Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Spending Time with My Sweetie (and our new camera)

A couple of weeks ago, G. and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. Ususally, we both take the week off and go somewhere to be by ourselves and relax. No where fancy most times (ever) but fun.

One year we did Branson up big time and I was amazed at how great a time we had. We fished, we saw cheesy shows, we shopped, we spent two hours and 50 cents at the trout farm and had a blast. To this day, I still regret not getting video of thousands of fingerling trout doing the wave for a few pellets. We are easily amused, however. Can you believe I've lived in St. Louis all my life and had never been?? I know, I know, it's un-American. I've also never been anywhere Disney. That has got to change.

We went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas a few years ago, and it was gorgeous. The whole town is on the National Historic Register and most of the houses (and one McDonalds) have lots of gingerbread detailing and 7 authentic colors of paint. Easily amused, remember?

Last year, we drove to Gatlinburg, TN and stayed in a mountainside cabin with one of the most beautiful views I've ever scene. It's a very touristy town with lots of silly stuff but we loved it.

Please note the lack of our pictures of all the above places. We didn't own a non-disposible camera until this Christmas when a combination of refund checks and my mom helped us by this beauty. It's more camera than I know what to do with, but I can learn, right?

This year, because we have no idea when we are traveling to China, we decided to save our vacation days and just goof off around town. Nine years after we were joined forever as a couple (minds out of the gutter, please), we went to a local tapas resturant and ate ourselves silly and drank way too many mojitos. God, I love a good mojito. I'm pretty sure mojitos are like sex. Even when they are bad, they're still pretty good.

That Friday, we splurged and took the whole day off work to go to the zoo. The St. Louis Zoo, by the way, is totally worth a visit when you're in town. It's one of the last free zoos in the country and it's really well run. Of course, they will nail you for parking, food, etc, but it is possible to go and have a great time for very little money. We love it! We took the new camera and took over 150 shots before its little battery gave out. Note to self, buy a spare. And for folks who don't no diddly about picture taking, I'd say we did all right. What do you think?

On the way home, we stopped and ate dinner at an Indian restaurant that overlooks the airport. Prawns Korma and Vindaloo, Nan stuffed with cherries, pistachios and I don't know what else and a Mango Lassi. Yum! If the camera hadn't already bit the dust, I would have shamelessly taken pictures of the food, too. I was on a roll.

Saturday, we spent the morning at a local famer's market on the south side of the city. It's been there for years and though we rarely go, it's always fun to people watch. It really draws a pretty diverse crowd and the selection of food is amazing. One shop sells nothing but gourmet goodies and spices and we alway load up. Orange Chipoltle Pepper anyone?

Sunday, we took a drive to our favorite herb farm in Augusta. Herbs are the only plants I can keep alive with any consistancy. Benign neglect is my motto (I'll trust the CCAA to ignore that statement). We are now the proud owners of 3 kinds of mint (candy, pineapple, and oh my god chocolate!), basil, oregano, tarragon, lavendar, garlic chives, rosemary, marjoram, lemon balm, lemon verbena and my all-time favorite lemon thyme. Absolutely nothing smells better than lemon thyme. We cook with some of them, but mostly I just like to go out in the evenings and run my hands through them, stirring up the scents. Heaven.

And no trip to Augusta would be complete without a stop at Montelle Winery. Even though we've tasted everything they make more than once before, we did it all again. I cannot say enough about their raspberry port when served with any variety of dark chocolate. You must get some. We took a bottle of peach out onto their terrace and relaxed while taking in the view.

At first, I hated giving up our traditional anniversay vacation, but I've got to say, staying in town and taking in the local sights that we often overlook because we live here, was fabulous. It was great down time with the hubby and probably the last vacation we'll take before becoming parents, which made it that much sweeter.

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