A Small Whirlwind

Whew!

I have a few minutes to sit and catch my breath and write.

Jordan came home for a week to get his drivers license-he had about a week’s worth of actual behind the wheel driving experience and figured he was a pro and that it was time to bite the bullet.

He arrived on a Saturday morning, got his permit on Monday and went driving with me afterwards (talk about scared Mom mode…), had some professional drivers training on Tuesday, and took his test on Wednesday.  Talk about a whirlwind week;  I don’t know how we managed but he was confident and I had coffee so we got through it alive.  He went back home pre dawn Friday and is now the proud owner of a California drivers license!  My first kid to drive legally!

The Monday after Jordan flew home the kids all started at their new school.  This has been another tornado adventure, let me tell you, but we all love it!  I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously that they’re attending a school geared towards the arts-Hannah has Choir and Dance classes in the morning while the boys have Band.  Matthew plays guitar while Elijah is learning bass and I believe that after all of the practice they’ll be having, these kids will have some serious skills.   The school also has a recording studio where the teachers and students can collaborate and actually produce music.  Not many schools have such opportunities for their students.  It’s an exciting time!

The oldest was released from jail yesterday after being incarcerated for a month.  He is being allowed to do Drug Court which means he’ll be drug tested several times each week, must attend drug classes, and he also has to do community service which will all be checked on by a judge each Friday.  He’s staying with my mom who was nice enough to offer up her home-she’s subjecting herself to random house searches by probations…I had already refused to allow him to stay here.  I just can’t have his anger outbursts, drugs, and homeless “friends” hanging out here.  I’m done with that.  If he fails, he faces 4 years in prison.  I hope he can finally get his shit together because he’s running out of options and bridges to burn.

I had a chat with my husband about different ideas to try and he suggested I start a podcast.  So I’m trying to come up with what I’d like to do with it-what my topics should be, a name, and what kind of microphone I need to purchase.  I’m very new to this form of expression but I think it will actually be fun-there are endless possibilities.  No politics, just something interesting and entertaining.  I’ll also have to hone my editing skills…lots of new things on the horizon and I love it.  I’ve been stuck in a rut for so long.


My first time in the car having Jordan drive.  I was scared shitless.


Hannah in front of her Middle School after orientation.


The 3 of us went out for Pho-we’re goofy.


We went to the Guitar Center so they could mess around a bit.


First day of school, 2017!


Jordan bought a new car!
See? I told you it has been insane around here-I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Laughter is the bees knees

My kids are a constant source of amusement, whether they’re creating comic strips, drawing, writing stories-you name it, they keep me entertained.

They took this little snippet while staying at my mom’s for a visit and I laugh out loud each time I watch it. I think they need their own Youtube channel.

Zombies, Beatles, and Monster Trucks

I decided I needed a break from the constant chaos in which I was living-my husband was in Las Vegas for two weeks due to his work with a show in town so it provided the perfect opportunity for an escape.  I could retreat from the madness and enjoy some one on one time with the man I rarely see, whom I love, and enjoy laughing with.  And…Vegas!

Alright, I’m not really a Vegas type person-I don’t enjoy boisterous crowds, random people yanking me over to their kiosks and slathering bee sludge on my face to “help reduce wrinkles,” or intoxicated individuals arguing with police about how they are not actually drunk. No, I much prefer quiet places with the least amount of interaction with strangers as possible-this is why we usually stay at a casino in Jean, Nevada.  It mostly hosts an older crowd who are fairly sedate, a few buses of Asian tourists, and a truck driver here and there.  We liked it much better before it was bought by another company who removed the buffet and replaced it with a Denny’s…I’m not sure whose bright idea that was.

We looked into some shows that sounded interesting and the first one we chose was Zombie Burlesque.  What a cute show, I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The performers were quite talented and the theater was small enough to make it possible for everyone to have a great view.  I would have enjoyed it even more if I wasn’t tense due to the fact that there is audience participation.  You see, I’m an observer, not a participator;  I would have been mortified had I been pulled out of the audience to go on stage.  But I did laugh and enjoy myself-thank you, Zombies!


