Rockabilly Road Trip: Helen

Holy Helen! It’s been over a year since we took my British in-laws on a road trip through the south but better late than never to reminisce. I am completely smitten with the town of Helen. It’s got North Georgia’s natural beauty with the mountains and Chattahoochee River; then it’s got the kitsch factor of resembling a Bavarian Alpine town. If you’ve ever wanted to see a main street of Swiss chalets AND college football flags or, say, a Wendy’s with the gabled roof suited for a rustic Mittelgebirge, look no further. Helen’s got it all– even Alpine Mini Golf.

I am 100% serious going to do this with our AC box.

Cheers for 10 Years!

Dean and I celebrated our anniversary this past Friday: we met 10 years ago and got married 5 years after that! All committed relationships take work but I think ours has been a little easier than most. Maybe it’s a testament to how well we complement one another… but I think most of our success comes down to Dean being the chillest dude to ever live. He’s suffered through my worst, brought out my best, and NEVER gets tired of cracking dad jokes. Love you, Mr. Rivers!
10 year anniversary

Life Lately

Life lately, speaking just of my own tiny sphere, has been very full but mostly with good things.
1. I’ve seen a lot of family including my mom who is back from India for a little bit
2. Agent Cooper had a urinary blockage and ended up essentially getting a sex change operation… which after all the vet visits, medicine, change of food and diet came to $4k. Daaaaamn.
3. Directly related: I started a second part-time job at a movie theater kitchen which was humbling at first but now great. My co-workers are so sweet and I really like rolling sushi??
4. I’ve developed puppy fever the way other women develop baby fever.
5. Mom, Dean and I went to my cousin’s wedding in North Carolina. Stopped into Asheville on the way there and back. Smiley face fields and alpaca!
6. We terror-hiked to a magical rainbow waterfall and have kinda been chickens about taking on another “challenging” hike since.
7. Carey and I started co-hosting a podcast about horror movies
8. I chopped off my hair and found a cool hair stylist. (Old photo, pre-cut below)
9. My Flagpole co-workers and I dressed up like Stranger Things characters for a one-night-only band, Stranger Danger. I was the carnivorous flower-faced demogorgon.
10. Erin and I tagged dumb shit by the train tracks
11. Kitten cuddles!
12. I lost at trivia but made a new friend.
13. Me ‘n’ Dean are about to visit Seattle for our friends’ wedding then we’re heading to Buffalo a few days later for a family wedding. Love is in the air, coast to coast.
14. My lady Kriss is getting married NEXT year and I’m a bridesmaid! So psyched.
15. Twin Peaks. OMG, Twin Peaks.
16. I turned 32 on March 20th. My favorite cake is the The Grit’s birthday cake. :)

Not good things but not exactly bad things:
1. My awesome friend had some major health scares recently. He’s in Seattle and it’s one of those things where no matter how much you try to stay in touch, you can never be quite as present and supportive as someone who is actually… present. I got a call from Gavin when things were looking really bad and have gotten somewhat positive updates from him and Kristy ever since. I think my friend is out of the woods… or at least out of the hospital. Can’t wait to see him this summer!
2. My ex-bestie asked to meet up awhile back. I believe he wanted to let me know he was doing much better mentally tho he no longer sees us being friends. I’m not ready to write details here but I’ve reached an ok level of acceptance with this. I had to get out there and rebuild my social life… it was hard but I did it and am doing pretty good too. I miss having him in my life but the most important thing is that he’s not as stressed and depressed… and he knows I’m still here if he does need my support.
3. A few years ago, my amazing former boss died from cancer. I didn’t visit him as much as others and when I finally went to see him, I had to rush out of there and cry because the physical toll his treatments and illness had taken were unbearably sad. I still think of myself as a cry-baby but honestly, the last time I cried about anything in real life was years ago at his memorial. ANYWAY. The past few months, I’ve had a recurring dream where I’m in my boss’s cinema basement watching cool, fucked-up movies, then I’ve woken up with puffy, cried-out eyes. I don’t wanna read too much into that but it’s been weirdly cathartic… just generally. Sometimes you just gotta cry I guess.

Prince Party

Last night, Erin and I went to Kate’s Prince-themed birthday party at Flicker Bar. I honestly can’t think of a better way to celebrate life– your own, Prince’s, or just generally– than dancing with Purple Rain projected on loop and a steady stream of glittery cocktails. This might be the only Prince party in history to serve southern biscuits and mac n cheese. It was perfect. The Kate/Klon crew are new friends who I don’t actually know well but everyone was very kind, fun and funny. Also, Carey came by late to witness my drunken clownishness. Erin hit the dance floor, sober as a priest, and didn’t stop start-to-finish. I danced too but terribly and after four cocktails (plus spilling a drink on my co-worker’s wife…). We stopped by Go Bar on the way home, capping the night off with ODB and a final Prince jam.

