Weekend Unwind

I have been lazy beyond words this weekend. There were a ton of things that I had planned to do – a to-do list a mile long. And other than getting things done for Sweet Husband’s birthday, I really got nothing done. I forget that the body often knows best, and when mine says that it is time for a rest, that a weekend unwind truly needs to happen, then that’s what I need to do. So, for the most part I did.

There was a lot of alcohol consumed this weekend. Perhaps because it was Sweet Husband’s 32nd birthday Saturday. He’s such a young puppy still! I got to leave work on time Friday, but I didn’t actually get to meet him at El Agave for $0.99 margaritas until after 5:00 because I had to make a stop by the stores to get the things he requested for his birthday dinner. He’s actually a pretty simple man and wanted steak and twice-baked potatoes for his birthday dinner. Fortunately, The Lil Butcher Shoppe in Hattiesburg has just what he likes. Unfortunately, by the time I’d made it to him Friday night, there were too many margaritas and too many baskets of chips and salsa in his belly to want the dinner I bought. I didn’t argue because I didn’t much feel like cooking Friday night anyway.

On SH’s actual birthday, I spent the morning in Honey Island Swamp while he headed off to Baton Rouge with his daddy for the Mississippi State – LSU football game. Now, Mississippi State hadn’t won against LSU in 14 years. That’s a long time to go without a victory, and SH said that if they lost in Death Valley on Saturday, he wasn’t ever going to return to Death Valley for a game again. it was a good thing they won! It was a huge upset victory for the Dawgs, and that meant that my Bulldawg had the best birthday ever.

Weekend Unwind - Sweet Husband & Big Dawg at Death Valley

As I said, while the boys were in Baton Rouge, I was in Honey Island Swamp on a swamp tour with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Photography Club. I’ve wanted to do a swamp tour for a really, really long time, but we’ve just never gotten around to it. When I originally talked to SH about this particular tour, happening on his birthday, he and his daddy were going to be leaving for the ball game before I would be leaving for the tour. Then they changed the time of the game, and I wound up not seeing SH on his birthday at all. He truly is the sweetest!

I’m not sure exactly what I expected from the swamp tour, but I had hoped to see a bunch more wild life than I did. We saw two alligators, a snake, and two raccoons. That was a little on the disappointing side. However, the beauty of the swamp never disappoints. I was reminded of the first time that I spent in the swamp – a trip by myself through South Carolina, which included canoeing through the swamp. Solo. I was struck then by the beauty, and I continue to be struck by the beauty of such wild and untamed places. Weekend Unwind - Honey Island Swamp Tour

Weekend Unwind - Honey Island Swamp Tour

In the space of 2 hours, I took over 300 photos. I’ve only just now begun to start editing them, so look for them later in the week for a Wordless Wednesday and a Photo Friday post!

I had a ton of plans for my Saturday by myself. Many, many things that I needed to get done. Like my grades. Because I think that pretty soon here I will be transitioning to teaching math. Like cleaning the house. Like finishing up a few projects. Like getting caught up on Clever Cookie School of Blog homework and lessons. But I did none of that, really. I took a nice long nap and then I watched an Outlander marathon on Starz. (Have you seen Outlander? I’ve waited 20 years for this series. It. Is. So. Good.) In there somewhere I made the things that SH said he wanted – veggie squares, a cheese ball, a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. But nothing more than that.

The weekend wound up with an excellent sports day in the Allen household. Sweet Husband’s football team won, my football team won, and our baseball team won. I cooked tritip for SH because he said that’s what he wanted for his birthday and then last night we got around to eating the steaks and twice cooked potatoes from Friday. it was all so very good.

I know that my inner introvert had been needing a little TLC, and I think that’s what my weekend was all about: giving myself the freedom to rest and do nothing. Even though there was a lot of something that needed to be done. I even crawled into bed early last night (which is why this is getting published today rather than yesterday). I was just tired. I’m still exhausted, truth be told. I’m looking forward to a little nap this afternoon so I can get myself up and get to work on this week’s intentions.