We drove around the strip and the surrounding areas and I was able to see what they don’t advertise about Las Vegas;  the homeless population.  People pushing their belongings in shopping carts,  sleeping on the sidewalks or in parking lots,  talking to themselves as they cross the street.

Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures has a museum in Vegas and we were hoping to check it out but, unfortunately, it hasn’t opened yet.  I was looking forward to seeing his creepy collection of haunted artifacts! Maybe next time.


Robert is a huge Beatles fan so after a little nudging from him I relented and agreed to watch Beatleshow Orchestra.  I was impressed by their musical talent and their costumes, as was the young boy who sat next to me.  During each song he yelled, “Beatles, WooWoo!”  After the show, the man who played John Lennon saw the young boy and said, “There’s my favorite fan!” and motioned for him to come over and stand with the guys so his mother could take a picture.  I doubt that boy will ever forget it.


Our final show of my stay in Las Vegas was the Monster Jam Finals.  I’d never been to any sort of car or truck show so I was interested.  Sam Boyd Stadium was packed with fans who each had their favorite Monster Truck.  Little kids had their pictures taken next to as many vehicles on display as possible.  It was quite the family affair.

I ended up with a lot more pictures of the Monster Trucks than I had anticipated-I enjoyed watching them flip their trucks as the crowd went crazy and you can certainly tell that quite a bit of practice goes into performing these tricks.

 

It was quite a show!

 

I was able to stay with Robert and visit for about a week and we both needed the down time.  It was nice to relax and spend time together in person since the majority of our communication is via text or phone calls.  That gets very old.

Little did I know just how much I’d need this break until I got home and the shit really hit the fan.

Stay tuned.

And then there was that time I did Roller Derby…

I was approaching my fortieth birthday when it occurred to me that I should do something badass.  I wasn’t going to go buy a sports car or anything crazy like that-but after going to watch the local roller derby team practice for an evening, that seemed to hold just the proper amount of tough girl I was looking for.  Camaraderie, cute socks, and little shorts combined with roller skates seemed like the perfect mix for me.  Why not?  Life is too short to not give it a whirl.

After talking it over with Robert, who was in full support, I decided to contact the team and see what I needed to do to get involved.  Just because I hadn’t been on skates in, oh, 30 years, was no reason to be nervous, right?  I got in touch with the captain and she encouraged me to come to the next practice and they would have loaner gear waiting for me so that I’d be able to try it out.  I was excited, to say the least!

I got myself psyched up and actually managed to make it to the next practice.  There’s quite a lot of safety equipment involved in roller derby-helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads, skates…now that I’m actually considering the equipment, it’s not really all that much.  After being shown what goes where and how to put it on correctly, I was all set!  Ready, set, roll!

Alright, it wasn’t that easy.

I think I spent almost an hour holding onto the fence surrounding the rink (which was also used by roller hockey guys) just going around in an endless circle.  The fear of falling is something to behold.  Having your body supported by wheels that may or may not go in the direction you intend is just not normal-I felt like a baby giraffe, to say the least.

After getting warmed up Ha! I joined a small group of other derby noobs and we went over the basics of skating.  How to stop, how to start, how to fall.

How to fall.

Yes, one does a lot of falling in roller derby.

2 hours  and countless sore muscles later, practice was over. I was able to hobble over to my truck and drive directly to Walgreens to purchase some Epsom salt in hopes of soaking in a hot tub with a giant glass of wine to relieve some pain. It did help a little but I think the wine and Advil did the bulk of the work.

