granulated sugar. Of course, this was back when they actually put the plastic baby in the cake before baking, but I digress.
Even with it being such a big part of our lives, my parents still never let me go to big kid Mardi Gras an hour away in New Orleans. I’ll admit, for good reason. It’s crazy. Just the crowd of people, beads going in every direction and abundance of florescent colored adult beverages. The New Orleans festivities make the Pass Christian, MS parade, which I always found a little scandalous, seem like a kids ride in Disney World.
My best friend lives in New Orleans now, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to be in the Big Easy for Fat Tuesday. This year my parents couldn’t tell me no! Though, they haven’t talked to me about my trip yet. Passive aggressive disappointment in their grown daughter. We’ll just have to disagree on this one. I don’t plan to ever miss another Mardi Gras week in New Orleans. Funny, I lived so close to NOLA for years and only made it down once I moved all the way up to Minnesota. Maybe it’s just what I needed up here! It is kind of cold right now. It’s cold in the south, too, but not at all like this.
Watching those parades not only took me back to my childhood of fighting for every bead, cup or random made-in-China throw, but also, I have to say, the whole trip felt strangely right. I now realize it’s my cultural obligation to respect and support the tradition started by our gulf coast region ancestors from long ago. I need Mardi Gras in my life. I’m a very responsible, organized, hard working person, but the amount of chaos going on around us actually felt good. Even without my frozen drinks, I felt euphoric watching the little kids making memories, families enjoying the sights and sounds together and the true magic that Mardi Gras is and always has been from its start in Mobile, across the Mississippi Coast and through the bead pummeled streets of New Orleans.
I’ll see the rest of you revelers again February 9th, 2016.
Mardi Gras street funk – Balancing on roots during parades