Speaking of which –

This Week’s Intentions

  • Get caught up on my grading (6 students a night should be manageable)
  • Consistently use MyFitnessPall (I’m fuzzis – add me if you’d like)
  • Revisit the goals I set a month ago – figure out which ones are working for me and which ones need revision (practically all of them)
  • Get caught up on Clever Cookie work
  • Walk for at least half an hour every afternoon
Some Posts You May Have Missed This Week:

How was your weekend? What was the best part of it? Let me know in the comments!

Weekly Retreats

I read a lot of blog posts during the week – I kind of consider them like a little retreat during the beginning, middle, or end of a day – thus the title of this series of posts – weekly retreats. I try to remember to collect the best of them here for you each week so you can be as entertained or prodded or as moved as I am.

This week, the following things are making the list:

  • On Blog Posts – Amanda at Write ALM. This is another one of those posts that is hitting at the time when I need it to. As I am planning on this blog being a huge part of where I am headed in the next year, I need to make sure that I’m doing it right.
  • When Your Writing Routine Goes PoofBecca Puglisi for Writers Helping Writers. Shared by Amanda at Write ALM. My writing routine goes all over the place all the time…because I’m in different places. I think the thing that helps me most is having a set time when I write and set cues for my writing – like my Serenity app…even though I believe it is the only app I own that has not updated in the last 2 weeks, which means it remains buggy.
  • Creative Weekend Getaway – Maddie Richardson. Sharing this because I really, really, really want a creative weekend getaway. I’d love it if my Writing Project site would host a writing retreat.
  • Waiting in Newfoundland – David duChemin. I think he might be my new mentor from afar. The pictures are gorgeous but what he has to say is much more important.

…think of this work like a long exposure. It’ll take a while. You aren’t doing this for anyone but yourself, so don’t be afraid to go at your own pace, and most importantly – to enjoy it as you go. If you wait until you “arrive” before you enjoy the passage of time, you’ll never do so.

  • Becoming a More Confident Traveler - Jamie Ridler. I like to think I am fairly confident when it comes to traveling, but I also think that in the last several years, my world has gotten smaller. I go fewer places because my Sweet Husband doesn’t go with me. I’d love to get him on a plane – he’s never flown – because there are so many places that I want us to go. Perhaps I need to show him this post.
  • Defining Personal Photography Projects – Hilary Camilleri for I Heart Faces Photography. I really like the idea of looking for ways to volunteer my photography (or writing) skills. I think there is something to that idea, and it’s something for me to keep in my back pocket.
  • How to Get Unstuck - Andrea Scher. Great reminder for those moments when I get frustrated with this situation and where I am headed.
  • Handwriting and Slowing Down – Karen Walrond at Chookooloonks. I handwrite every morning (check my Instagram feed), and while I don’t really draft in long-hand anymore, i totally prefer to edit in long-hand. I need to be able to see it and touch it and physically move things around. It gives me the opportunity to think and walk through things.
  • How to Be Ideal. Seriously. I Got This. – Emelia at Trying to Be Good. It’s a little profane, but that’s just fine by me.
  • Science Shows Writers Have a Serious Advantage Over the Rest of UsRachel Grate at Mic.com. I can agree with almost all of this except the sleeping better. I know that when I don’t write, I’m a grouchy bear. So even though there are many mornings when I’d like to crawl back in the bed, I stay up and stay after it. It makes a huge difference in my life.
  • This What is Love video. It makes me think of my Grandma and Grandpa, who loved each other thoroughly and completely and who died 2 months to the day of each other.

  • Be Stubborn – Jen Louden for Sarah Selecky. Things I need to hear. Especially now.

    Don’t believe anyone who says, “Quit,” especially yourself. Don’t assume you don’t need to be stubborn after you’ve had some success either. 

