Is This Heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

Miracles do happen.

Miracles do happen.

Living in Tennessee, you can’t buy booze or wine anywhere other than a liquor store. I found this out the hard way, searching for a bottle of anything one Sunday afternoon shortly upon my relocation to Nashville (the horror of having to drink water with supper).  You also can’t buy anything other than beer on Sundays after 12pm, which makes one have to pre-plan for any and all Sunday situations (hard for this blonde brain of mine).

If you’re a regular reader, you’re well aware that I’m fond of a cocktail (or five) and often partake in libations with family and friends.

Keeping it classy.

My own version of Kevin Costner keeping his $10 handle of vodka classy with his plastic bag decanter.

One of my favorite pastimes when visiting my home state of Iowa is perusing the most fabulous grocery store of all time, Hy-Vee. With sparkling clean floors, produce that appears to have been grown in the backyard and Chinese food that would put PF Chang’s to shame, there’s not only a helpful smile in every aisle…

My version of grocery store Heaven.

Grocery store heaven.

…THERE’S AN ENTIRE LIQUOR SECTION.

yay

Unofficial spokesperson for the booze section of Hy-Vee. Which is why I’m wearing sunglasses inside like an asshole.

In Iowa (as in many other smart states), you are able to buy liquor, wine and beer any and every day of the week. You can get it at the grocery store, gas stations, Walgreens, Target, Walmart or a liquor store.

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Just a regular Sunday. Milk, bread, vodka and eggs.

I forgot how easy one stop shopping could be as I twirled my way through the rows upon rows of libations, calling my name for their inclusion in my shopping cart. It’s my own personal field of dreams.

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If you build it, I will come.

As if picking a gigantic bottle of wine up with my gluten-free crackers wasn’t enough to send me over the edge of bliss, I can also shop for my all time fave collegiate sports team…the Iowa Hawkeyes, while on my way to the check out.

Hawkeye stuff

Intoxicating spirits and team spirits all in the same place?! Be still my beating heart.

While Tennessee is thisclose to passing a bill that would allow wine to be sold in grocery stores (which would be fabulous, of course), I’m lazy and want it all in one place. Because even if this bill passes, I still have to make an extra stop for my beloved Captain, vodka and moonshine.

However, I will still be tickled pink (what other color could I be, really?) if it turns out Tennesseans are able to buy wine at the grocery in the near future.

It's a double fisting miracle!

Double the pleasure. Double the fun.

Until then, I will be dancing in the heavenly Hy-Vee liquor aisles with reckless abandon.

Until you hear “clean up in rum aisle” over the loud speaker.

CBXB

CBXB!

Snow Day Shenanigans

What a light snowfall looks like above the Mason-Dixon line

I'm a lotta help. But I look cute.

Helping Dad shovel the sidewalk. The broom was a big help.

Growing up in rural Iowa, no one batted an eye when several inches (or feet) of snow, high winds and freezing temperatures were included in the forecast for the next day. No one rushed home early from work clogging up the streets, made a mad dash to the grocery stores buying all of the milk and bread in sight and no one abandoned their vehicles on the side of the road due to the frozen flakes falling from the sky (as people tend to do in my current state of Tennessee).

Anytime winter weather is in the forecast, the South freaks the fuck out.

No shit.

Hurry! Get all of the bread you can get your hands on! One quarter-inch of snow is predicted! Photo from AL.com.

Where I grew up, school was never, ever cancelled the night before predicted winter weather – which often included blizzards, sleet, hail or subzero temperatures and wind chills (in Tennessee, entire counties and districts will call off school if any meteorologist utters the word “snow” during the weather segment).

Getting a snow day in Iowa was about as possible as Martians landing in the community park.

I DON'T WANT SNOWFLAKES IN MY EYES.

I wish I may, I wish I might, please let the snowfall cancel school for my delight.

So it was a rare treat when the phone (that was connected to the kitchen wall – oh the good ‘ol days) would ring in the wee hours of the morning announcing that school was cancelled (mostly because the buses couldn’t make the trip to get kids in the country).  Instead of sleeping one moment more, my sister and I got our asses out of bed like it was Christmas morning, adorned ourselves in all kinds of snow gear and headed out to play in the wonderland of white (usually with our cousins, the Morris boys, who lived right across the street).

It takes this kind of snow to shut down schools in Iowa.

It takes this kind of snow to even think about shutting down schools in the North.

Documented below is one of the funnest snow days in history (well, my history).

First we got to sled in the road, which felt like we were breaking all kind of societal rules.

The dog.

How ’bout my mom’s shit kickers? So warm in subzero temperatures.

Second, my sister and I built snowmen complete with cute, cozy accessories (mine came off of my body).

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snow man...or maybe snow gal with the pink stocking hat.

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snowman, naturally.

