Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's still "Duh-gah" I presume?

I just haven't been in the mood to write. Or maybe, I haven't been my usual introspective self. There's been parties to go to and friends to catch up with. Kim, Diane, and I had our typical get-together which amounts to lunch in the French cafe across from where Kim works followed by a little shopping spree in Kim's shop. She brings me things to try on which I buy (what a great friend I am.) I now have a beautiful new dress that begs to be worn somewhere special. Actually, I've done my share of clothes shopping since returning from Mexico. I think I was feeling deprived. However, now on the verge of our cross-country camping trip I have an unsuitable wardrobe--one more geared to urban living. Didn't I notice the "dry clean only" tags?

Julie and I met for dinner on the Plaza (excuse to dress up.) We visited the new Bloch Building at the Nelson-Atkins, but got there too late to have time to take it all in. There is an impressionist exhibit running, but mostly the gallery houses contemporary art. For all the modern art I still get taken in by Renoir and Degas. I like my paintings "pretty and painterly." The building itself is more impressive than I imagined. Some people think it looks too industrial--kind of like a row of mobile homes, but the inside space is really where the beauty lies. I liked it more than I thought I would and felt a little proud for Kansas City. (BTW, the museum's recorded information line not only gives faulty info but the speaker's pronunciation of museum as "myoozee-um" {emphasis on the "myooz" rather then the "e"} irritated me greatly. I hate when somebody thinks it's clever to change pronunciations on us common-folk: HaRASSment becomes haris-ment. Data {long A} becomes data {short A.} And when did it become fashionable to drop the "an" for "a" before "historian" and "historic?" Grrrrr.)

Good to get my fill of fine eats and culture now as the countdown to the Airstream adventure begins. It will certainly feel like I've entered another reality once we hit the road. We'll be sleeping in RV campgrounds, touring roadside attractions, reading road maps and tourbooks, and probably be eating a lot of bad food. Are we really doing this? And why? I forget, but the commitment has been made and our trailer awaits us in Colorado. But before we go on this crazy trip we are making a quick run to the east coast to visit Robert's sister, Sherry, and family. We plan to see the sites in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. including a lot of myoozee-ums.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Loreto bay seems like a distant memory. I browsed through Nellie Hutchinson's blog tonight (something I hadn't done in months) and caught up on the happenings down there. A super competent and ambitious woman, Nellie. She's wrapping that little Baja town around her little finger. I marvel at what she's accomplished so far. Her blog is part marketing tool, part society pages. She posts photo after photo of smiling people, most of whom I know, having fun and hugging and after awhile I'm feeling the ping of envy. Does anybody miss me? Waaah.

Back home my life is operating at a sleepy pace. I basically lay in wait for my men to come home from work so I can ask all three of them how was their day. My daughter I am taking to drama camp ( a 30 minute 10-dollars-in-gas commute) every morning. She says she hates it and is mad at me for signing her up. On the second day her teacher asked me to wait till the other parents left so she could speak to me. I waited in dread thinking she would report how my little munchkin was being stubborn or uncooperative, but no, she surprises me with, "Allison read her lines today and she was fabulous. I'd like her to play Juliet." But she won't because she is the youngest in camp and she says she has stage fright, a term she must have picked up there, so I guess she's learning something.

Robert has flown off to Naples, Florida to visit his fabulously rich friend, Steve, the one who has a bicycle plant in China and a contract to sell said bicycles to every Wal-Mart in America, I'm expecting his phone call soon telling me about some cool toy Steve has. I can just hear Robert telling Steve about our new Airstream trailer and Steve responding with, "Hey we just bought a villa in Tuscany, wanna go?" Then they'll laugh their asses off playing the rich boy/poor boy game and fall asleep drunk on Steve's $10,000 sofas. "Brother, once you get that money thing down, "Steve says to Robert, "life is a piece of cake," unaware of the irony of that axiom (I just looked that word up and it sounded right.) Robert thinks after 20+ years of slaving away at his business he has a hold of fortune's shirttail but Steve's got it by the collar for sure.

Meanwhile I dream about our upcoming Airstream adventure. There I will flourish as I indulge myself in writing about my experiences. Never mind a thousand others have gone before us and many a wonderful document on the matter has been published. I will forge ahead like everything that happens to me is novel and significant and original.