I was so excited at the prospect of becoming a derby girl who, after many encouraging words from Robert,  ran out and bought all my gear the next day.  I wasn’t too keen on having a white helmet, I’ll tell you, but I’m too impatient to wait for something to be ordered and I had practice the next day so I wanted to be prepared. I have a rather small head so finding the proper size is more challenging than I would have thought.  My brain is plenty big, it’s just compact.

Next practice, I was all geared up-skates laced, all my pads on, mouth guard, helmet.  I stood up off of the bench upon which I was seated and promptly fell on my ass.  Not a graceful fall, not just lightly, No, this baby giraffe fell with a giant thud, all spindly and no sign of femininity at all.

That stung.  I narrowly missed hitting the back of my neck on the metal bench as I went down and all of my weight landed on my left butt cheek.  I got myself up, looked around to see if anyone was laughing (no one was) and made myself go out onto the rink.  That wasn’t exactly the best start but, as I said, there is a lot of falling in roller derby, I was just ahead of the game.

I chit chatted with some of the girls and they were very encouraging. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better.  If you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough.

I made it through the practice with a very sore rump which I iced once I made it home.  Almost the entirety of my cheek was turning all shades of purple and it hurt to sit on it…Oh, the price we’ll pay to attain badassery.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I developed a love for knee-high socks.  Aside from the obvious cute factor, they served a purpose; the taller the sock, the more protection you would have on your bare legs since, unlike hockey, roller derby uses the least amount of clothing and padding as possible.

I looked in stores and those types weren’t the easiest to find.  There were a few in Hot Topic and Spencer’s, but I wanted variety.  After asking around at practice, I was told about Sock Dreams-an online superstore specializing in wondrous socks galore!  O, delight! I spent at least an hour perusing their website when I finally settled on about 4 pairs of socks suitable for a potential derby queen.


    

As you can see from the above picture, there is a lot of skin to scrape if you don’t wear tall socks.

A few words about duct tape:

It becomes a necessity it roller derby.  You need to keep the front part of your skates taped because through the course of a practice, you will find the leather (or synthetic, whichever the case may be) becoming worn from rough use.  When you fall to your knee or knees, you use the top of your skate to stop which rubs along the skating platform which, in our case, was a treated concrete.  If you don’t protect it with a few layers of duct tape, you will quickly ruin the boot of your skates.  Duct tape, like socks, also becomes part of the fashion.  There are many cute designs and patterns to choose from and a derby girl usually has a few different rolls to choose from.

Along with practices thrice weekly, there were also various meetings to attend as well as social gatherings and fundraising projects.  It quickly became all-consuming and I found I had time for little else.  I was just a wee bit obsessed.

Through the course of the practice filled summer, I gained about 15 pounds of muscle.  I didn’t realize it at first until I noticed that my jeans wouldn’t fit up over the bubble butt I had developed.  Ohhhh, I didn’t like that! I liked developing muscle but I definitely did not like seeing the scale go up.  It takes a lot of muscle to keep weary legs going for 2 hours of grueling practice in 100 degree heat but it wreaked havoc on my brain. Muscle is good. Gaining weight is bad.  Being strong is good.  Jeans not fitting is bad.  I didn’t deal with it as well as I should have and constantly complained about it to Robert who was always reassuring and encouraging me to continue. No, I wasn’t a tub of lard.  Keep skating.

He puts up with a lot, thankfully!

The summer went progressed;  I built a small wardrobe of long socks, glittery booty shorts, and rolls and rolls of duct tape…I also developed some friendships and an appreciation for group sports.  These were some dedicated and hard-working derby girls that put in many hours each week honing their skills. It’s hard to keep pushing through after falling countless times but they would just get up and get back at it.

