Friday, June 10, 2016

Two-fer The Price Of One Thankfuls

This week's Ten Things of Thankful is a two-fer, since I didn't get one written last weekend. Go take a bathroom break before you start this; it's going go long....

1. My jug of miracle milk finally gave out, but boy, oh boy, it was a good run! I bought this gallon of skim milk from Aldi in early April when the College Boy a/k/a the Milk Drinker, was home. He drank less than half of it before going back to school, and then it stayed fresh until AFTER Memorial Day weekend. True story! Every time I needed milk for a recipe, I'd get it out, completely convinced that it would be sour, and it wasn't even a little bit blinky!

2. After our week of going to the lake house, to Columbia, and back to the lake house, my daughter and I came home and repacked our bags for Nashville. 

3. I had my yearly post-op follow up in Springfield with my surgeon, a/k/a Dr. Dorian Grey, and everything was fine. I mentioned I sometimes have pain near my left arm pit, and he said it was only due to the removal of the lymph nodes there. I was an eensy bit worried before I asked him, but now I'm not, so yay!

4. Emma and I were the last folks to leave the lake house, staying an extra day to clean and put everything into order. After we got home, I realized I had no independent recollection of locking the back door onto the deck. Emma was the one who closed the door, and SHE didn't have any independent recollection of locking it, either, so she and I swung by there after the doctor's appointment and before hitting the road to Nashville (not exactly on the way, but I couldn't NOT check). Good news - door was locked! 

5. This little detour to the lake house gave me an opportunity to pick up the big ol' jugs of Metamucil and Miralax that are a very expensive necessity when one has to take major doses of calcium to counteract the side effects of aromatase inhibitor therapy for breast cancer and that I left on the kitchen counter.

6. It rained on us, off and on, the entire way to Nashville, but there was no severe weather, and it never rained so hard that it was scary.

7. Emma talked non stop for half the trip, as in for 4+ hours, and I loved every minute of it.

8. We got to see a crop duster as we drove across the soy bean and rice fields in southeast Missouri. I'd never seen one before, and while we were pretty sure it was going to crash into (a) the field or (b) the highway, it was awesome to watch it.

9. We stopped in Cairo, Illinois, so I could show Emma a place on the levy along the Ohio River where you could look over and see tug boats pulled up to shore that I found on my last trip to Nashville in January. I couldn't find that exact spot, but I did find one that was even better; it was a cut-through with a road and a boat ramp and everything. I was way too skeered to drive down there (recurring nightmare about boat ramps), but we parked and walked through and looked at the Ohio River at its absolute widest point, right before the confluence with the Mississippi (more on that later). Emma wasn't particularly excited about it ("If you're so scared of crossing over it on a bridge, why do you like to look at it so much?"), but I thought it was totes cool, and the answer is BECAUSE I'M NOT IN IMMINENT DANGER OF FLYING OFF THE BRIDGE OR HAVING IT COLLAPSE BENEATH MY CAR AND AM SAFELY WATCHING THE WATER FROM THE SHORE.

I could not, for any amount of money, drive down this road.

10. We spent our time in Nashville eating, talking and being very, very lazy. It was perfect!

We suck at taking selfies of ourselves,
so Emma and Mackenzie amused themselves
by taking pictures of us taking pictures
of ourselves.

11. My Person, Terri, has a knack for getting free stuff. She and her daughter had two tickets to go see a production of West Side Story at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Saturday afternoon that they already had when we planned the trip. Then Terri found out she could get two FREE tickets to the performance as well, so we were all able to go. Well done, Studio Tenn! We were in tears when it ended.

Inside the lobby of the Schermerhorn.

12. When we picked up the free tickets at will call, we were given an upgrade to the third row, left side (Emma and Terri's daughter Mackenzie had the paid seats that were in the fifth row center).

13. Before we went to the play, we had brunch at Terri's son's restaurant, Party Fowl (if you're ever in Nashville, go there for Nashville hot chicken). I had the apple stuffed cinnamon brioche french toast (dipped in orange custard before frying) with hot chicken on the side (because food rules don't allow for it to touch the french toast). Sigh.


14. Emma and I shopped at our favorite thrift store, Music City Thrift. I scored Hawaiian shirts for the College Boy and Emma scored some Southern Shirts for next to nothing.

15. We ate at my very very very very VERY favorite place, San Antonio Taco Company, TWICE (another must visit if you're ever in Nashville).

Chicken soft tacos and queso and chips.
My tummy is in lurrrrrve.

16. I made the mistake of driving Emma around the campus of Belmont University, and now she's in love and thinks she will die if she doesn't get to go there (with tuition, room and board and books running about $42,000 PER YEAR, she may as well start planning her funeral now, because it isn't going to happen). 

I took this from the top of a parking garage.

17. Although neither one of us wanted to leave, we finally had to, so to make the trip a little less depressing, we made a couple of stops along the way. The first one was at Fort Defiance park, which is where the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers is (I SAID there'd be more about that). I have tried to see it for years, ever since I learned about it from Christine, but it's either been under water or damaged because of flood waters. Finally, FINALLY, it was open! AND IT WAS AWESOME, although I have to tell you the Mississippi River smelled like raw sewage, while the Ohio was pretty and blue and odor-free.

See the blue water on the left? The Ohio River.
See the dirty brown water on the right?
The Mississippi River.

