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Friday, June 24, 2016

A Shiny Summer Day

Happy Friday everyone!  I was very lucky to have the day off work, so I am sitting here on my bed drinking coffee and catching up on blogs and Pinterest and such.  This is what summer days off are meant for.


Dad left for a tour yesterday and Mom is still in Europe, so Taylor and I are holding down the fort, as they say.  We decided to walk down to the local Mexican restaurant last night, Amigo's, for a margarita and some sort of taco dish.  It was delicious.


On the way home we stopped by Walgreens to rent the so-called new Star Wars movie.  He and I have been planning to watch it extremely critically before writing our extended review.  We want facts like how many bad jokes there are, how many times it self-awarely makes fun of itself, how many references it makes to A New Hope, etc.  So, with notebooks in hand, we got through thirty-five minutes of it (which took an hour and a half!).  We'll try to do another thirty to an hour tonight, I imagine, although I do have to open in the morning, so we'll see.


I'm not sure what I'll do today.  I might do a little vacuuming around the house, followed up by some shopping.  I've been eyeing a box hair dye in a nice, purple-red color.  The salon dye jobs are just too expensive to get every few months, and I already have too many little grey hairs to go much longer than that.  Sad, I know.  Maybe I'll go get my annual summer pedicure!  Ahhh, the possibilities of a day off work.  Stay cool this weekend!


(photos by e.hunt)

Monday, June 20, 2016

And All the Summer Solitude

Two weeks ago today we were just getting on the road to head down to Innsbrook for our few-day lake adventure.  Mom and Debby decided that it didn't really make sense for them to stay that last night just to pack up and leave in the morning so they decided to come home Wednesday night as well.  And that meant we could all drive in one car!


After a stop at Starbucks we were on our merry way.  It didn't take too long to get there, maybe an hour or so, and once we got off the highway we were surrounded by lush and serene farmland.  We were hoping that our condo might be ready early but they had a strict, no-check-ins-before-three policy.  No worries, we just made our way to the pool!



It was beautifully sunny with barely any clouds, and we made it just in time for lunch.  It was a little busy and loud that first day, but after the long weekend crowd left, the pool was just lovely.  We packed up around four to go check in and check out our place.




The condo was perfect; lots of windows, beds for all, a patio deck, and a glorious view of the lake.  After everyone was showered and dressed, we went into town to pick up a few things we forgot and get something to eat.  Because it was the beginning of the week, the restaurant on the grounds was closed, and would be closing early the next couple days as well.

After watching Skyfall, the best Daniel Craig Bond movie, in my opinion, we were all pretty exhausted and went straight to bed.  Except for a giant crow pecking at the edge of the big skylight above my bed at 6am (that woke Debby up in the next room!), I slept fairly well.  We each had a leisurely cup of coffee or two in our pajamas out on the deck before suiting up for another day at the pool.



We scoped out the best spot the day before, complete with a table, chairs, an umbrella, and away from the kids section, so we wanted to get there right when they opened to claim it.




Another successful day of sun!  I was really good about re-applying sunscreen all day so I wouldn't get burned.  We all were, for the most part.  We stayed until the late afternoon then headed back to start the shower train, after having another beverage out on the deck.


That night we found this local Italian place to eat, which turned out to be really good.  We got some garlic bread to start, caesar salads to split, and different pasta dishes for the main meal.  Everything was delicious.



Back at the condo, we watched Empire of the Sun before going to bed.  It was a historical epic about a young British teen (Christian Bale) who is separated from his parents in Japan before being taken to an internment camp during WWII.  It was quite long, but very well-done - clearly a passion project for one of the people involved.  We went straight to bed after that; lounging in the sun all day is hard work!


The next morning was pretty much the same as the day before, with coffee on the deck then right to the pool.  We wanted to get as much sun as possible before leaving that evening.  It was another beautiful day.


Afterwards, I sat on the deck for a bit before my turn for the shower, and a big, majestic deer strolled by!  He came our of the brush on the left, ran through a big camp of geese, the turned and came up the hill before passing in between the two condo buildings.  And after that excitement, it was time to pack up and drive home.  As expected, it was a delightful few days of leisure, sun, and hanging out with the girls.



(photos by e.hunt, and r.hunt)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

It's More Fantastic Than Any Dream

Five years ago, right around now, my Mom, aunt Debby, and myself were traveling around Europe, with my roommate Kaitlin meeting up with us in Greece.  And right now, my Mom and other aunt, Jenny, are traveling around England.  She left this past weekend and since the wifi (wee-fee) is sparse in the little cottage they're staying at, tonight was the first time we got to talk to her on FaceTime.  They rented a Fiat 500 and are jetting around the English countryside, checking out the old towns and hanging out with British sheep.  Today they went to Oxford and saw the great hall where Harry Potter was filmed!




This weekend, they move on to Italy, where they are going to Florence, Cinque Terre, and Sicily.  I'm quite jealous, although I was just there over the holidays so I can't complain.  What's funny is that one of my celebrity idols who I follow on Instagram, Tara Lipinski, is on almost this exact trip right now. You may remember her from the 1998 Nagano Olympics where she beat Michelle Kwan in a nail-biting figure skating race.


Anyway, she and her fiancĂ© were just in Rome, then Positano, Italy, which Mom, Debby, and I went by bus to see for a day back on our trip.  Now they're in Taormina, Sicily, which was one of our collective favorites.  They're even traveling in the same order we did!  Ahhh, I just wish I had a summer trip planned, but, there's always next year!