It was finally time in the season where there was a bout to attend.  A “bout” is a roller derby game where two teams compete against each other in an allotted amount of time and the team with the highest score wins.  I was nowhere near close to being able to skate in a bout-definitely didn’t have the skills down, didn’t know the rules, so many rules!! But, I got to do the next best thing which was to show up and support the girls that were going to be competing.  I helped out at the door by having the spectators sign release waivers.  Yes, roller derby is a contact sport and it is not unheard of to have girls go flying into the sidelines and wipe out a row of people.  Nobody wants to get sued, so waivers are a must. I had to explain this to several people when they asked why they would need to sign anything.  Ever watch the movie Whip it? Then you know what I’m talking about-it’s pretty rough.bout 3

derby bout1

group derby

bout4

I continued with roller derby until about November when, at practice, I took a fall.  Now, I had become fairly accustomed to falling quite a bit, and while not fun, I knew it was inevitable.  But this time, as I landed on my derriere then somehow flipped forward and slid across the cement boob first, I realized that maybe this just wasn’t for me.  I had also managed to hit my head, which had begun throbbing fairly quickly so I sat myself on the bench for the rest of the practice.  Even though we wear helmets, a good thump still bounces the ‘ol noggin a bit.

I decided I’d take a break and as the holidays were rapidly approaching, I could use the down time.  It was also a break my almost 40-year-old body needed-I needed to spend some time visiting my chiropractor so that he might relieve some of the pain I had developed in my hip since that last fall.

All in all, I would do roller derby again;  it was an experience of a lifetime!  I also learned some new things:

1.  You don’t have to prove anything to anybody but yourself

2. I’m not a complete wimp; I should have already known this as I’ve birthed five big babies without an epidural

3. My husband is my biggest fan

4.  Turning 40 is pretty badass in itself

Thank you, Prison City Derby Dames!

sporty

Adventures in Motorcycling, Part Five

Bright eyed and not so bushy-tailed, we knew today we would arrive back at home-to kids, dogs, cats, and the realization that Robert would soon be back on the road, alone, in his truck.  Neither one of us wanted our vacation to end so soon but, alas, bills must be paid.

The wind was horrible and I needed to keep my head tucked down and against Robert’s back to minimize the feeling that I’d be blown right off the bike into oncoming traffic. There were gusts expected upwards of 30 mph and for a new rider like myself, that news was far from good.  I did the best that I could to hold on as tight as possible and when we finally hit a rest area, my muscles were feeling strained from holding the same position for so long. I was glad for the break to rest a little.  Robert’s dad gave him an extra handkerchief when we were there visiting, and boy, was that a lifesaver! While not what I’d consider glamorous, it was of great use to prevent the heavy winds from invading my nostrils with so much force.  The air was cool which made it all the more uncomfortable.

We were on the main highway for an hour, at least, and the wind was picking up even more which is worrisome when you are travelling on a road packed with big rigs.  I just wasn’t up for becoming a pancake because a semi blew over on top of me-Robert was feeling the same so we got off the highway and on Route 66 through Amboy.

In case you aren’t familiar with Amboy, California, it is in the Mojave Desert, west of Needles and east of Ludlow.  While it was a boom-town in 1926, it was more of a ghost town when we went through. We passed only one police officer and I wondered to myself what bet he lost to be stuck on that lonely stretch of highway. The road was enjoyable with many curves and we pretty much had it to ourselves.

We did not gas up under the assumption that there would be plenty of opportunity after getting some miles under our belts. Well, as the gas light came on and we passed  mile after mile of burned out houses-I swear it was a scene out of Breaking Bad. I was starting to panic. Robert asked me to check my maps to see if there was anything around but my dumb “smartphone” thought I was still at home and was absolutely worthless.  Images went through my head about us having to walk mile after mile in what I only imagined to be Meth Alley while Robert pushed the bike-this very heavy bike, to a gas station. Oh, the humanity!  We pulled over and his phone was much smarter than mine so he was able to see that there was one just around the corner. Whew!  Talk about too close for comfort.

The wind was still very strong as we pulled up to the Joshua Tree Saloon. Of course, the parking lot is all gravel and being on a bike in gravel makes me extremely nervous-not that don’t have confidence in Robert’s abilities, I just don’t like the feeling of sliding while we maneuver through it so I asked him to stop for a minute so I could hop off while he parked.