Then, the Morris boys thought it would be a good idea to dig through the snow to Timbuktu.  I would rather have made snow angels and bedazzle my handmade snow creatures but of course I agreed to help excavate (as I had a cute shovel I wanted to put to use – and by I, I mean my cousin Derek. My fingernail mantra has always been ‘jewels, not tools’ apparently).

Can we live here?

Can we live here?

I thought it was nothing short of a winter miracle when my dad and Uncle Lewis came out to play with us, constructing a snow fort out of a drift in my backyard, complete with a tunnel – diverting the dig to faraway lands (thank GOD – I was getting tired of being the project manager).

All these years later, I long for a true snow day to build (well, rather sit on my ample derriere and watch my cousins, dad and uncle construct) a fort.

But then again, I live in a state that has snow days with no snow.

Anyone want to road trip it to Iowa?

C’mon!

CBXB

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OH SNAP!

Just as I was grumbling to myself about yet another weekend being full of precipitation here in Nashville, a co-worker came up and said, “did you see what is on our back dock?” Of course I high tailed it to the rear of our building to see a cute little turtle that I immediately wanted to pick up and take back across the street to the river bank.

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My new bestie.

At a glance, I thought this was just any old regular turtle that I frequently stop my car and move from the streets of my neighborhood (did I also mention that I brake for chipmunks, squirrels, birds, fox and any other creature that may be roaming the streets of Nashville?).

But it turns out that this is a snapping turtle (being blonde is hard work!) and it hisses. And bites. And has a neck that will spin around Linda Blair Exorcist style and snap (hence its moniker) your finger (or entire hand) off (this isn’t the first time I’ve misidentified a four legged friend. I once tried to pet a raccoon after seeing it in the garbage can after after an evening with Skinny Pirates. I thought it was a cat…).

Look at the nails just begging for polish!

Look at the nails just begging for polish!

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This turtle is in dire need of a pedi.

Sure that I could be the turtle whisperer, I crept (in my leopard rain boots – probably not the best camo while trying to be incognito) up within two feet of this hard-shelled creature and immediately heard a friendly hiss which stopped me in my tracks (I’d like to keep my ten fingers in tact).

tubby

Hissy pants.

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I really wanted to touch his shell…but remembered all of my kick ass rings I adore wearing.

Instead of rearing its head around when hearing the crunch of soggy grass and sticks, my snapping friend started retreating back into his shell. Which is when I thought it might be a good time to try to move him.

Hide'n'seek

Hide’n’seek

Before I started the turtle’s escape plan, I asked Human Resources if I could get Worker’s Comp if I lost a finger in the process. The response was “No, but we’ll call you Stumpy from now on.”

The turtle remains on our back dock (out of harm’s way for all of you curious creature lovers).

Oh snap.

CBXB

CBXB!

Tennessee Truck Trash

The state of Tennessee (along with Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi) is often referred to as “The Armpit of America,” and when I first relocated to the greenest state in the land of the free it took all of three seconds to understand the moniker.

It seems that white trash folks live above the Mason-Dixon Line, where as red necks (who are really proud to boast about being one) generally reside in the South. And to be a proper red neck, you need a truck because they come in handy for attaching larger than life tires, they are used for muddin’ (yes it’s a sport down here) and with a truck, you don’t care if your window falls out or if you need a ladder to climb into the cab.

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My buddy Chris (complete in camo) caught in mud after a day of turkey hunting. Looks devastated (more like delighted), huh?

This proud truck owner apparently needs a ladder to climb up to the driver’s seat with the oversized tires in which he opted to attach to his ride. It makes so much sense for driving around Nashville, right?

Up the ladder to the truck, where you can see heaven much better!

Up the ladder to the truck, where you can see heaven much better!

Due to the photo quality you can’t quite see the beauty in this truck’s license plate….

Sound it out...

PRKRIND. Sound it out…

On the same Nashville interstate, I found this clever driver who decided glass was too fancy for his rear window.  He opted for plastic and duct tape (my favorite), which really classes the vehicle up – don’t you agree?

Duct tape to the rescue!

Duct tape to the rescue!

This lovely SUV owner obviously takes Tennessee trash quite literally.

Taking pride in their SUV

Taking pride in garbage.

Trashed dash

Trashed dash.

Of course after seeing my fellow statesmen class up our city, I had to get in on the trashy Tennessee shenanigans.  Since my dream car is a Range Rover, I thought I’d just go ahead and own one – all it took was  a marker, packing tape and cardboard. A true dream come true – for free!

Dream come true...

Think my new vehicle can handle the car wash?

Just keepin’ it ultra classy with my fellow Tennesseeans (does this mean I’m now a red neck?!)…

CBXB

CBXB!

Snow Day!

Growing up in rural Iowa, no one batted an eye when inches (or feet) of snow were included in the forecast for the next day. No one rushed home early from work clogging up the streets, made a mad dash to the grocery stores buying all of the milk and bread in sight and no one abandoned their cars on the side of the road due to the frozen flakes falling from the sky (as people tend to do in Tennessee).