Originality is merely an illusion
, wrote M.C Escher, and that should make me feel better. But sometimes I ponder about the futility of everything. Nothing I say, do, think, write, hasn't been explored by some other poor curious soul. Can't let that stop you, right? Forge ahead like you were the first discoverer, like no indigenous people beat you to it. Okay I've been reading too much Lewis and Clark mythology. I've learned that Lewis himself was probably struck humble by the realization that the wilderness he set out to untangle wasn't as unpeopled and undiscovered as he and Jefferson imagined. Being first is always an illusion.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's what's inside that counts

Here's a story to lift your spirits. How can you not love this guy?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Modern Day Explorers

We have finally found our Airstream! After considering used we went with brand new, in part because Robert wants fewer problems. He wants his own never-used toilet and bed. He wants the wrap-around windows and audio package. We both want the dark wood cabinetry. No yellowed interior for us--it's all shiny, gleaming, happy, happy, joy, joy inside and out. Isn't it a beauty? I want to give it a name but it's too slick to be called "Tin Inn" or "Rollertoaster." Got any ideas?

Our trailer is a 27-foot front bedroom International CCD Signature Series. It's at a dealer's lot in Colorado. I can hardly wait to go get it. We won't pick it up till late July because the plan is to get it and start our trip from there. We'll head up to the Dakotas first then head west through Wyoming and Montana and north into Canada. We'll cross to Vancouver and then down the Pacific coast, across the southwest and back home for Thanksgiving/Christmas. Then south and out towards the eastern coast up to Canada again. Besides seeing all the national parks and sights we plan to visit friends and family along the way. Allison will be road-schooled which amounts to seeing and experiencing all the interesting places, people, and things that North America has to offer. I think that's enough of a curriculum for third grade. I intend to write about our travels, so I imagine this blog will get pretty focused on life on the road.

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Robert and I ask each other, aware of the implications this commitment will have on our lives, not to mention the discomfort of perpetual "camping." We'll be disconnected from the mainstream of life. We'll be out of touch the daily happenings of family, friends, and our business. We'll be badly-dressed, unkempt wanderers looking for a laundromat in every town we pass. Oh, but what an opportunity. We are going to see the U.S.A. one state at a time. We're going to see our neighbors to the north and find out what's so funny in Canada.

I'd like to romanticize us as brave explorers roughing-it through America. I want to see myself as Sacajawea or Lewis and Clark journeying through the wild west, sleeping under the stars, catching fish for supper, but no one will buy that image when they see us trailblazing the interstates with our shiny, brand-spankin new Airstream pulled by our 2007 Tahoe with its 20 inch polished aluminum wheels and XM radio. My fear is that we'll look more Griswolds than Jeremiah Johnson. But our intentions are good.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lucy on Ice

We traveled to Wichita last weekend to see our niece, Lucy, ice skate in her first ever competition. She was terrific. If she was nervous you'd never know it; she smiled so brightly throughout her routine. No falls, either. Way to go Lucy! I promised I'd post the video I shot even if it's really raw and shaky.

Wichita is not a city I would consider visiting, but I was impressed with its "Old Town" where we stayed. It's not far from the waterfront of the Arkansas River which is experiencing a development boom. The downtown is sprinkled with whimsical bronze sculptures and murals. I would have liked to spend time studying the architecture. The romanesque 1892 City Hall building is especially beautiful. It was called, "The Palace of the Plains."

We stayed at the "Hotel at Old Town," a renovated brick building which once housed Keen
Kutter tools. It was known as the largest warehouse in the U.S. in 1906. We ate at a great place called the River City Brewery in another old building. We were told it once was a paper mill. We ate beneath a large buffalo head which reminded me of the book I recently finished, "The West," by Geoffrey C. Ward, the only coffee table book I've actually read cover to cover. I hadn't known Kansas was as much a buffalo country as the Dakotas and northern plains territories. Farther up the Arkansas River the town of Buffalo City (later renamed Dodge City) attracted hoards of hunters who shot the beasts from train cars for sport. The business of buffalo hides boomed. (pardon the alliteration) In the first three months of the town's existence over 43,000 hides were shipped east.

I have to wonder if the trophy over our table was one of those unlucky bison. He did look pretty worn and decrepit.

