Because today is my birthday. Because my husband bought me faux leather pants. Because I’m still a badass.
Last weekend, I flew to Montreal to attend Osheaga music festival with three of my closest lady friends.
They had convinced me to meet up with them by throwing the word “fun” around a lot. ”It’s going to be so much FUN!” “You’ll never forgive yourself if you miss out on all the FUN we’re going to have.” “Music festivals are so much FUN!” Etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong; I love live music. I just don’t normally enjoy it surrounded my 135,000 other intoxicated and sweaty homo sapiens. Especially, when several thousand of them are under the age of 20.
Side note: Montreal, I love you. I love your unbelievably efficient Metro system. I love your French accents. I love your strong-handed feelings toward jaywalking. And let’s not forget your lovingly crafted nutella crepes. I would visit you again in a heartbeat.
In order to cut down on costs (the tickets to the festival alone cost $242), we stayed at one of McGill University’s dorms that had been converted into a hotel just for the festival. When we got to our rooms, there were free earplugs, cute Osheaga pillowcases, samples of Axe (I played these off as gifts for the Southerner. ”Look, I brought you 20 samples of bodywash and deodorant!”), and 4 Molsons in our fridge every night. The discovery of the Molsons was initially met with a lot of excitement, but by the end of the trip I could not look at one without wanting to gag. More on that later.
We also bought a special 3 day metro pass ($15) and took it to and from the festival each day. The metro is awesome. The amount of people on it going to the festival was not. There was actually a metro stop that dumped you out right at the front gate of the festival, at which point you were stuck for roughly 15 – 30 minutes trying to make your way past security. Stuck amongst 18 year olds that were already so drunk by 1 pm that spittle was running down their cheeks and their friends had to carry them through security. Stuck next to the valley-girl who was “So totally stoked about the music. Oh my god, aren’t you just stoked? Because I am soooo stoked! ” I would have been stoked to punch her in the face, but then I vividly remembered how I acted at that age and just ended up wanting to punch myself in the face instead.
Day 1: We make it past security and immediately find ourselves walking toward the sound of the Capital Cities.
They are wearing white, shiny, vinyl bomber jackets while dancing together! They are dancing and it is good and coordinated. And I am having so much FUN! First band of the festival, and they remained one of my absolute favorite shows over the course of the 3 days. (I bought their album the minute I got back home. When did I stop buying entire albums?) We also saw Phoenix, Ellie Goulding, Alt-J, Ben Howard, Daughter (had never heard of her before and she was amazing), and The Cure. The Cure! Not one band was disappointing. The beer selection, however, was in need of serious improvement. Have you guessed it yet? Molson. And only Molson for as far as the eye could see. One beer at a music festival??? I managed to get over it and make a lifelong dream come true by trying Poutine for the first time:
French fries smothered in gravy and covered with cheese curds? Yes, please. Also, Air France, you are my new best friend for handing out free inflatable ottomans and water bottles. Me and my ass will proudly proclaim the bounties of your goodness across the land of North America. Thank you.
Day 2: This is the point in my post where I wish someone could extract my memory and turn it into a video so I could accurately show you how this day became one of the greatest of my life. How just when I thought it couldn’t get better. It did. How the lead singer of Imagine Dragons had a drum that was bigger than he was. How gracious and amazing the band was. How my friend and I turned to each other in a moment of pure euphoria while dancing and just maniacally and joyously laughed out loud together. They were that good and better.
Before Imagine Dragons, Tegan and Sara played. Prior to hearing them live, I was not that familiar with their music. I am a total fan now with a serious girl-crush on Tegan. They were so good. Every song. That night, I asked my friends if Tegan has a girlfriend and they burst out laughing. I was also slightly infatuated with her ridiculously cute outfit and wavy bangs.
And then Macklemore and Ryan came out. WTF. I’ve liked them ok in the past, but they blew me away. Then they did this:
At minute 5:12 100,000 or so people had one finger raised to the air together and I’m pretty sure there were not very many dry eyes left in the crowd. Normally, I find this kind of display of emotion cheesy and I have a hard time letting myself go in a large group of people. Not the case that evening. The message was important and the song was beautiful. I’d also had about 20 Molsons by that point:
The last act of the night was Beck and he did not disappoint. I got to hear all my old favorites and revisit memories of making out with my pillow when I was 14.
Day 3: Given the fact that the evening of day 2 we left the festival and continued to party in Montreal, rounding out our magical day at a 24 hour taco place that saved all of our lives, we took it easy on day 3. Unfortunately, this meant that we missed seeing Atlas Genuis and Icona Pop. I know many of you don’t care for the “I don’t care song,” but I love it. I especially love driving to it with the stereo blaring and my windows down. I hope I get the chance to see them in concert again. However, we did get to see The Lumineers, Big Boi, New Order and Mumford and Sons. New Order, you may be a little older, but when you played Bizarre Love Triangle I lost it. How many times did my cousin and I sit in my bedroom as teenagers and replay this song and dance? Thousands. When they started playing it, I had mistimed my need to urinate and was stuck in a porta-potty cursing myself for the error in judgment. Damn you, Molsons! I ran like the wind, pushing 18 year-olds out of the way in order to get to my friends. My friends who knew all the lyrics and danced their asses off. My friends who made me laugh so hard this weekend my cheeks hurt for two days when I got back home.