Snow days, the early years…

I'm a lotta help. But I look cute.

Helping Dad shovel the sidewalk. The broom was a big help.

I DON'T WANT SNOWFLAKES IN MY EYES.

I DON’T WANT SNOWFLAKES IN MY EYES.

School was never cancelled the night before an Iowa snowfall (in Tennessee, entire counties and districts will call off school if any meteorologist utters the word “snow” during the weather segment). Getting a snow day was about as possible as Martians landing in the community park.

So it was a rare treat when the phone (that was connected to the kitchen wall – oh the good ‘ol days) would ring in the wee hours of the morning announcing that school was cancelled (mostly because the buses couldn’t make the trip to get kids in the country).  Instead of sleeping in (like the lazy older kids – boring!), my sister and I would hurriedly jump up, put our snow gear on and head out to play in the wonderland of white (usually with our cousins, the Morris boys, who lived right across the street).

Documented below is one of the funnest snow days in history (well, my history).

First we got to sled in the road, which felt like we were breaking all kind of societal rules.

The dog.

My beloved dog Rocky – who always played side-by-side with us. And what about my mom’s kick ass cowboy boots for winter attire? So warm.

Second, my sister and I built snowmen, complete with cute accessories (mine came off of my body).

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snow man...or maybe snow gal with the pink stocking hat.

Sacrificing my warmth for a fashionable snow man…or maybe snow gal with the pink stocking hat.  And Rocky, blending into the snow.

Then, the Morris boys thought it would be a good idea to dig a fort (such a dude suggestion) to Timbuktu.  I would rather have made snow angels and bedazzle snowmen but of course I agreed to help dig (as I had a cute shovel I wanted to use – and by I, I meant my cousin Derek. My nails have always been ‘jewels, not tools’ apparently).

Can we live here?

Can we live here?

I thought it was a miracle when my dad and Uncle Lewis came out to play with us, constructing a snow fort complete with a tunnel – diverting the dig to faraway lands (thank GOD).

All these years later, I want a snow day to build a fort with my cousins.  But then again, I live in a state that has snow days with no snow.

C’mon!

CBXB

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White Trash Winery

How do you roll at Nashville winery Arrington Vineyards, owned by Kix Brooks – half of the Brooks and Dunn country duo?

Do as the Tennesseans do!

Take pictures upon your arrival to the vineyard, so you have proof you were there.

We're heeeeere!

We’re heeeeere!

Stalk the country music artist owner to get your picture taken and then don’t smile because you want to act like it’s no big deal.

My Dad and Kix Brooks. New BFFs (only he Kis doesn't know it).

New BFFs (only Kix doesn’t know it yet).

Bring your own food into the winery to enjoy while sipping (well, you’re supposed to sip but I like to guzzle) wine.  Being that we are transplants from Iowa, we’re Midwesterners and (otherwise referred to as Yankees in the South – because people here tend to forget the Civil War ended 140+ years ago) we are very no nonsense about our table and how we arrange our snacks.

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Nothing fancy for us.

It seems Southerners on the other hand are a tad more uppity with their dining decor. Our table neighbors had a pressed table cloth to feature the same store bought food.

Classing it up with a table cloth

Why go to all of the trouble? The chips taste the same with or without the table cloth.

Paper napkins are a must at a winery! If you have one too many people show up, you can always add additional napkins quickly by ripping in half.

Half Nap

Not enough napkins? No worries!

Paper napkins also double as photo shields when you’re trying to hide from your camera happy daughter.

Photo Shield

Too fancy for photos.

Don’t bother bringing plates for your snacks, either.

No Plates

No plates? No problem! Just use the dip lid for crackers.

Plus, with low maintenance food, cleaning up is a snap.

Trash Compactor

Stack and throw!

In case you didn’t have time to give yourself a proper manicure, don’t worry. Just whip your scissors out at a table and proceed like you’re in the comforts of your own home. It’s not trashy at all.

Mani Time!

Do as the Tennesseans do. Clip your nails at the table.

As for Southern winery attire, you can go one of two ways.

Shiny sequins are more than appropriate, of course.

Or you can choose the more comfortable route…

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And wear your finest sweatshirt.

A heavy handed pour helps empty Arrington wine bottles with swift ease.

Full Pour, Please

I’ll take the last drop, thanks.

But if you’re really worried about getting all of the wine (like me), just drink from the bottle. Totally acceptable.

NO WASTING!

Wine. A terrible thing to waste.

What winery visit would be complete without a photo bomb?

Facebook Profile

Dad wanted an updated photo for his Facebook profile…too bad!

After all of the chugging and glugging, you’ll find it hard to leave. I got rather attached to a big, shiny tree on my way out.

Tree Hugger

I only hug trees when I wine.

I don’t know how they do it in Napa wineries but South of the Mason Dixon Line, we’re nothing but trashy class, Baby.

And proud of it.

CBXB