Arizona Road Trip Leftovers

Bits and bobs from our trip that didn’t quite “fit” anywhere else. 
Woohoo! It’s officially vacation time and we’re in the air!

Landing for our first desert sunset. In real life, the colors looked neon and electric.

We terror drove through the mountains in the darkneess. It was icy and, at one point, there was a boulder in the road. In the best circumstances, I’m a bad driver so I was driving white-knuckled about 20mph here. We arrived in Flagstaff super late and almost immediately crashed at our AirBnB.

It was a really cool AirBnB though! Decked out in ’60s/’70s decor and surrounded by snowy mountains. Sorry we only got to see it for a few minutes the next morning when we left early.

Loooong day of checking out Bedrock, walking the rim path of the Grand Canyon and swinging through Twin Arrows and Two Guns.

Another desert sunset. I couldn’t get enough!

Our cute AirBnB camper in Phoenix was in the back of an artist collective with studios, shops, a gallery, and a zine distro. Bonus tour guide: Abby the dog!

Nami was sooo delicious. I think this was a sort of vegetarian McGriddle but I really went nuts over their apple fritters. Yummmmm.

The trees in Phoenix bear some interesting fruit.

Met up with Ted and Susan at Ocotillo. I already posted about that but it was wonderful catching up with them. And this restaurant is lovely. The most beautiful salad I’ve ever eaten.

Dean: Another selfie? Me: Yep!

The Phoenix Art Museum has an incredible collection of contemporary art but our favorite, hands down, was Yayoi Kusama’s “You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies.” It was like stepping into a living fairy tale and we went through three times.

An abandoned high school designed to look like our solar system. A fitting sight to drive by before flying home. Arizona’s beautiful landscape– from Flagstaff’s mountains and forests, to the Canyon, to the desert and Phoenix, was very beautiful and alien to us.

Saguaro Wonderland

Right before flying home, Dean ‘n’ I fit in a quick hike through the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy in Scottsdale. It was a quiet, early morning. We saw a couple other people but, mostly, it was just the two of us and the saguaros. My friend, Richelle, shared these fun facts: Saguaros grow about a foot a decade their first 50 years, don’t produce arms until they’re about 100, and reach their full height when they’re around 200 years old. So cool! I have some insane looking notes from stories the mister and I cooked up about these cool, cartoon-y cacti. 

Photo opt with care!

Prickly embrace

Phoenicians and Athenians

Ted and I met as Seattlites working for Fantagraphics; we reunited as a Phoenician and an Athenian. I really miss hanging out with my old co-workers, especially the red house basement crew. Catching up with Ted and meeting Susan was the best! We loved hearing about their life out there. Here’s hoping me ‘n’ Dean can take a longer trip so we can go camping with them in the near-ish future!
Neat Nature facts learned from our Phoenician friends:
1. Scorpions glow under black light.
2. Roadrunners are real and they’re apparently viscious predators. Ted and Susan told us some birds come to his yard for the fruit; some birds come for the smaller birds!
3. Javelina roam the Phoenix area and root through trash like raccoons. You can smell them before seeing them.

When Dean and I first met (almost ten years ago now!), we talked about going to Australia and Japan and all over the globe. We’d still like to see those places but these days, we’re more into visiting friends and family. Our free time is limited and staying in touch feels more important. Luckily, the people we care about live in really cool areas! Visually, the southwest might be my favorite chunk of America. :)

Don Parks’ Yard of Awesome

Me: “Are we lost?”
drives around the corner
Dean: “I thiiiink we’re in the right place.”
This was our first stop in Phoenix and we saw the top of the Muffler Man before we saw his properties. We didn’t get to meet Don Parks but he is my Dream Neighbor. Just from the street, we were delighted by how much was jam-packed into two yards!

Twin Arrows and Two Guns

Two Guns had been “saved” on my Roadside Attractions app for a minute but I was totally sold on checking it out after seeing a post on the Dainty Squid blog. Friends had recommended Seligman and Holbrook too but we just couldn’t fit it all in this trip. Next time, Arizona! Until then, we’re happy to have seen a couple cool Route 66 relics.
Twin Arrows AZ
Twin Arrows AZ
Twin Arrows AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ
Two Guns AZ“Dean” by the pool!

The Grandest Canyon

Me ‘n’ Dean saw the south rim of the Grand Canyon after it’d been hit with a few days of snowfall. Neither of us had seen it before and my heart swelled up when we got to the ledge and looked out. The snow was dusted along the top layer like powdered sugar and the vastness made me feel like I was staring into eternity.grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyon
grand canyonTiny snow couple. <3
grand canyonI don’t know when we’ll make it back but we will. We’d love to hike either down into the canyon or down to Havasupai Falls on a warmer day. :)