Before I get started, let me just say that this past Friday the 13th was a real pisser. You’re sitting there asking yourself “why wouldn’t it be” right? I mean, it’s Friday the 13th, after all! Truth is, my Friday the 13th’s are usually very good. I’ve never had a bad one. In fact, I think my luck is unusually good on those days, but this past Friday disappointed me. At least until I went to steak night. Then it got interesting. Long story short, there was alcohol, several friends, my drunken dance partner Dusty, and a jukebox.
Yep, I sent Friday the 13th packing like nobody’s business and welcomed Saturday the 14th with a drunken slur and some out of rhythm bumping and grinding. Not to mention waaaay too many Malibu Pine’s.
But. I needed it so don’t expect any apologies here. We all have our vices. A-hem.
Now that I’m well overdue with filling you all in my vacation, I figured it was finally time to tell you all about it, however; I did promise to make sausage and egg burritos this morning so when I hear Howard stirring, I’ll temporarily end my re-cap and leave you all hanging. Sound good? Okay.
I will definitely say that this vacation was much better than last year’s when it came to visiting with family. For the first time, Howard and I took the stance (and I think I mentioned this earlier) of making everyone come see us. I mean, we visited our immediate families and of course, I made the trip to see Julie, but as far as aunts, uncles, cousins, etc, who get upset that they never get to see us because we don’t come see them? (Nevermind that these are the same people who never call, write, or even email during the year between visits.) we didn’t go out of our way. This year, we told everyone in that capacity that if they wanted to see us, they knew where we were. The people that really wanted to visit, made the effort, the ones that didn’t…didn’t. Yes, I’m sad that I didn’t get to see everyone and I know some of you are probably thinking Howard and I are selfish relatives. But you have to understand where I’m coming from: I just shelled out a good chunk of money and spent an entire day flying across the country to be only 5 or 10 minutes from where my friends and family are. I think taking a few minutes out of your day to actually come by and see me or at least call, isn’t asking too much.
Howard and I enjoy our visits back home very much but too often we find ourselves running all over town trying to see everyone who calls. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we usually take an excursion in between ie: Argentina, Italy, Morocco, because we really want to feel like we got a vacation out of the deal.
Anyway, my point to all that is: this year we stopped running all over town, and it made all the difference. We ended up being less stressed-out and our visits with people were much nicer.
Our first week home, I spent a lot of time with my sister and my niece and nephew. We had lunch, we shopped, we gossiped, we laughed. Mainly, I just enjoyed being with my only sibling and her children. Kim and I are so different it’s eerie at times. But we’re never short on conversation. Whether it’s bickering over something we disagree on or reminiscing about the past, we make the most of our time together. The only “low” moment was while eating our pizza, one of us brought up pawpaw, and my sister choked up and said “Oh God Chris, I miss him so much!” and then I choked up and said “Oh God Kim, me too!” Sometimes I forget that I’m not the only grandchild in the family who lost their father-figure. Though hard, it’s nice to share that exact same grief with another person. Kim and I might be different but we do share the same childhood, the same memories, and the same genes from our mother. We are all the other one has when it comes to remembering things like that. This visit made me realize how very much I love her, how the older we get the more she means to me, and how happy I am to have a big sister like her.
I also got to spend some quality time with my dear sweet Julie! We had lunch, I hung out with her at her office for a while, and most importantly, I got to spend her birthday with her. We had a big party at Mama Jean’s, I bought her a cake, my memaw gave her a birthday card because “she just loves Julie and thinks she’s such a good person”, Julie and I made a couple of trips to the liquor store (where she flirted shamelessly with the employees who both flirted back because Julie just has that way about her), we drank Cosmopolitans and Apple Martinis, and laughed until our sides hurt the next day. Julie and I were long overdue to do something like that and I think she had a really good birthday because of it.
Of course, Howard and I took memaw out to eat several times because she just loves to do that and heck so do we! Living in the bush means with the exception of steak night and lunch at the only cafe, eating out isn’t an option. So of course, we always take advantage of it. I wish I’d gotten to spend more time with my mom but she has a crazy work schedule that has her up very early in the mornings and translates into her having to go to bed very early in the evening.
Howard’s brother drove up from Cary for the weekend to see us and my friends Mandy and Jessica drove down from the mountains to see us too. Along with other friends and Howard’s extended family, including his cousin Jason, they shared in Julie’s birthday as well. Of course that meant that Jason and I came up with a running joke of the night and giggled about it anytime either of us brought it up. It’s something we always do and something we didn’t get to do last year so I’m glad he was there. (HOLLER!)
We also drunk-dialed Dusty because we promised him we would. Of course, that meant that I passed the phone around so he had to talk to all of my friends and Howard’s family. He, no doubt, handled it flawlessly. I’m also now convinced that Dusty and Julie are perfect for each other and must eventually marry. Now the dilemma of closing that 3000 mile gap between the two of them.
Howard and I also made our yearly day trip to Boone and the surrounding areas. We bought Sun-Drop in the glass bottles with the citrus pulp in the bottom, we bought homemade honey butter, sourwood honey, and a few other things indigenous to western North Carolina. We go through there every year to get our “mountain fix”. I love being at high altitudes. You know that saying “Altitude is attitude?” There’s something to that. It just does something to me. It also makes me very homesick.
We ate copious amounts of Livermush, which is also something one can only get in my part of the state. Now let me explain what it is: It’s various pork parts, spiced and cooked, mixed with cornmeal then shaped into a block. You can cut off a slice and eat it as-is, or you can fry it, which is what I prefer. It’s a lot like Scrapple except the flavor of Livermush is a lot richer. Let me also say that I hate Liver but in Livermush you can never taste the liver. It’s mixed with so many spices and cornmeal that if you didn’t know Liver was in it, you’d never be the wiser. When Mama Jean comes for her annual visits to Alaska she always brings us a big block. Oh Lord, just writing about it here makes my mouth water. Seriously. Just ask any of my North Carolina friends who are from my part of the state and chances are they all like it too.
Boy, I got off on a real food tangient there didn’t I? Well, I do have to admit that I will always be a fan of Southern cuisine and it’s one of the biggest things I miss about not living there anymore.
Speaking of food, I’m off to make burritos, but I promise to have another re-cap very soon.
And by “very soon” I mean, don’t get your hopes up, it could be another month.