Thanks again, ladies, for forcing me out of my comfort zone and convincing me music festivals are FUN. I will never question you again.
Today is mine and the Southerner’s first wedding anniversary. Yay! The cashier at our local deli/wine shop just perfectly summed up exactly how I feel about this date as he rang up the champagne, condoms, and chocolate I was buying and said, “Looks like a wonderful evening!!!” Yes, indeed.
We spent the first few days of our trip visiting family and friends. On our way out of Florida, we stopped to visit the Southerner’s mom in Destin, where this happened:
Apparently, this little bird mistook my sexy, boat-hair for its nest. It came flying out of nowhere, went straight for my head and would not let go. The Southerner took about 100 photos before he finally agreed to dislodge those tightly latched talons. I’m pretty sure it peed on me beforehand. The Southerner and I both agreed that this was a very good start to our trip.
After Destin, we did the rounds through Mississippi, New Orleans, and Austin where we spent some much-needed quality time with more friends and family. Thank you, friends and family, for letting us stay with you and showing us such a great time!
From Austin, we made our way into New Mexico. Within minutes of crossing the border from Texas into New Mexico, the temperature dropped from 104 degrees to 54 and it started hailing. So, of course, because we’re Southern, we pulled the car over and took a video:
Aside from the whole hail thing, I was completely smitten with New Mexico. The closer you get to Santa Fe, the more spectacular the scenery becomes. Not to mention, all the cool museums to stop at along the way:
I’m slightly ashamed to admit that we didn’t actually go to the UFO museum exhibit, we just went to the gift shop. In our defense, the Southerner needed those sunglasses and we were on a tight schedule. And, no, we didn’t go to Carlsbad Caverns either. Stalagmite, stalactite, once you’ve seen one bat, you’ve seen em’ all, am I right? (Totally kidding). We had more pressing items on our trip agenda, like the amount of food I was preparing to ingest in Santa Fe. The Southerner may be a master road-trip planner, but I am a master food planner and there were about 100 restaurants, on a list I’d started creating months before our trip, that I wanted to eat at in Santa Fe.
And just in case you’re not truly getting it yet. Oh, yes, I am the type of person who takes video of an apple-pie:
Every year around January, the Southerner and I sit down and discuss what we want to do with our lives for the coming year. Things we want to change or goals we want to accomplish. This year, we decided that we wanted to take advantage of the fact that we don’t have kids yet, and start traveling around again. While we’d still like to have a permanent house in St. Pete one day, there’s no reason we can’t spend the next two years or so exploring other places. In other words, our wanderlust crabs still itch and we’re looking for the antidote.
The first place we both knew we wanted to spend a few months living was, of course, Montana. So, the Southerner quit his job in St. Pete and found locum tenens work in Montana for the summer, and I’m going to continue working remotely for a research company. (I just made both of these things sound much easier to accomplish than they actually were in the interest of not boring you guys to death.) The Southerner’s job wasn’t scheduled to start until June 2nd, so we decided to leave our house in St. Pete 13 days early and set off on an epic road-trip that I will not forget for as long as I live.
After much discussion, the Southerner meticulously created and mapped out the following itinerary:
Days 1- 2: Destin, FL visiting the Southerner’s mom and deep-sea fishing.
Day 3: Gulfport, MS visiting the Southerner’s dad and siblings for a family craw-fish boil.
Day 4: New Orleans, LA visiting old friends, tacos at the Rum House, pool at Dos Jefes.
Day 5: Austin, TX visiting old friends and a new baby! Day 6 – 7: Santa Fe, NM exploring the historic district, and eating our faces off.
Day 8: Taos, NM, the Earthship Biotecture, & Joyful Journey hot springs in Moffatt,CO.
Day 9: Lunch in Aspen, stay at the Red Canyon Lodge in Utah.
Day 10: Guided fishing trip on the Green River in Utah.
Days 11 – 12: Jackson Hole, WY. One night by the downtown square & one cabin night.
Day 13: Missoula, MT yay!
As you can tell, the Southerner is a very good planner. Had the planning been left to me we would have ended up sleeping in the car most nights and would probably be in North Dakota by now. Maps, schmaps. I erroneously believed that the GPS on my phone would alert me to where we were at all times, failing to realize that my phone would barely work for most of the trip. Starting in New Mexico, our route was almost entirely off-highway, breathtakingly beautiful, and nowhere in the vicinity of a cell-phone tower. Since the Southerner tends to get upset when I’m looking down at my phone instead of up at the scenery, the lack of cell-phone coverage became an immense source of pleasure and commentary for him.
More to come!
Sometimes, the Southerner brings me home flowers. He also randomly gives me presents, not just because it’s my birthday or a holiday, but because I might be the luckiest wife on earth. Either that or he feels tremendously guilty about something– all the time. I’m pretty sure it’s just because I’m the luckiest wife on earth.