Save me a seat for Doomsday

Never go to bed after watching something disturbing on TV (which is nearly everything.) Your dreams will suffer. It must be "End of the World" month on television. Earlier this week I watched a program about the psychic Edgar Cayce and his dire predictions of the earth's destruction (a magnetic pole shift that throws everything off kilter) and last night a special on the History Channel called, "Last Days on Earth," in which several catastrophic scenarios were explored, one as gruesome as the other. Either we get obliterated by an asteroid, or Yellowstone erupts sending fiery magma sky-high and resulting poisonous gas and ash go sweeping across the earth killing us almost immediately. Or we nuke each other. Or, as Al Gore gloomily predicts, our SUV emissions will melt the polar icecaps bringing the world to an end.

The question is posed: "If you knew the day, the hour, that the world should suffer a cataclysmic event--what would you do?" Some people answer that they would get real religious and pray, pray, pray. Others say they'd party it up, and some say they'd prepare for survival. I know which camp Robert would be in and we'd really be at odds when he's serving up martinis every day while I'm busy building the underground shelter and stocking it with canned beans and freeze-dried Pepperidge Farm cake.

In my dream soot-faced survivors appear numb and lethargic. I try to snap them to attention, to get moving, gather up supplies. No one budges. Everyone is mute and senseless and looking on the verge of turning criminal. God! Do I always have to do everything myself! I find two men lying in the grass and I proposition them with this: "Look, if you men build us houses and start farming, we women will feed you and take care of you."

My dream ends there. I suddenly wake up aware that I have more insight into the beginnings of civilization than the end of it. It starts with a woman persuading a man to help her make, move, or fetch something.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More me

Yeah. They're right--my friends and mother included who wrote to tell me that the photo of myself in my blog banner was not an act of self-promotion but a simply a nice photo of the author of an extremely interesting and entertaining weblog. (Thanks, mom)

What a Neanderthal my husband is. Deep down he's just worried somebody might admire my legs or something and track me down to steal me away. Grunt! I think I'll rotate a new photo of myself each week doing really fun things and looking fabulous doing it.

After all, it is my blog.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blog in vain

I'm removing the photo of myself in the banner of my blog. I thought it was a nice picture symbolizing all that's wonderful about travel and leisure, but my husband says it's conceited. It's enough that I impart to the world my commentary on any matter that catches my fancy, why aggravate others with a flattering photo of myself doing it. And a rather large photo at that. Big, because I didn't know how to reduce it for the Blogger template.

Sorry, I guess. I did think it was a good photo and rare since nobody ever takes my picture--I'm always the one toting the camera. Robert seems to think that people don't want to see me looking good, having too much fun. Maybe they don't want to hear my stories about me having fun either. I'm not writing for everybody, I say. I started writing to record our lives as if we--me--mattered. Someday I believe my kids will enjoy reading what mom wrote about our short time on this earth. I guess, too, that I'd like to help them remember the good times and to see that besides minding them and keeping house, their mom could think a little. So, I'll be continuing to write the world as I see it which is always directed toward a happy ending since I have a fairy tale bent.

However, for a long while I've contemplated writing an alternative blog to this one. One that rants and rails and exposes my dark underbelly. On that blog I will tattle on everybody and dish out dirt and drop f-bombs like crazy. I'll expose my ignorance and intolerance and bourgeois leanings. On that blog I will post unflattering pictures of myself that expose my mediocrity and aging body. Who wants to read that one?

Probably more people than I imagine.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Airstream Dreaming


We've been shopping for an Airstream trailer. Of course, they are very pricey so we keep looking for a deal. We found a used 1990 Excella nearby for about $9,000. It was nice enough, but certainly well-worn. The vinyl wallboard and plastic throughout was very yellowed. I thought it would do, but we sure wouldn't have that "wow" factor that makes owning a camper fun. The newer CCD Airstreams are so sleek; they make all other travel trailers look dumpy. We'd love to have the new front bedroom Signature series designed by Christopher Deam of San Francisco. Way too cool.

Having never camped it's probably unwise to jump into such an expensive purchase, but we really have our minds set on traveling America this year and imagine the best way to do that is with a travel trailer. We'd like to spend months on the road and the idea of bringing our "home" with us makes the most sense.

OR THIS?.....

I was surprised by Robert's disinterest in making the deal. I thought he'd jump on it. Here was a decent Airstream at a good price and so close to our home. I nudged him that I approved. But somewhere in the owner's enthusiastic sales pitch she lost him. Maybe it was her talk about preventing "coning" in the black water tank and how the texture of one's poop can make the difference. In the end it was our seven-year-old who nixed the deal when she whispered to us that the inside of the trailer reminded her of earwax. We all had to agree.