Meeting other people and dogs at the dog park has been fun. It’s laughable to get to know everyone by their dog’s name and not their own. I know Tasha’s owner, Pancake’s owner, and Hobbes’s owner. I like having a pod of people who I can become friends with by talking to them about the habits of our dogs, even if the majority of people in this pod are 65-year-old grandpas and single women in the airforce.
I made banana and/or blueberry pancakes every other morning this week. It’s a lovely way to get to start the day. Getting to wake up with Ethan and have time to eat breakfast together has been a rarity the past few years. It’s calming; time felt soft with so little on our plates this week.
The stimulating newness of Shreveport was already wearing off. After ten days of exploration, I was ready to settle into at least somewhat of a routine. Some predictability is acceptable. So much of our time this week was spent walking, talking, and just being together during the days, which was wonderful, but I’d hate for the novelty of those activities to disappear.
A lot of our talks turned into discussions about where we plan on traveling next. I know, from past experiences, that it can become unhealthy to spend too much time in the present focusing on the future. I think now, though, it gets to be different because we have to plan what comes next in order to make this whole objective successful. This is our lifestyle. We aren’t discussing what comes next to escape what’s happening now; we’re enjoying our present surroundings while naturally anticipating the continuation of our adventure.
While driving around mostly aimlessly on an outing this week, we found the RW Norton Art Gallery and Azalea Gardens. I feel simple for appreciating the existence of an art museum in our town, but it’s just not something I’m used to. The dog happened to be with us during this discovery, so we didn’t go inside the building. But the grounds were lovely enough in the botanical gardens to give us the illusion of an art installment. Photographs weren’t permitted on the property, so you’ll just have to take my word for it about the beauty.
I was set on having a live Christmas tree this year. Ethan and I had never had a live tree together. We’d never even had a full size Christmas tree of any sort, due to lack of appropriate space in the past. We found the perfect tree in a local city lot. It wasn’t the total good ol’ fashion experience of cutting one down ourselves, but I thought it was amusing, still, just to pick one out.
It felt good to make the apartment even more our own. Our ornaments are like little pieces of home and family to us. My favorite Christmas tradition, and perhaps the only one I’ve continued from childhood, is going through each and every ornament I have nostalgically and reminding myself of how and when I got it.
Ethan and I get an ornament to share each winter to signify every year of our marriage. We found the perfect one for 2018.
While buying Christmas lights at Target, we came across an irresistible festive outfit for poor, poor little Ralphie.
Our apartment came furnished with an impressive 50 inch television, but we did not arrive with a Blu-ray player or other means of watching anything on it. We did travel with my laptop, though, so we’re able to watch Netflix, Hulu, and movies that we own. On the evening after we put up our tree, we were craving to watch a Christmas movie. I had the idea to look up a used media store. I ended up finding this really neat pre-owned book and video warehouse called The Thrifty Peanut. We purchased A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation, which we really should have already invested in, anyways. I’ll definitely be back to The Thrifty Peanut to do some investigating of their book inventory.
One random goal Ethan and I set for ourselves to accomplish in our travels is to get into the local sports craze of each place we pass through. Whether it’s a high school team, a college team, or a major league team, of any given sport of any given season, we want to become temporary, die-hard fans. We figure this is a way to help further ourselves into the community and culture of wherever we are at the time. With that being said, Shreveport has a well-loved tier II junior hockey league team: The Mudbugs. That’s right; we are now Mudbugs fans.
Actually, we felt a little out of our element at the hockey game. Hockey fans are hardcore. And loud. And mostly intoxicated. It was definitely still fun to sit in a cold ice rink and watch grown men attack each other, no doubt. We left about two hours into the game, when we’d had our fill. We then went to the Red River District downtown to check a place off of our Date Night ideas list.
We got drinks at Fully Stacked. We sat at the bar and drank Long Islands until everything became funny. We listened to the grill chef argue with the bartender about chicken tenders and laughed harder than necessary. After our drinks were gone, Ethan pulled up a map on his phone and I pulled up a notes page on mine, and we made a list of all the placed we wanted to visit in the next couple of years.
It was a successful date night, if you ask me.
Liv – Authentically