  • Bryan Cranston’s One-Man Show Doing MLB Post-Season - Eonline. Because I love baseball, dammit. And because it’s good!
  • A Change is as Good as a Break: 17 Little Things You Can Switch Around to Make Life More Interesting – Yes and Yes! This is a great list of things to think about. I too am a creature of habit and there are many things that I enjoy doing again and again and again. I like the idea of mixing it up a little.
  • Focus on What You Can Affect - Nathalie Lussier for Jennifer Louden’s Navigate Your Life. Once again, something I needed to read. Sometimes it gets overwhelming thinking about all the changes that need to come down the pike in order to get us to where I want us to be. Not all of it is within my control, though. Natalie has a lot of good to say here, but this stands out for me:

    One thing I learned early on with goal setting is that if you set yourself up for “failure” with your goals, it can be demoralizing. So instead of focusing on things that I can’t control, I focus on the efforts that I’m making. I can’t guarantee how many clients or sales I’ll make, but I can focus on the quality of my marketing and answering people’s questions intentionally.

  • 20 Small Reminders - World of Wanderlust. Because.

Have you read anything that stuck with you this week? Let me know about it! I’m always looking for something else to read ;)

Photo Friday – Muddy Boots Ranch Return

In this week’s edition of Photo Friday, we have the final set of photos from Muddy Boots Ranch in Pass Christian, Mississippi. I’ve already shared photos on a Wordless Wednesday and again last week on Photo Friday, primarily because I am slow to get things edited – not because I want to draw the experience out.

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch Pass Christian, MS

It is hard for me to get over just exactly how beautiful and majestic these beasts are. Being out there with them reminds me again why most little girls at some point in their lives are at least a little horse – mad. How can you not be?

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

I was particularly in love when they were right next to me…and I was relieved that they wanted to be right next to me. It was like a form of validation – these horses sense my love and are responding to it. It made me ridiculously happy. And I will say that they were right next to me, letting me pet their incredibly soft and sweet noses (I think that might be my favorite part of the horse – their incredibly velvety muzzles) BEFORE the other photographer showed up with 5 pounds of huge carrots that he handed out to the rest of us like candy and we obligingly passed along to our four-legged friends.

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

When Patty, owner of Muddy Boots Ranch, felt like we had gotten enough shots of these darling babies, her nephew and I believe niece (?) made their way into the pasture to being “flagging” the horses so we could get some action shots of the horses. I greatly appreciate their efforts because it was a particularly hot and sticky afternoon/evening in South Mississippi. Even at 5:00 at night, the heat index was predicted to be in the high 90s and the organizers of the shoot recommended that we bring plenty of water so as to avoid potential problems with dehydration. I was sweating through my shirt just taking pictures; I can’t imagine chasing around a field.

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

I wish I had brought my zoom lens with me because I could have gotten much closer to them, and perhaps gotten better pictures. As it was, I used the sports capture mode to actually try to get the horses in motion. I’m not entire pleased with how these turned out, but they aren’t too bad, I don’t think. It got particularly nice when the horses looked like they were starting to play a little bit.

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

After about 20 minutes, I looked at time and remembered that I’d promised Sweet Husband I wouldn’t be gone too long; the group shoot happened on a weekend, and weekends are our times to spend together. As the horses galloped further into the pasture, I decided it was probably time for me to make my way home and put my gear away.

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

I am again thankful that I got to head out to Muddy Boots Ranch and spend a little while taking pictures. I got what I felt like were some great images, and I enjoyed the fellowship with other photographers. I’m excited about my swamp tour tomorrow morning with many of the same people, so in the next couple of weeks you can look forward to seeing lots of pictures from deep, deep in the heart of Cajun Country.

Tell me about your favorite picture. Which one do you like the best?

Thoughtful Thursday – September #reverb14

Last December, I participated in project reverb, a reflective writing challenge meant to close out the year and prepare for the new year. One of the groups hosting reverb prompts decided to continue the reflection through the year and sends out a monthly prompt. The prompt for September for #reverb14 is as follows:

Team | Whether you love football or hate it, we’ve all done hard time on the sidelines or on the field. What is your best game time memory?

I’m trying to figure out if this is literal or if it is supposed to be figurative. No matter, I’ve got stories for days, I suppose.