(photos by r.hunt, and collected from taralipinski, and instagram.com/taralipinski)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lakelands

Off to the lake tomorrow!  Mom, Debby, and I will hit the road late morning to drive there and head straight out to the sun.  Due to a miscommunication way back when planning this, I only asked three days off work instead of four, so I will be driving separately and leave Wednesday night instead of Thursday mid-day.  Oh well, I'll still get two and a half days of sun!


I've recently taken advantage of some sales to get a new swimsuit!  Of course, I can mix and match both pieces with others in my repertoire.  We will be bringing snacks, the small Keurig for morning coffee, and the makings for multiple kinds of beverages.  It's going to be a lovely and relaxing few days out of town.  I'm bringing my computer, so I may do a post or two, but then again, I may not.  Ta ta for now, darlings!


(photos by e.hunt)

Friday, June 3, 2016

Movie Reviews of the Jane Austen Variety

A few weeks ago I watched Becoming Jane (2007) on Netflix, and was a bit disappointed.  I usually am a fan of period pieces, but this one was boring and predictable.  It stars Anne Hathaway (Devil Wears Prada and The Dark Night Rises) and James McAvoy (The newer X-Men movies and Atonement), both excellent for the period piece genre, but together they just couldn't hold my attention.  Jane Austen lives in a quaint country house with a quaint country family, and has dreams of finding deep, passionate love.  She also dreams of being an independent women who makes a living through her writing.



Those two things seem to contradict themselves, especially in the times that it is set.  Women pray that they are pretty enough to attract a well-endowed suitor to which they can be a good wife to and have servants to feed the pigs and do the wash, rather than be independent women and do it themselves.  Jane wants to gain life experience for her writing, but falling in love after a few flirty and suggestive conversations with the city boy with a reputation (McAvoy) doesn't seem to be the life experience she needs for inspiration.



Not much is known about Austen's personal life, and it is clear that they relied much on her novels to come up with the story for this movie about her love life.  But really, this just made me want to watch the superior Jane Austen film, Pride and Prejudice (2005).  Jane is a very interesting character, but it seemed that she tried so hard in this movie to be someone around other people that she just wasn't, whereas in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) is true to her convictions (and ideas about love) from the very beginning.  It also has a superior supporting cast featuring Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, and a host of young, to-be-famous-in-the-future women as the sisters.



I guess this is why her novels are so popular and revered (side note; I myself have never read one).  Through her imagination and writing, she was able to put herself into her characters and live life how she would have wanted.  If you're in the mood for a little old English verbal sparring, skip Becoming Jane in favor of Pride and Prejudice.  The production design is better, the characters are more intriguing, and the love interest is dreamier.  And aren't those the big things you want in a Jane Austen period piece?


(photos collected from frockflicks, images2.fanpop, upload.wikimedia, janeaustensworld, test.kino.ee, images4.fanpop, and images-cdn.moviepilot)

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Sights These Eyes Have Seen

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  I hope you all enjoy the days off work, the beautiful weather, perhaps a sale or two, and of course, think about our country's military.  One of my favorite movies, Troy, features a scenery-chewing King Agamemnon who spouts the line, "History remembers kings, not soldiers!"  I think he was wrong.  A lot of history has to do with wars. In fact, walk into any history class and they're most likely talking about events leading up to a war, the actual events of a war, or the after-effects of a war.  Countries have been built and maintained by the backs of soldiers, and we definitely have them to thank for our own country's beginnings, and continued prosperity.

I worked most of the long weekend, but not today!  I slept in and then went for a delightful mid-day walk, stopping at Starbucks for a little caffeination.  On said walk, I saw some lovely flora and fauna that looked perfect against this brick wall.


I also saw this little guy hanging out on one of the buildings downtown.


What a cool little dragon painting!  I wonder if the dragonfly was done at the same time as the slender dragon, or if it was added on later by someone else.  Either way, the dragon creature motif makes this brick wall much more interesting.


(photos by e.hunt)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

To Regulate Imagination With Reality

I'm starting to plan out my summer, trip-wise, and since we don't have a beach or other family vacation on the books, I've decided to take a few long weekends and finally go on some trips that I've wanted to for a while now.

In June, Mom and I are going to the lake for a few days before her big trip to Europe.  We have invited several family members to join us for a day or two, so it'll be quite fun and relaxing.  The intention was for Mom to get a little sun before leaving the country, and it'll be nice to spend some time together before she's gone for a month.


In July, I'm planning a little getaway down to Bentonville, Arkansas to see the Crystal Bridges Art Museum.  I've considered this trip many times before, in conjunction with trips down to Springfield, but it's never worked out.  This time, I'm booking a hotel for one night, will drive all the way there in the morning, check out the museum and the grounds during the afternoon, possibly meet up with a friend or two that live there, and stay the night.  The next day, I will drive back to Springfield and hang out with friends there for a night.


And in August, I'm hoping to fly down to Austin, Texas to spend a few days with my old college roommate, Kaitlin.  We were talking on the phone last week and she said that she finally has every other Saturday off work, and if she took off Friday, I could come down and she would show me all around Austin.  I've heard it's a cool city, and she and I are long overdue for an in-person reunion.  It's been four years!


So, that's the plan.  Now I just have to decide which weekends to go on these little trips, make sure I can take the time off of work, and then book rooms and flights.  Yay summer!

(photos collected from agreatertown, ewebetfarm, and by r.hunt)