In an effort to think of something that guys like as much as some girls (me) enjoy getting flowers, I texted the Southerner’s brother: “What do guys like to get randomly like girls enjoy randomly getting flowers?– and don’t say blowjobs.” After admitting that he would have in fact said ‘blowjobs’, the Southerner’s brother texted me a list of items that included fancy beer. So, I went out and bought the Southerner a really fancy beer and stuck it in our fridge. Then, around 4:00 that same afternoon, I accidentally drank it. I couldn’t handle the thought of that beer all by itself in our fridge just waiting for me to savor its unflitered, wheaty goodness. Oops.
Some of you feminists out there are probably thinking that the Southerner might like getting flowers too, and why assume that he’d want something so achetypically manly like beer? First, I have it on
pretty good authority that the Southerner does not enjoy receiving flowers because on Valentine’s when the maitre-D came by our table to give me a rose and I asked where the Southerner’s rose was, pointing out the ridiculousness of a holiday intended to celebrate lovers that had somehow been twisted into a celebration of only one faction of that love, and surely the Southerner deserved a rose too since he was in fact the most wonderful partner on the face of the earth??? Well, it turns out the Southerner did not actually want a rose, or a partner willing to enter into such a rousing defense on behalf of men everywhere and their need to receive flowers too. He just wanted a blow-job.
One night during the first year we started dating, the Southerner and I stayed up late watching Buffalo 66. We’ve both seen it several times, and agree that the movie gets funnier and more poignant each time. Our favorite scene is the one where Vincent Gallo and Cristina Ricci get in the photobooth and he tells her to act serious, like they’re married, like they span time together.
It’s become an inside joke: we’re spanning time. We span time together. We’re married and we’re spanning time because we love one another. There’s no one I’d rather span time with. Spanning time together is better than flowers or fancy beer. Although, I still want the flowers, of course, and next time I’ll try to exercise more willpower where the beer is concerned. I promise.
In the past two months, I’ve traveled to Argentina and Key West. Both of these destinations were on a life’s top list I made when I was 12 years-old huddled in my warmest coat trying to make it through just one more Atlanta winter. Yes– Atlanta winter. That’s just how much I hate cold weather of any kind– even the kind where it’s 65 degrees out. That’s cold, people!
Granted, Argentina was a little higher up on the list than Key West. The Southerner and I booked a 10 day trip for January, two days in Buenos Aires and 8 in Patagonia. We planned to shop and see some sights in BA and then spend the rest of the trip at a lodge in Cholila doing, guess what? Fly-fishing! We spent a lot of time haggling about the amount of days allocated to sight-seeing (a.k.a. shopping) and fishing. I thought I would want more time in Buenos Aires. While the Southerner, having previously visited Argentina, tried to convince me that I would like Patagonia better. He was right. The past four years have taught me to love the outdoors, open spaces, and small towns where the people have the right balance of kindness and hesitancy toward strangers.
BA was a hustle-bustle city with spectacular shopping, food, and nightlife. I don’t wish to short-change it all, and we were only there for two days so what do I know about the heart of that city or its people? In Patagonia, on the other hand, I fell in love. This could have something to do with the fact that we were staying at a fancy-pants lodge where they did my laundry everyday and the chef cooked gourmet dinners served with several bottles of Argentinean wine. Actually, our first two days were spent on a camping trip fishing the Chibut River. I was the only woman on a two-day camping trip with about ten men. Let’s just say I drank a lot of wine. A lot. In fact, by the end of our trip all of the fishing guides were referring to me as “Vino Tinto,” affectionately, I hope.
The first night at camp, one of the guides roasted a goat for dinner that he had just killed. A goat that just happened to walk by the wrong campsite.
This sentence may turn some of you off completely, but for me watching that goat cook was like having multiple orgasms during a threesome with Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek. That good. My meal that night ranked in the top three of my life, only slightly diminished by the fact that I was surrounded by a bunch of old men who only wanted to talk about how many fish they caught that day, how many fish they’ve ever caught, all the places they’ve ever caught fish in, and oh, don’t forget, whose fish was biggest. Seriously, why are we still talking about fishing when there’s an entire plate of this goat on the table? How are we able to form sentences with so much goat-meat in our mouths. Why are we doing anything but simultaneously crying and drooling over the mountain of glistening fat before us? Criminal.
For me, the fishing during our trip was very similar to fishing in Montana, except I drank much more wine and our lunches lasted for two glorious, meat and cheese-filled hours.
I’m not sure I would go on an all-men’s fishing trip ever again. I would explain why except, I swore an oath on all that is sacred and manly never to divulge the specifics of fishing trips. Let’s just say parts of it were like being strapped to a chair ala Clockwork Orange and forced to watch episode after episode of Beavis and Butthead in Spanish and English.
That said, I can’t wait to go back to Argentina. The landscape, its people, and their pace of living force you to relax and soak in every minute. Plus, did I mention the cheese and meat???