I was so ready for a drink. Or three.

The wind was really howling and I was afraid that the bike would fall over while we were inside but it’s not like I was going to sit outside and try to catch it if it did so I decided I’d just go in and enjoy myself.

We decided that it would be best to stay the night and start the trip home after we rested and the wind died down some (supposedly, it would be better the next day).  Oh darn, we have to stay another night on the road in my favorite place with my favorite person.  Double darn.

Robert called the Joshua Tree Inn just in time because they only had one room available.  We were able to get the John Barrymore Suite which we had never stayed in before (this was John Wayne’s favorite room) and I was beyond excited.  It’s a very romantic setting;  the rooms are done up all cozy, and they each have their own private patios.

We finished our food and I had a couple of Cowgirl Gun Slingers (in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m the drinker in this outfit) so I was sufficiently loosened up for a relaxing evening.

Unfortunately, the Joshua Tree Inn has no covered parking or anywhere to park a motorcycle that could topple over into the car next to it…I did wish that we could sneak it into the courtyard when the owners left but I’m pretty sure someone would give them a call once they heard the loud rumbling of the engine right up at their bedroom doors.  We would just have to hope for the best.

After we were all checked in and given the keys, Robert let me into our room while he gathered our belonging and brought them in.  I promptly found my comfy spot.

 Yes, that’s my side of the bed.

It was an absolutely adorable room.

I told Robert that he could sleep on the daybed. I’m a giver.  It was a cute little kitchen stocked with utensils and a fresh supply of coffee.
  This was a lovely sitting room at the entry.  Coffee!  Oh, was I happy to see that we didn’t have to go anywhere to get a fresh cup in the morning.  I’m cranky if I don’t have coffee and quiet first thing.  You never would have guessed that, would you?  Now be nice.

I made myself a cup and listened to the wind from inside the bathroom where I could get a nice view.  Yes, that does sound a little strange-but it was the only unobstructed window.

I really do love the sound of wind blowing through the trees and bouncing doors to and fro as long as I don’t have to be out in it.

I slept so well that night other than an occasional start from sleep due to the sound of something knocking around outside.  I finally told myself, as I was worrying about falling motorcycles, Screw it, if it falls, it falls, and hopefully the ghost of Gram Parson will help Robert pick it back up off its side.

Yes, the concrete slab used to memorialize the place where Gram Parsons had been cremated has been moved to the Joshua Tree Inn and supposedly his spirit, at times, parties it up a little with the guests.

The sky was a bright and beautiful blue with windswept clouds spread about just so.  Gram Parsons Memorial to the left-in front of the stone guitar.
  Outside our suite.  The unheated pool just yonder.        I’d love to take a swim one day but it hasn’t been quite hot enough during the times we’ve been there.  I have, however, been entertained watching a man swim with his family while wearing his Speedo.  There’s something so comical about men in Speedos…maybe it reminds me of watching the boys high school water polo team.      I loved this piece.  It’s a bicycle wheel with painted lampshades attached to a pole so that it rotates in the wind.  

 Robert carried our stuff back to our (still standing) motorcycle, got it all packed in, and then we said goodbye to our favorite little hideaway.

I had such a fantastic trip and I owe it all to Robert.  He spent months planning this trip trying to make it absolutely perfect and he exceeded my expectations.  He went above and beyond to not only ensure that we had a great time and got to enjoy the true beauty only found in nature, but that I always felt safe while we rode so that we might have many more adventures together in the future.  He’s quite the man and I’m a lucky girl.

