OK, so it's technically the 12th day of Christmas, so this still counts, right?
First we had our Christmas with Angel on Wednesday night. We had to wait until she got out of dance, then opened presents and played a couple games. Angel's dance studio is doing a Clue production routine this year, and we just happened to get the Clue board game as a family gift.....!
She has arrived!
Randy and I left on 12/22. We had a slow start, because we dinked around and hadn't finished packing until that morning, then we went out to breakfast with Miss Angela and finally got on the road around 1pm. I missed a lot of the 1st day's trip because I had a horrible sinus headache and slept a lot. I'm used to drinking a LOT of water every day, but when we travel I don't because I don't want to make all the necessary stops. And I pay the price, being all groggy and headachy, on top of the sinus pressure I was having. I know better, but I still do it.
She didn't go on this trip, since they were short handed at the restaurant where she works and while they could have let her go, they would have been really strapped then. So we told her it would be OK if she stayed home. My sister Laurie picked her up Christmas Eve and took her to the family gathering at sister Linda's house and then home with her for a couple days. So it was nice that she didn't have to spend it alone. I did that when I was 21 and in the Navy - my first ship had decommissioned in Georgia, and my next set of orders sent me to the USS Lincoln in NAS Alameda, CA, reporting for duty on January 4. Spending a holiday thousands of miles away from anyone you know isn't fun.
Woo, really went off track there for a minute!
We went a different route than usual this time. We made a side trip into Indianapolis for dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise (A burger chain owned by Jimmy Buffet)! They closed the one in Michigan that we liked so much and this is the closest one left. We got to our hotel in Mt. Vernon, IL pretty late.
By the way - the funner way to follow this journey is thru my series of blog posts about Chuck the Skeleton Elf over at my Maple Grove Cemetery Halloween blog. Yes, I carried a 3 foot skeleton around Hot Springs with me and posed him for pictures!
OK, I thought I had a picture of just the Arkansas sign, because we'd stopped. This road went thru the boonies and there was very little traffic (and went thru a place called Possum Grape, population 80 or so I read!) It's funny that within minutes of passing this sign, Randy's accent turned itself back on.
We got to Momma Love's house mid-afternoon on the 24th. And then we proceeded to sit inside & do a whole lotta nothing for the next 2 days. I got a decent amount of needlepoint done, but I was starting to go stir-crazy.
The day after Christmas, we finally went out and didn't do a whole lot but at least we got some fresh air & drizzly rain. We went thru a couple stores and browsed, but at least we were looking at something other than the same 4 walls!
The 4th day (12/27, I think) was sunny & 70 degrees! So we went up "on the mountain". First stop was the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. Sure seems taller than 216 feet, but the view was stunning. The 2nd floor is all enclosed and you can walk around and read about the history of the area. The 3rd floor was open to the sky.
Then we went down and over to West Mountain and stopped at all the overlooks to see the views.
The Tower we'd just come from.
That night, we had dinner at a tiny little podunk place that is known for their catfish (and I doubt has ever had a health inspector visit) and then we went to Garvan Woodland Gardens to see the lights.
So pretty! I enjoyed myself, even tho Randy & his mom ditched me because Momma was cold so they went back to the nature center while I got more pictures of Chuck the Skeleton in a train :D
Momma went thru chemo in early 2015 and her hair is back to her shoulders and really wavy. She's always worn it really long and pulled back into a pony tail that she pinned into a loop on the back of her head, before letting it hang.
Flowers in December??!
12/28 Momma had a doctor appointment at the exact same time that the Buckstaff opened! She only lives about 10 minutes from Bathhouse Row. I left the same time they did and stopped in the parking lot at Oaklawn Racetrack (home of the Arkansas Derby) and watched them exercising the horses on the track for a while. I love to see when they have the horses running full out!
As usual, I enjoyed myself muchly at the Buckstaff. I wrote about that in an earlier post. When I came out, I did some souvenir shopping and then went back to Momma's.
Thursday, we went to the store and started doing some laundry and getting our stuff packed back up. We got up early Friday morning and went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, then parted ways. It's always hard on Randy to leave his mom. It helps when I'm with him so I can distract him. And he loses his accent again once we cross the Missouri border. Weird!
We got to our hotel in Terre Haute, IN fairly early. Then were up & gone after breakfast.
Home before dark on New Year's Eve!
What a beautiful sight!
But what we got home to wasn't such a beautiful sight. Angel called me when she got home from Laurie's after Christmas to tell us that "someone" knocked the Christmas tree over. And damn if she just left it laying on the couch! The little turd.
But we have a suspect.
Let's just say that Randy had gotten his money's worth out of this tree, since I'm not sure how long he bad it before we moved in together, 14 years ago. And due to the age, the stand may not have been the strongest, so when someone gray & furry climbed where she shouldn't......the thingys that hold the legs into the stand gave way.
Sadly, we did lose a couple souvenir ornaments that won't be easy to replace. The one from the National Weather Service Office in Whitefish Point (where the Edmund Fitzgerald went down) and the glass sea turtle filled with sand & shells from Myrtle Beach were both casualties. There were some others lost and 2 that were repairable.
This was the first time any of my cats have knocked over a tree. Ever. Even as a kid.
It's always so nice to be home after a long trip. We really didn't think we'd manage to stay up for the countdown, but we did. Randy turned on the TV around 11:40 and was flipping back & forth between the festivities in New York and the ones in Toronto (I loved hearing the bells tolling from I think it was City Hall).
New Year's Day here was glorious. Sunny & mid-40s. We took the opportunity to bring the Christmas decorations in from the front yard while we could just be out in hoodies. Glad we did, since its been as cold as crap lately!
How hilarious is this?
Back when Randy graduated, it was a thing for the valedictorian & salutatorian of each high school in Arkansas to go meet the governor - who at the time was Bill Clinton! Momma Love also graduated a year after Mr. Clinton from Hot Springs High School.