If we’re taking the literal tack on the prompt, then it’s not about football. We’re going to talk about softball, and the hard time I did on a co-ed softball team in my early 20s. I played softball as a kid, grew up playing back yard baseball and generally loved the whole act/idea of throwing around a ball. That was until I got into a relationship with an uber competitive guy who had to win. At all costs. We’re talking couldn’t-couldn’t-lose-at-a-board-game-had-to-win-at-all-costs kind of guy.

When I stop and think about it, there were a lot of clues that the relationship probably wasn’t the healthiest one for me to be in, and the time that he cracked my femur with a softball should have been a flashing red sign that told me – get the hell away from this guy. But it wasn’t. Because I’m smart like that.

We were on a co-ed softball team with a bunch of the people that he worked worked with. Everyone but him was really there to drink beer. I think we were like in an “H” league or something – about as pitiful as pitiful gets. But not Mr. I-Was-Supposed-To-Be-A-Starting-Pitcher-Like-My-Brother. Make no mistake, he was a good player. They put him at short-stop and from that position, he could just about cover the entire infield, and he did a great job at the plate…almost always guaranteed a homerun. But. No one every wanted to warm up with him because he failed to recognize that this little recreational sports league was not going to be his ticket to the glory that he missed in his not-so-far-away youth. He threw the ball too damn hard. So hard he hurt people.

Like me.

The team decided for some stupid reason that it would be a really good idea to play in a tournament. We all paid our money and when the appointed weekend arrived, just enough of us showed up. We didn’t have a full team, but there were enough of us to get on the field. Because no one would warm up with him, that duty fell to me. We were warming up with another couple from our team and the wife of that couple had asked me a question about cheesecake (I used to bake cheesecake. I don’t so much anymore). I turned my head to answer her, never thinking that my boyfriend wouldn’t recognize that I was distracted.

He didn’t.

He threw the ball anyway, and the next thing I knew, he was yelling my name. I turned my head and got my glove down to my in just enough time to have the ball tip it.

The pain was so intense and immediate that I crumpled to the ground, wind knocked out of me, hurting so badly I couldn’t even cry.

By the time he and the rest of the team had made their way to me, the damage was making itself evident. Square in the middle of my thigh was a perfect outline of the softball. You could not only see the stitches in the seams but the lines in the stitches. It was rapidly turning purpley-black, and it took a few tries for me to get up. i couldn’t put any pressure on my left leg because it hurt so terribly.

Then our team captain dropped a wonderful little nugget of information on us. “You have to play. If you don’t play, we don’t have enough people to compete and we forfeit our entrance fee.”

Really? Really?

The story gets better, though.

In the team’s infinite wisdom, they decided that the best place to put me would be at home plate, as catcher (so I wouldn’t have to walk to the outfield, you see. How very thoughtful of them). Catcher was my position anyway. Our team captain, the pitcher, promised that if there was a play at home plate, he’d make it.

Excellent idea. Until he saw how fast and how hard my boyfriend would throw a ball to make a play at home plate. Then he stepped out of the way and said boyfriend tagged me yet again. This time in the ankle. Of the same leg.

I really don’t know how I made it through the rest of that game and the next, where they decided to place me in the outfield where nothing ever happens and I wound up having to make a leap into the air to catch a ball, preventing a homerun. Landing squarely and painfully on that leg. Good plan.

I still have that glove, and I haven’t really used it since. It has survived multiple moves. I even still have a ball from that team. Occasionally I think that it might be nice for Sweet Husband and I to get involved in some sort of co-ed league – just for fun – because I think that he could actually handle something like that, particularly if I dangled beer-drinking in front of him. But that would require us being together in the same city…and I’m not at all sure that I really, really want to play softball again. I think I’m OK staying on the sidelines these days. I like to watch – and listen – anyway.

Now bowling on the other hand…I could so see us in a bowling league.

Tuesday Thanksgiving

Because there are documented benefits to a regular practice of gratitude and thanksgiving, I pause on Tuesdays and give thanks for all of the wonderful things in my life. There are really too many to list, but I try to make Tuesdays my highlight reel.