18. We met this man while at the confluence. He told us he had been kayaking on the Mississippi, headed to the Gulf of Mexico, but the water was so rough that it caused him to capsize, and he had decided to abort the trip. He was spreading his stuff out to dry and waiting for his son to come from Cincinnati to pick him up. This thankful is for him that he didn't drown, because he certainly could have. AND THAT'S WHY I DON'T WANT TO BE ON THE WATER OR OVER THE WATER OR UNDER THE WATER. Next to is just fine, thankyouverymuch.

This is either a very brave or very stupid man.

19. We made another stop at Big Spring State Park in Van Buren, Missouri. It's a few miles off the beaten path, but it's really spectacular, with 288 million gallons of water bubbling out of it on an average day (ONE DAY, PEOPLE, DID YOU GET THAT?!). To put it into perspective, it would fill Busch Stadium in only 33 hours. 

Big Spring State Park

20. When we finally got back to Joplin after two weeks away, Emma had to spend the day raiding the closets of her friends for her senior model photo shoot on Thursday. Ever since she was a freshman, she has wanted to be a senior model for a local photographer whose work she has admired, and she was selected to be one earlier this spring. I don't know if the senior model thing is common elsewhere, but around here, the local photographers choose these models and do shoots with them, then the models are supposed to put the pictures on social media to try and get more business for the photographer. When someone mentions they came to the photographer because of the senior model, that model gets a discount on her pictures. The shoot went unbelievably well, especially because I find it unbelievable that SHE'S A SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL. These aren't even the "real" senior pictures yet. HOW AM I EVER GOING TO CHOOSE?!

Photo by Joshua Carter/Life Captured

There! Two weeks' worth of thankfuls. And one more for YOU if you stayed with me all the way through to the end of this post. Are you thankful? Sure, you are! Link up your list below.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts


  1. glad to hear all your thankies, cheers and have a lovely weekend :)

  2. Wow that lasted almost as long as the milk! Heeeee. A lot of h2o thanks...that shot of the blue/brown rivers is pretty amazing. Emma is a gorgeous woman huh? Lasly im always glad to hear you're healthy!

    1. No kidding! Isn't that water cool? It doesn't completely mix up for a mile or so down the river, according to the kayaker. I love those pictures of Emma, thank you! She's usually wearing Nike shorts and a tshirt, so it really caught me off guard to see her look so grown up! And still healthy. Four years and two months' worth.

  3. So glad for the no bad weather, and I REMEMBER the Mississipi ("Missippi") smelling like DEATH when you took me to visit.

    Does the fact the milk lasted so long not WORRY YOU? Like, how much of it is actually FOOD?! Sounds like those McDonalds burgers which can sit for years and NEVER CHANGE!

    1. Ohh, I forgot how stinky the river was when we went to that park with Christine! And that was NOTHING compared to what I smelled this week! Ugh!
      That milk thing was really weird. I just chalk it up to magic.

  4. i was worried and hoping all was well ... wow why does your person look like Melissa Etheridge... LOL!

    you are quite the adventurer right in your own home (keeping milk way past its expiration day) Wild thing!

    your trip sounds looked good, love that play, glad you are healthy and arm pit pain was nothing big smile!

    your daughter is so beautiful - and perhaps hitting the books and a scholarship can send her to Belmont - maybe a win-win.

    so skipped I last we too and I think i wanted to so something similar but my excuse was that i worked so hard over the weekend that the keyboard was too high to reach - kind of lame right?


    1. Okay, I just had to go look at the pictures again, and Terri does look a little like Melissa Ethridge in that picture!
      No one drinks milk at our house except Kyle, so when I was checking for recipe ingredients and saw there was a gallon jug still in there, I pulled it out and sniffed it, expecting the worst, and it was fine! I used it for cooking until it finally turned while we were away for Memorial Day weekend (it must have missed me).
      It was a great trip, and that play! The girls who played Anita and Maria were exceptional. They will be on Broadway, no doubt.
      Thank you! It's always nice to see her in anything other than Nike shorts and a t-shirt! Belmont gives out 5 academic full ride scholarships every year, so she can give it a try if she wants. She has the grades for it and her ACT is pretty good.
      Keyboard was too high to reach? Bahahahahaaa!

    2. OMG the milk
      I have been buying the cartoned milk lately for the same reason. I am thankful you read expiration dates! :)

  5. You're proud of your girl.
    Road trip with your girl.
    I too love road trips for the conversations that take place while everyone's tucked away in that car.
    Also, I love bridges, rivers, and tacos.
    Blue vs brown. Glad that man did not drown on the brown side.
    Rivers have so many stories to tell, but I really do prefer to stand next to them to think about it all.
    Love the double thankful.

  6. T(x2)ToT very cool. very busy.
    (I think i get that fall off a bridge thing. Not that often, but I can recall getting nervous driving over certain bridges. weird thing was, the best my mind could do was suggest that, somehow, my car would just, sorta, flip sideways, over the railing.)
    very good TToT (with the photos and everything)

  7. Truth is that milk (and many other things) are truly fine to use quite a bit past those "expiration" dates. It's all about CYA for the company that provides it. If it's OK, use it. That said, that bottle is truly magical. :D
    I love your whole list and it was lovely taking your trip with you.

  8. Great photos! Sr pics were major budget breakers here. But I still love looking at them! We would have been traveling in Cairo that same weekend as you were! Honestly, we travel in many of the same circles---just not usually at the same time.