Adventures in Motorcycling, Part Four

After bidding Sedona a fond farewell, we hit the road traveling towards Flagstaff, Arizona.  Now, I know this was my mom and dad’s favorite place to stay whenever they would head out of town but to me, it just doesn’t hold the same appeal.  I suppose they best part to her was just spending time alone with my dad and now that he’s gone, those memories make Flagstaff seem even more magical. But for me, I was ready to just blow on by. Well, after my coffee and snacks, of course.  It was chilly on the road so when we stopped to fuel, I was drooling for something hot to warm me up and something nutritious and filling like, TaDa! Pork Rinds!

  And to ensure that I would be able to drink my coffee while riding and not have it spew up in my face, voila!  Straws work wonderfully!

We drove a bit further and between the cold and the wind, Robert felt it was a good time to stop at the Harley store nearby and pick up a full faced helmet. The winds were pretty gusty so he also got me a hoodie to wear under my leather because I was freezing my patootie off. It’s no fun on a bike if you can’t hear the open road over your chattering teeth…

Robert decided it would be a fun idea to take historic Route 66 for a stretch so we hopped on and rode it until we came upon this-Route 66 all in gravel.

  So, we both said Screw that, and turned ourselves back from whence we came.
    This was a teeny tiny entry way that only one vehicle could fit through at a time.

After driving for a ways (I can’t say how long because i was so wind whipped) we managed to find ourselves back on Route 66 but on much better road.  It was quite enjoyable, actually.


                Then we landed in Kingman.  Ohh, Kingman, my aren’t you a hot, windy part of Arizona.  I’ll admit, at that point, I was ready to just be in Laughlin already.  I was tired of the heat, wind…just plain tired.  I was looking forward to trying my luck at the casino and I knew Robert had gotten us a nice room for the night so I was excited.  But Laughlin was sooo far away, it seemed.

 Want a shot of Courtney on the rocks?  

We stopped for  bathroom break and I was about to start clicking my heels to see if  it would whisk me away out of that heat.

I have to say, Robert has never given me crap for always needing pit stops.  It doesn’t matter if it’s because I need to use the restroom, stretch my legs, get something to drink-whatever.  He will always stop when I need to and boy, am I thankful!

We finally made it to the Aquarius in Laughlin, Nevada and I don’t remember much about that little stretch except we were passed by this couple on their motorcycle-she was in here little booty shorts, hair long and flying in the wind with no helmet, big sunglasses and a hoodie.  I was young once, not too terribly long ago but all I could think was Damn, that girl is going to have one giant dreadlock that will be impossible to brush through and where’s the helmet?  Little shorts?  That cute little booty and those long legs will get eaten up if he lays that bike down…Put on some clothes, for the love of Pete!! Thankfully, they made it to hotel with no issues and her booty remained unscathed.

aquarius

We waited in the Check-In line behind a group of European tourists and I couldn’t help but think that they were bound to be disappointed staying in this place.  It’s not bad, as far as the casino atmosphere goes but it was very smokey.  Maybe they loved it, I don’t know, I guess I just have preferences and I get persnickety when I’m hot and tired.

Our room was gorgeous-two separate areas, king sized bed, a great view of the river, and a full kitchen.  As soon as we got in and cleaned up we were ready to eat so we headed to the buffet.  Now, when I started this trip, I was on a diet, more specifically a low carb diet.  I let myself enjoy a date shake at the beginning of the trip with the intention of jumping right back in with my diet. I did pretty well for the most part until the BUFFET!

Pastries, cakes, and cookies, oh my!

All bets were off.

4 mimosas and a couple of plates like this were pure Heaven!

 After eating, we looked around the casino to see what there was to play. NO Blackjack?! What in the HELL?  There were acres of poker tables and endless rows of slot machines but there were only a few black jack tables that practically had tumble weeds tucked under the chairs.  I was so disappointed.

I played a few slot machines but promptly lost my money and deemed this casino my least favorite.  I pouted for awhile and decided I was ready for bed.  Honestly, I was over-tired and really just needed to sleep. I think Laughlin would probably be fun for me as a Girl’s Weekend type of getaway where all we did was drink and talk but as a gambling destination, it’s on the bottom of my list.

river2

river

It was so windy outside, I could barely open my eyes.