This week, the following things are making the list:

  • My upbringing. I know I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again – I’m grateful for a family who did what they could and who loved me in the ways that children need to be loved. It was far from perfect – far from it. But as I listen to the stories that my students tell – momma who essentially lives at her boyfriend’s house, leaving 13 year old daughter at home with her older gang-banger brothers, to find for herself; a high schooler who says that when she grows up and has kids, she’s always going to have food in the house so that when DHS comes, at least they won’t be able to hold that against her; boys who will fight over the tiniest scrap of the nastiest food because when they get home there’s nothing – I am reminded that in the basic and important ways, my family loved me, cared for me, protected me and gave me the best they could. There were moments (there are always moments) and there were more than moments, but through it all, I never doubted that there was always someone somewhere who loved me and was looking out for my best interests.
  • A weekend at home. *sigh* I can’t wait for another one. I miss being at home with my puppies and Sweet Husband.
  • Slightly cooler temperatures and a break in the rain. My mood is dramatically affected by the weather. It kills me when it’s dreary out. Sometimes it’s more than just mood, though. Sometimes the symptoms are physical – when the weather changes, I get increased seizures and headaches, so I’m glad for a little respite.
  • Finding a rhythm. It feels like I’m starting to find a balance in the things I have to do versus the things I want to do.
  • Opportunity. It’s short notice, but I’m hopeful that I can pull almost everything together in time to get it done the way it needs to be done.
  • Sweet Husband. It’s time to pay bills again, and that means that I experience a world class case of stress (money does that to me). It gives me a great sense of relief to be able to just tick things off “paid” and not have to worry that they’ve actually been paid – because he’s already done it. Also – his birthday is this weekend but he got me a pressie and he’s letting me go on a swamp tour with the photography club.
  • Twitter lists. I had one set up, but seriously…how did I not know how life changing it would be to actually use one? It makes seeing my tweets from the people I want to see them from so much easier! Yay!
  • Connection. I’m starting to find community and connection, and I feel very supported in the direction that I want to head.
  • Productivity. There was a ton of stuff that needed to be done this week and for some reason, the things that normally take me hours have been a breeze.
  • A few good photos. Every once in awhile, I catch a few.

Tuesday Thanksgiving Beach Photo

Tuesday Thanksgiving Beach

 

Tuesday thanksgiving - the Beach

For what are you grateful this week? What blessings are you counting? Tell me, what is making your short (or long) list this week?

Tuesday Thanksgiving blog button

Mindful Monday – Life is…

This weekend as I sat out on my lovely front porch writing my morning pages, enjoying the play of light filtering through the dying muscadine leaves and the plants that create an intimate, private environment, I turned again to the prompts from Write ALM. The prompt for Sunday the 14th was “Life is” and as my puppies splayed themselves over the upper deck and my husband checked his stats on his iPhone while laying on the daybed he built me, I was struck by all that my life currently is. I’ve also been thinking a bit about list poems recently as an activity for my classroom, and I began to scribble out the beginnings of list poem about all that life is.

Mindful Monday -Life Is

I like the idea of a list poem for this prompt because life is so very many things, and at least in my head, it’s hard to boil it down to what life really is about. And there is so much. I could easily say that life is unexpected – that’s what I wrote about yesterday morning. How this life of mine is nothing like what I thought it was going to be. How I put it out there into the Universe – this general idea of what I wanted: a husband, a family, work that I enjoy, connection – and it’s slowly come to pass. Not in my time, mind you, and not the way that I thought it was going to happen, but slowly and surely – coming around to what I told the Universe I wanted…even if it isn’t in the package that I thought it would be in.

But I don’t think that what I believe life to be is encompassed in just “life is unexpected and eventually gives you what you what you want.”

Life is…

…choice and consequence, not always pleasant, not always easy, always a choice.

…darkness and light, the daily triumph of one over the other; some mornings or evenings a toss-up as to the victor

…beauty and wonder if we are willing to see and seek it.

…one foot in front of the other, constantly moving along the path, leading to right here, right now

…showing up when it’s difficult, working through the tenderness

…commitment, evaluation of desire

…a chance to try again, every second

…unexpected in ways delightful and heartbreaking

…a lesson in cultivating relationships and openness

…a willingness to try

…the want-tos and the have-tos and the maybes and putting them all together in ways that work

…adventure.

It didn’t turn out quite the way I had hoped it would in my head, but I imagine that I’ll come back to it again. As I’m working out what I want to be when I grow up, I think my ideas of what life is or isn’t will get more important. In the meantime, it’s this glorious mess, and while I’m not altogether happy with every piece of it, I’ll take what I have because it’s not so bad.

Mindful Monday - Life is...

 

I can’t remember when it was exactly that I discovered the monthly prompts from Write ALM, but I think that for the last six months or so I’ve been trying to keep them in mind when I’m doing my morning pages or when I get stuck with my writing. It’s always good to have something sitting in your back pocket to inspire a few words. Back in May, I got smart and made the decision to start printing the graphic that goes with the prompts. At the beginning of each month, I paste the prompts into my writer’s notebook so I don’t forget what I can potentially write about during the month. Usually I only write a paragraph or so about the prompt, but occasionally the prompt will speak to me, sparking more than that. This morning, thinking about working towards my goals and making a new plan for my life, was one of those mornings.

Write ALM September Prompts

 

 

 

Weekend Unwind

Now this weekend was more like it – although there was still a little…something…in the air, but on the whole, this weekend unwind is a bunch more pleasant than last week’s edition.

For starters, we were home. Home – in our space. Home the entire weekend. I cannot even begin to tell you what a joy and pleasure that was. There is something about being in your own space. If you follow me on Instagram, you caught me luxuriating in the delight of being home.

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While we certainly enjoyed our time on the front porch (after giving it a clean-up on Friday afternoon – fall is arriving on the Gulf Coast. The muscadines are gone, although this year, they are not all over the deck, and the leaves are turning brown and dropping, which means there was a mess to clean up. There was also a ton of debris from previous projects that needed cleaning up. All stuff that doesn’t get attended to when you work away during the week), it was a busy weekend. This was Sweet Husband’s mother’s birthday weekend, and the family made the trek south to enjoy some of the wonderful things going on down here on the Coast.

Like the Biloxi Seafood Festival. It threatened rain all weekend, and there for a few minutes, the clouds looked like they might well get the best of us, but in the end, it would up being a beautiful weekend. I think this was the first year that the Seafood Festival was back on Point Cadet – or it was the first year under the newly finished Point Cadet pavilion.We wandered around and looked at all the craft booths, and the best mother-in-law in the world picked up several lovely things. Apparently I missed the both with the leather journals, which is disappointing to me.  Several years ago while wandering in the French Market in New Orleans, Sweet Husband and I came across a vendor selling journals. I found one I liked, and SH wanted to buy it for me, but I wouldn’t let him because I didn’t think we really had the money at the time. Of course, now I can’t find that vendor again. *sigh* (as an aside, if anyone knows of some great refillable leather journals, let me know!)

The main attraction of the Seafood Festival is, of course, the seafood. The best father-in-law in the world and I shared some very tasty boiled shrimp. One of my most favorite things in the world is my father-in-law’s boiled shrimp. I think they might well be the best in the world. I get them for my birthday every year ;) These shrimp lacked the spice that SH’s daddy’s have, but they were tasty nonetheless. And they were huge. By the time you finish a pound of shrimp, though, there’s not much room for anything else. I don’t mind the heads and the eyeballs, but I know that some folks do. They don’t bother me any more (or any less – ha!) than the heads on crawfish, and the vein CERTAINLY bothers me less than the vein in crawfish.

Weekend Unwind - Biloxi Seafood Festival

 

After the seafood festival, we took ourselves home so the boys could watch some football, and so the girls could head off to the Treasure Hunt. I haven’t had a whole lot of luck at the Treasure Hunt recently, so I didn’t have a whole lot of hope. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this trip. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Treasure Hunt – let me just say, it is a delight. When you find a treasure. The Treasure Hunt is a salvage store. Lately they’ve been getting in a lot of stuff from Target and Kohls, but occasionally there will be high-end department store stocks. it really is a thing where you just have to go and poke around. I’ve been looking for some grey drapes for our bedroom, but I haven’t had any luck finding what I want. I found something close enough at the Treasure Hunt. Particularly considering the price: $14 for 84″ panels. Granted, they are not black-out panels, but I can easily fix that. I need to wait for a sale at Hancock so I can pick up the lining material. That’s easy enough, and I should be able – if I can catch it on sale – to get enough material all the panels for about $40. Works for me.

