Archive for January, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Looking Out Mom’s Kitchen Window

A New Addition (not THAT kind– get a grip, people!) Public Bath Houses and ‘Angels in the Attic’! **edited to add**

My laptop died.

Sorry to break it to you so harshly, but I didn’t know how to lead up to it gently– HELLO, I’m obviously still in shock.

*pauses for moment of silence*   *hands together, lips moving*

In related news: This post is being brought to you by a brand new one! It cost too much money (unplanned for and right after Christmas) for me to type that in all caps, but once I get over the vapors, I’m gonna be really happy and grateful.

Russ and I were such a study in contrasts when it became undeniably clear that my old beloved lappy had indeed bitten the big one. (The mother board was kaput, needed a $1400 part– I’M TALKIN’ DEAD!!!) Must be a male/female thing. I was fussing and full of angst and despair… Russ was calmly getting his car keys and saying, “Let’s go to Best Buy.” I think I was gearing up to agonize over the inevitable for a couple of days, and Russ just cut to the chase. “You cannot function without a laptop, you are a writer, you have deadlines coming up, we can pay it out with no interest, let’s just go GET IT already.”

This take-charge attitude may or may not have also been slightly influenced by the fact that I have been using (hogging) HIS laptop in the interim.

Anyway, before I knew it I was standing in a big store blinking and bewildered in front of the dazzling array of Macs they spread before us (and also desperately trying to get my nephew The Computer Genius on the phone for an emergency consultation). Russ was all, “What’s the newest version of the one she had? How much goat does it have?” (Oh wait– he might have said RAM.) “Got a 15 inch screen? Yeah, she’s gonna need that.” I wandered away at that point (too many choices, I was starting to glaze over) and went to walk around in the appliance department to calm myself down, since there wasn’t an antique mall handy.  (You guys know that strolling down dusty aisles filled with quaint furniture and old dishes works faster than Xanax with me). But just when I had barely made it over to the gas cooktops section, Russ was already calling me on my cell phone and telling me to come to the front of the store, we’re done. So wham, bam, thank you Russ– I’ve got a new computer. And according to my new favorite tech (oh hai, LeNelle!) at MacAuthority who switched my hard-drive over at no charge whatsoever (btw, if you ever run into Mac trouble and happen to have one of their stores in your area, run do not walk– they rock so hard), I am now blessed with, and I quote, “A totally suh-weet machine!”

Please feel free to leave suggestions as to what I should name this baby in the comments. I would turn this into a contest, but I don’t really expect you to become that emotionally involved. I’m still trying to bond with the new little guy, myself– it feels slightly disloyal to my old lappy to have moved on so quickly, but hey, life is for the living, seize the day, blah di blah blah… *sniffs mournfully, pours one out for my homie* (I’m offering that translation for those of you who aren’t as down and gangsta as I am. You’re welcome.)

I’ll leave you with a few more quick photos from the holidays. Every year Russ and I give each other the same present– a few short days away together, just the two of us. For years we went up to Eureka Springs, one of my favorite little places in the world, and we’ve also ventured as far away as New Orleans, but for the last couple of years we haven’t wanted to go quite that far from mom and dad’s house so we’ve driven over to Hot Springs– always a fun getaway, with an historic downtown arts district to wander around in AND it also happens to be the city where Russ and I met and married which, you now, makes it all romantical and whatnot. Last year we stayed at a chain hotel, which was fine and just a couple of blocks away from the main wandering-around street, but this year I did a little research and came up with a great vacation rental place– an ‘historic loft’ right on Central Ave. called Angels in the Attic.

Since it was the off season and we wanted to stay for three whole days, the nice owner Wanda offered me a great discount rate which I gratefully grabbed before she had a chance to change her mind. I had originally thought I would break tradition and have the girls come with us since the place was so big, but they both opted to stay with Nanno and Papa– although we did persuade Madi to join us for our last night there, and she promptly fell in love with the place and wanted to move in permanently! It really was fabulous in a funky, this-feels-more-like-New-Orleans-or-Savannah-than-Hot-Springs-Arkansas kind of way.

The rooms were laid out shotgun-style on the second floor of an old storefront building that you entered by ascending one of two (front or back) creaky sets of stairs. The living room and kitchen area faced the main street and had huge airy windows that made it really feel like a loft. Then there was a long narrow hallway that ran the entire length of the place, front to back, and the bedrooms opened off of that;  it kind of  looked like it could have been a rooming house or something back in the day. The bedrooms didn’t have any exterior windows, but they did have transoms and some glass-block interior windows between the rooms, so they weren’t too dark. I’m a big fanatic about light and windows, but this was actually kind of cozy, and the high ceilings kept me from feeling claustrophobic. Wanda apparently used to own a design/decorating shop with her daughter, and when they closed it she used a lot of their leftover inventory to outfit the place, so it is really done well. It has a vintage, cottage-y/Paris apartment vibe which I loved– lots of off-white distressed furniture, antique dishes, beautiful throw pillows and artsy chandeliers. Totally worked for me. Russ liked the fact that it had an entertainment center with a large screen TV to watch movies on in the living room, and a very unusual HUGE tiled soaking tub in the master bathroom. Madi just loved all of it, and kept wandering around saying things like, “So, how much would it cost to live in a place like this…?”

Our last day in Hot Springs, Madi and I decided to do it up right and go take a hot spring mineral bath at one of the grand old palaces on famous Bath House Row.

This is such a cool thing to do! I’ve only gone a handful of times and not in about a million years, but I knew Madi would appreciate the step-back-in-time, slightly run-down, marble-tiled, tiny brass elevator, faded-splendor experience of it all. We went to the venerable  old Buckstaff –their motto since 1912 is “We bathe the world!”

OK, now this is usually the point where I would break out pictures of our little bathing adventure and hilarity would ensue, but oddly enough they don’t allow cameras in a place where there are lots of female tourists in all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities shuffling from vintage bathtub cubicles to hot pack rooms with heat-flushed faces whilst clutching big ol’ white bedsheets to their respective bosoms. Go figure. I just hate that I couldn’t photo-document it for you guys, because they also have THESE bad boys…

…and I just KNOW how much you would enjoy seeing a shot of my (panicked) red sweaty face poking up out of one! Sorry. Maybe next time I can think ahead and rig up some kind of hidden spy cam in my belly button or something.

Anyway, here’s a few interior pictures of Angels in the Attic that we took– just wanted to share it with you guys in case you ever need a great place to stay in Hot Springs!

***Living room



**Russ checking his watch, wondering why it takes girls so dang long to get ready to go eat lunch, for crying out loud.

**Closeup of magnificent chandelier I reeeeeeeeally wanted to steal, but Russ said it would compromise my testimony which I think is a big fat lie because God knows how fabulous this would look in my entry hall and He would totally understand.

**Big blue tub– I spent about an hour in there with a ton of bubbles, a good book and a glass of red wine. (Um, that should read ‘grape juice’ for all of my Baptist readers.)

**And finally– Madi in the mirror, shooting the back entrance to the loft.

EDITED TO ADD:  You know, as long as I’m doing a (completely uncompensated) commercial for good ol’ Hot Springs, I might as well give you a link to my dear old friend Rosemary’s gorgeous new flower/gift shop! It’s called By Design, and it’s right up the street from where we were staying downtown. I showed up completely unannounced and unexpected (after 20 years or so!) and we had a huggy, tearful reunion right in the middle of her gorgeous store. She truly does create uh-maz-ing  floral designs, check it out!

BlogHer Reviewer