After a good night’s sleep (and several mimosas for me in the morning), we were packed up and headed off  to Joshua Tree, California-one of my favorite places to visit.

Adventures in Motorcycling, Part Three

I neglected to mention the fact that our room number was also my birth date.  We enjoy funny coincidences, especially in Sedona where the word ‘vortex’ is used in everyday conversation and they are thought to be locations that have a certain spiritual energy flow that exists on, what some believe, are multiple dimensions…

The entry to our abode.

Where all the magic happens

 

After a bite of breakfast at the hotel, we were ready to head on out and do some meandering about town.  Of course, we knew it would rain yet again but rain is some of my favorite weather and we certainly don’t get any at home so I knew I would enjoy it, regardless.

 The breathtaking views even made the public parking lots beautiful!

There are so many shops to visit and each one is unique-gemstones, jewelry, art, knickknacks, paddy-whacks…you name it.  We even found a Harley store and Robert found himself a new ring:

  We found a lovely pair of opal earrings for my mom-2nd row from the top on the right.  I think I was more impressed with them than she was.  I have to remind her periodically that they aren’t abalone…
 I find silly things are often the most pleasing.

We roamed around a bit more before my stomach started grumbling for a margarita, er, lunch, so we had a nice little break and chatted about how unusual we found Sedona.  Not what I expected, in the least.  Honestly, I thought for sure I’d find hippies dancing barefoot in the street telling of how magical “The Vortex” was while trying to lure us into their shop to get our palms read.  Instead, we encountered friendly people just enjoying their day like we were.

There were plenty of opportunities for photos with lovely scenes in the background.

Amethyst is my birthstone and as we were looking at some jewelry, Robert found a beautiful ring and bracelet for me.  I was absolutely spoiled and loving every minute of it!

 As we were about to cross the street to another set of stores that we hadn’t been to yet, lightning lit up the sky and a thunderous applause was delivered promptly afterwards.  We found an unoccupied bench and just drank it all in.  The sounds and smells of a fresh thunderstorm are indescribable.

It was amusing to me to watch the jeep tours drive by with the passengers wearing what amounted to giant trash bags-that’s some dedicated tourism! I think I would have been content to spend the rest of the day there on the bench with a hot cup of coffee in one hand and my other holding Robert’s. 

The rain died down a little so that we were able to cross the street that was quickly becoming a deluge.  I was almost hit by a distracted woman in her car who bit her nails knowing what she had almost done.  Rain and drivers don’t mix well.


The hunt was on:  Find an umbrella!

We walked down the street, unsuccessfully dodging raindrops, until we stopped at Murph’s Country Store.  We looked around a bit until Bingo!  Green umbrellas at an Irish grocery!  I’m not sure what was said, exactly, but Robert got us into the best conversation with Ann that I’ve had in a long while.  We discussed rebellious teenagers, our relationships with our dads (who are both deceased) and she had me in stitches with Feckin’ this, and Feckin’ that-if you stop and take the time to have conversations with strangers, you’ll often find it truly rewarding. She was a wonderful story-teller and I could honestly get a little glimpse of what her life was like in Ireland.  What a treasure!

After saying our goodbyes with promises to return on our next trip, we made our way back, green umbrellas in hand.  Yes, we each got one because Robert didn’t want to share.  He knew it would become mine and he’d be the one left in the rain.  Smart guy.

My Robert.  He’s such a ham.

It was about time to start heading back to the hotel so I snapped a few more pictures and then we were off.

    

And away we go!

We arrived back at the hotel just in time to watch the sunset.  After a day full of rain, thunder, and lightning, the display was spectacular.  I took some photos while Robert chit chatted with other observers standing by.  It’s fun being social.


    

We ended our day on a happy note, ready to travel to Laughlin in the morning.