I also picked up another large frame for the prints I had made this summer that are going in the bedroom. I need two more, so I’ll look at the Treasure Hunt in Hattiesburg. I’m beginning to believe that perhaps within the next month or so, this bedroom thing might actually be almost finished. I started working on it last spring with the new-to-us dressers, and there are a few things left to do: drapes, framed prints, headboard. No progress on the headboard, but we’re not going to talk about that right now, thanks.

Once we’d finished with shopping, all of us made our way to Bay St. Louis, with a stop along the beach, for Second Saturday and the Bay Bridge Fest.

Weekend Unwind - Sea Oats

I’ve sung the praises of Second Saturday before, and this week was no exception. In fact, it was even greater. SH’s momma and I walked into a little shop at the back of Bay Breeze and started talking to the lady behind the counter. Mom told her that we were teachers, and to thank us, she didn’t charge us for our purchases. mom got a set of lovely gold bangles and a super cute headband for a baby’s upcoming birthday, and I picked up a lovely necklace. I was bowled away by the lady’s generosity, and I wish I could remember her name. I don’t believe that anyone has every done anything like that for me before. It was amazing and sweet, and I am deeply appreciative.

In addition to the music of Bridge Fest, there was all sorts of live music going on in Old Town. We really enjoyed Strung Like a Horse, and I should have a couple of more pictures up later in the week.

Weekend Unwind - Strung like a Horse

Today we have spent relaxing and being lazy. Football was rough for Sweet Husband today, although my Cowboys have made a recovery. I have done no school work this weekend, which I will regret in the morning, but my bag is packed, so I’m ready to go to work. I’ll get lesson plans done eventually.

In the meantime, as it is Sunday night, it’s time to set intentions for the week so I remain on track:

  • Edit photos
  • Write every day
  • Participate fully in Clever Cookie School of Blog
  • Read
  • Pull together Sweet Husband’s birthday celebration
  • Get caught up with school work
  • Walk – decide if a 5K is really in my future and commit if it is
  • Eat healthfully
  • Find some time alone

I think that’s pretty good for the week.

Let me know about your weekend – was it outstanding? I hope so! And what are you planning for the coming week?

Weekend Unwind blog button

Weekly Retreats – Link Round-Up

I read a lot of blog posts during the week – I kind of consider them like a little retreat during the beginning, middle, or end of a day – thus the title of this series of posts – weekly retreats. I try to remember to collect the best of them here for you each week so you can be as entertained or prodded or as moved as I am.

This week, the following things are making the list:

  • How to Deal with Distractions When Working From Home – Dani Magestro. I really hope that in a year’s time, I have to come back to this post and remind myself of all the the ways to make my days working at home most productive.
  • Why It Doesn’t Matter How You Feel About Your Friends – Shauna Niequist for Storyline. This is a good reminder for me. I don’t think ice been a very good friend lately & that pains me because I’ve always prided myself on being a good friend. Guess I need to make some changes, no?
  • How Everything We Tell Ourselves About How Busy We Are is a LieVivian Giang for Fast Company. A lot of this rings true for me, except it’s not television that is taking over my life – it’s the internets. I find myself mindlessly browsing when I could be doing things like editing photos or writing posts or reading or crocheting or anything really. When I catch myself, I move on to a more productive habit, but often I don’t catch myself until it is too late and then I’m angry with myself. But I definitely agree – it’s not that I’m too busy. It’s that I’m too busy doing the wrong things.
  • Why Walking Helps Us Think - Ferris Jabr for The New Yorker. I believe this. When I am in motion, I am better. Which is why I need to be in motion  more often than I am.

Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort to the act of walking, our attention is free to wander—to overlay the world before us with a parade of images from the mind’s theatre. This is precisely the kind of mental state that studies have linked to innovative ideas and strokes of insight.

  • Surfacing – I Saw Your Dancing. It was a rough weekend, and it’s good to know that it really is going to be OK – regardless of how it turns out. It’s going to be OK.
  • Let Fame and Fortune be the By-Products of a Life Well-LivedJamie Varon for Thought Catalog. This is a great post. I need to go back and take a look at what it is that I say I want out of my life and figure out if I’m chasing the right things. I don’t necessarily want fame and fortune – I want purpose and usefulness and direction. If money and contentment and all the rest of it comes along with it, great. I suppose I’ll be re-examining that this week.
  • Be Your Own Patron – David duChemin. As I think about the direction I want this life to head, these books could be helpful. There is also this post as well, and I think I might love it even more. Talking about money – hell even thinking about money – is hard for me. But if I’m going to go boldly in the direction of my dreams, then I’ve got to do more than think about it. I’ve got to do something about it. While his post is targeted specifically to photographers, it applies to all creative entrepreneurs, I think.
  • So Fragile, but So Enduring – The Bloggess. This is a wonderful tribute, and it gives me a lot to think about. I didn’t know MeeMaw, but I know a lot of MeeMaws.
  • 10 Strategies for Absolute Clarity – Be More with Less. There are a couple of things in here that I need to do/think about.
  • September Sun – Finding Serendipity. Because she inspires me, because it’s Utah and my heart still smiles when I think of that place, because I love that particular weed.
  • Tiny Steps to Adulthood: Should I Get Life Insurance - Elisabeth Snell for A Practical Wedding. Good read. These are things I’ve been thinking about lately. A lot. I feel like it’s time to really be a grown up. And stuff.

What did you read this week that made you stop and think? Let me know in the comments because I’m always looking for something new to read!

Photo Friday – Muddy Boots Ranch

In this edition of Photo Friday, I bring you more pictures from Muddy Boots Ranch in Pass Christian, Mississippi. If you dropped by for Wordless Wednesday, you saw some landscape and rose shots. Today we move on to the horses.

I think like most every other little girl out there, I wanted first a pony and then a horse. I was horse (and unicorn and pegasus – good thing you can’t get a tattoo when you’re an 8 year old or I’d be wearing fantastical beasts on my biceps) mad. My father always said he was going to get me a horse. When the lumber business took off, he was going to buy me a horse. There was enough land at the farm; he had a place for one. I never got a horse. But I still wanted one.

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Waiting for the show to start

I never got a horse, although for a brief while in 6th grade, I could borrow a horse. A friend – a little classmate that lived down the hill in Clintonville, Pennsylvania – I don’t even remember her name now – had several horses and plenty of room to ride. And she would let me saddle up and ride…if I was willing to muck stalls, haul in hay, and brush the horses down.

I was always willing. I didn’t care really what I had to do as long as I got to spend time with the horses. Occasionally I got annoyed because I began to notice that the once a week or so that I came over was the only time the stalls were cleaned, but to my mind, that just meant I needed to come over more often.

Photo Friday - Muddy Boots Ranch

Out on the range

I am sure that I must have ridden a horse after sixth grade – when I moved away from Pennsylvania and back to Missouri – but I cannot remember it. My father kept promising me he was going to get me a horse, but I was beginning to realize that not only would there be no horse, probably nothing else my father was promising would come to fruition either.

Surely, though, somewhere between 12 and mid-to-who-am-I-kidding-late-30s, there have been other horses to ride, but I don’t remember them now.

I do remember, though, petting every horse that has come into my orbit, getting as close to them as possible. How do you not see them and love them?

Being at Muddy Boots Ranch with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Photography Club was a delight. I was over-joyed to be able to spend time both with photographers and with horses. The sweet babies at MBR were a delight and seemed to love putting on a show for us. I would love to go back and spend more time there.

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Thanks again to Muddy Boots Ranch for having us out. It was a lovely evening, and we couldn’t have asked for better hosts!