Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Catch up: January and February 2009 in review

Oh hello! I suppose it's time for an update, my lieblings!

Christmas came and went. My dad came to town, just like last year, and in true movie business fashion, I had to work all through the holiday break. At 6 AM.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to work in the entertainment industry. It is the devil.

Luckily, my brother kept my dad entertained, and I was home early enough every day to catch a nap, and be with my peeps.

My favorite present this year was the entire week I had off the Monday after Christmas. Oh em gee, it was great.

I developed this entire curriculum for each day, as I was going to be totally alone with myself. Just how I likes it. I'll spare you the nerdy details, but it went something like this: 1 hour guitar, Unit 2; 1 hour practice repretoire; 1 hour composition. Etcetera.

On the first Monday, however, I was quite excitable after indulging in three glorious cups of coffee in my PJ's, that I ignored my first day of extreme musickin' and cleaned the garage for five hours. Five hours, my friends. That bitch was dirty.

How dirty you ask? So dirty that I had black boogars all afternoon. You really wanted to know that.

The rest of the week was spent adhering to my strict schedule, with the exception of New Year's Day, which I spent massively hungover. Surely I'm the only person in the Western Hemisphere who was hungover.

This was a sign that the year 2009 was starting on a bad foot, as I spent the whole of January pretty much scowling at this or that. And that's putting it lightly.

But February has rocked. I've started working out again, work is tolerable, Matt's health is back to normal, and I have to say the best part so far of this year has been my super gnarly, super SECRET trip I planned for Valentine's Day.

Let me explain.

Matt is an anxious traveler. I'm sure he won't like that I'm imparting this bit of information to the entire Internets, but he gets a bit nervous about plans in general -- plans that don't involve sitting on his favorite chair watching a movie. I'd been wanting to go on a mini trip for a while now, so one night I asked him if we were to plan a trip, can I do all the planning? Yes, yes, do what you want, he said.

So, I thought I'd take advantage of Valentine's Day being on a weekend, and his company's awesome "Relationship Day" policy (office closes the work days before and after Valentine's Day). I decided on a bed-and-breakfast kind of place, seeing how our apartment feels kind of crowded these days, and idea of getting away sounded heavenly. No knock on the room mate or his girlfriend, but I just craved alone time with my dude. So I did some online research.

My criteria was to go somewhere within driving distance from Dallas and to be somewhere hilly. The Texas Hill Country, although very beautiful, was out of the question since we know that area too well, and went to school there, etc.

A friend suggested the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas/Oklahoma. I narrowed my search, and found this delightful cottage, appropriately called The Nest to spend our weekend away.

All I told Matt was that we were going out of town for two nights, and that we were going somewhere we've never been. I printed 10,000 maps, and put together a check list of what to bring. I was quite proud of myself for having been such a good little planner. Like a big girl. The entire trip up there, I drove, of course, with my trusty folder on my lap, alternately referring to it and reveling in the scenery, which got only more beautiful as we neared our destination.

Finally, we were about 15 miles from Mena, Arkansas, and I needed his help. The jig was up. I mistakenly printed the wrong map to the cottage, and for a minute I thought I was swindled, but alas, it was my mistake. Took this gravel county road, took that one, took another one and finally we arrived at this quaint little jewel of a place in which we spent an all-to-short weekend playing house in someone else's house.

Another faux pas on my part: I did not anticipate this town to be dry. Um, what? Matt thinks it's very funny that he had to explain to me what a "dry county" was. Well, there are different definitions! In this case, there was no beer, wine, or liquor within a 50-mile (give or take) radius of where we were, unlike some parts of Texas, where there's only beer and wine.


As you cannot celebrate V-day without champagne, we made the one-hour trek on Saturday afternoon to Heavener, Oklahoma for some hooch. Since we were planning on taking a scenic drive anyway, we figured it was better with a purpose.

It was indeed a nice drive. The way back was even nicer, since we took the Talimena Scenic Byway, and made a few pit stops to take in some dang nature.

Mission accomplished.
The best part of the trip was just reconnecting with my lovely man, as is the purpose of Valentine's Day, don't you think? This trip was great because it really felt like "the simple life," if you will -- just cooking, talking, sitting around, listening to music. It was a little bit too cold for our South Texas sensibilities for a hike, but I assure you that we will do some exploring by foot next time. And there will be a next time.
Other highlights include watching movies in the cozy den, the random country dog that showed up on our doorstep and accompanied me across the street while I retreived cigarettes from the car, taking pictures of the house, and everything around us.
Some more photos for your viewing pleasure: