Friday, June 12, 2009

Coconut Induced Island Escape

I have something of a coconut obsession. I love the smell of tropical suntan lotion, moisturizer, Bath and Body Works Coconut Lime body spray, Yankee Candle Co.'s Coconut Bay Car Jar and pretty much anything else with coconut. There can be a gray chill in the air, but as soon as I enhale a whiff of the tropical fragrance my shoulders relax, my body releases all its tension and my mind goes back to memories of summer days at the beach, Paul and my honeymoon in the Bahamas, going out for drinks with the girls (how long has it been since that last happened...) or even just the warm blue sky.

I love cooking with coconut. After weeks on the road, the days we spend at our house are better than any exotic vacation. But I do enjoy making those days a little more special by creating meals that "take us away". Since we have so little time at home, I also tend to be a little lazy about cooking, so I cheat by buying several ready-to-cook items and adding a few things from scratch. Paul strings lights in our front yard and puts the breakfast table under them so we can eat and watch the sunset. Cheap, easy, Perfect!

I love the grilled tilapia with chipolte and lime that is sold at WalMart Super Centers. I don't like fish normally, but this is fabulous! The chipolte and lime flavors just burst on your tongue. I serve it with chilled pineapple chunks, a salad of spinich, strawberries and almonds, and my favorite homemade coconut rice. White wine, sangria, or margaritas make the meal extra special.

After dinner, if my hubby isn't too tired, I pull out coconut lotion and he gives me a foot massage that leaves me floating on Cloud 9. It is the little extra thing that make the ordinary so extraordinary.

So, for those who wonder what I do all day while riding in the truck, now you know that at least some of my time is spent day dreaming of being home, cooking special meals for my husband and stopping to "smell the coconuts". Find something that helps you relax and escape, even if its only for a few minutes today. Pick wild flowers for your table, spritz on some perfume "just because",
light a candle where you are working...just enjoy something lovely!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dedicated to Road Runner, Boy Wonder and Norm

Last weekend we spent a fabulous 15 hours in the sandy duned village of Avon, NC with several members of our "Eternal Song" family. My husband, Paul, or as he is know in some circles, "Gecko", and I live the somewhat bizarre and always interesting life of truckers. Long weeks driving over the road make our time with friends and family a special blessing. This visit was nothing short of a miracle!

We were supposed to have traveled from Indiana to North Carolina on Tuesday of that week. Instead, the trucking company sent us from Indiana to Illinios to Ohio to four different locations in Tennessee. From Tennessee we were sent to deliver a load in Virginia. And finally, on FRIDAY morning we left Virginia and began the three hundred mile trek to Avon. We were so anxious to be with the rest of my husband's brothers and their families at the beautiful beach house in Avon that we could hardly sit still!

The drive to the Outer Banks of North Carolina was a welcome sight for eyes that hadn't seen sandy coastal beaches in far too long. Over the dunes we would catch peeks of kite boarders gliding over the waves. Sand blew across the road in serpentine movements and large beaked pelicans flew by with their smaller sea gull cousins close at hand. It was heavenly!

We made a quick stop in Rodanthe for caffeine. The bottle of homemade rootbeer that Paul bought me was so good! I would love to try making and bottling my on soda someday.
After having seen the movie based of Nicholas Sparks book Nights in Rodanthe, I did hope to see the house from the movie. With little time and so many tall sea side mansions, I couldn't pick out the house, but I did fall in love with almost every house I spotted! Paul has always wanted to live in a tree house and he agreed that the tall porch bedecked houses were the next best thing.

It was nearly 5pm when we pulled up to "Island Time" and backed the cab of our truck into the drive. We made our way up the stairs to the first deck and found Paul's brothers in the hot tub. At last, the brothers were reunited and we all were free to relax! While the boys did the "manly bonding" we women enjoyed catching up and cuddling the babies.

We hadn't all been together since Road Runner's wedding in the fall of 2007. Now he and his wife have the sweetest little boy. Boy Wonder and his wife were there as well with their handsome little leprechaun and a new little bun in the oven. Norm had brought a friend whom I discovered was another kindred spirit. Gecko and I were so happy to be surrounded by dear family and friends and immediately jumped in to catching up on all we'd missed out on.

Earlier in the day, the residents of "Island Time" had tried their hand at crabbing. The result of which was a feast of four dozen fresh crabs. How many had been caught and how many were purchased from "Red Lion" (or was it Risky Business)? I'll never tell. What I will say is that the Crabber of the Day Award went to Boy Wonder. His crabs were by far the best. Yes, the sunburn was well worth it.

Not only does Boy Wonder have a knack for catching the tasty little monsters, but he is also an excellent teacher on how to eat them. He gave use all instruction on Crab Eating 101. Mrs. Road Runner was less than impressed by the amount of food and the "mustard" that it came with. Norm's friend was also on less than good terms with the crustaceans. This was lucky for the rest of us since we were still able to down 46 crabs without much help from the two of them. Only two crabs were left after the several hour feast.

We played a rousing game of a dominoes called PDA (whose turn is it?) while swapping stories of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Gecko and I shared stories of life on the road that amused everyone so much that they encouraged me to start a blog. It is to them and their wonderful families that I dedicate this entry to.

The evening flew by far too quickly. And morning came even more quickly. Before we knew it everyone had left for the airport and Paul (seperated from his brothers, Gecko had once again returned to being Paul) and I were left to wander the beach on our own. Road Runner's son had left us a special gift in our truck to remember our time together. Many, MANY thanks!

In a novel-like euphoria, Paul and I wandered the beach hand-in-hand searching for shells and tiny sand crabs. We soaked the bottom of our jeans as we chased waves in and out and snapped pictures. Here was yet another chance to discover the awesomeness of God's creation while appreciating the joy of spending your life dedicated to one wonderful person.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around. Paul was as happy as a boy in a toy store (ha!ha!) when we went to Kitty Hawk Kites. He had the look in his eye of a child on Christmas morning! It was one of the most fun stores I've been in in years. I've never seen so many different kite designs. I personally added the Wright Bros. Plane kite to my own Christmas wish list.

There is a winding staircase on the outside of the building that leads up to an observation deck where you can watch people learning to hang glide and kite surf across the street on the dunes of Jockey Ridge park. From the observation deck there was an enormous goofy nylon cow flapping in the wind. The cow was interesting. The view was great.

After wandering around Jockey Ridge's dunes and taking picture by what remains of a mini-golf castle that was taken over by the dunes, we drove to the Wright Brothers National Monument. Paul is not the type of person whose attention can be held by museums exhibits, but he was captivated. Compared to most museums, the Wright Brothers little museum is rather small, but for an airplane enthusiast, it is quite interesting. I would especially recommend the 30 minute video they show about the development of the Wright Brothers original planes. There was also a fun collection of metal figures on the back side of the monument. This was a perfect photo spot. Kids had climbed all over the metal version of the Wright Bros. plane and parents were snapping pictures. Paul and I posed for a few of our own fun pictures.

After only 24 hours on the Outer Banks we were worn out and decided to call it an early night. We picked up pizza and a movie and settled in for some R&R. The perfect way to end a perfect weekend!

God bless the Brothers of the Eternal Song!
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